The Chicago White Sox made a worthwhile investment that they hoped would make a comfortable transition to the majors this season.
Back in October of 2013, the ChiSox signed Cuban baseball prospect and defect Jose Abreu to a six-year deal worth $68 million, cashing in on a possibly budding superstar. It was a free agent signing that seemed perfect for the Sox, with their current first baseman at the time in Paul Konerko near the end of his time in the big leagues.
Jose Abreu had a sudden and positive impact with baseball in his home country of Cuba and it’s very likely Chicago noticed his talents in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
So would the 27-year old Cuban prospect transfer his talents over to America? In his case: without a doubt.
The first baseman, in his first full season with the White Sox, has not been a disappointment.
As of July 29, Abreu is hitting .294 with 30 home runs and 79 runs batted in. Of his 106 total hits this season, 56 of them are for extra-base hits.
Only one can imagine how much bigger his numbers would be if he didn’t have a stint on the 15-day disabled list in late May/early June but he proved that jumping back from a minor setback is nothing.
His 30 home runs lead the majors, one ahead of Balitmore Orioles designated hitter Nelson Cruz. There’s a good chance the home crown will go down to those two, unless Blue Jays DH Edwin Encarnacion makes a huge jump after coming back from the 15-day disabled list.
Successful first season
Abreu has notched up plenty of accomplishments in his first full season: two-time American League Rookie of the Month (April, June), AL Player of the Month (April, and an AL All-Star nod.
After this season, the White Sox have the luxury of Abreu being around for another five seasons, that’s if the team doesn't decide to trade him somewhere down the road.
And that’s a big IF since Chicago is poised to back into the playoff picture and chase another opportunity for a World Series championship for the first time since 2005.
Abreu will more than likely lead the charge in the batting lineup with a powerful bat and varying batting average that can find it’s way over .300 once in a while.
The White Sox have their top tier hitter in Abreu and ace starting pitcher in Chris Sale, which is two important pieces for any team looking to make a name for themselves in an always competitive American League.
Anything can happen
However, Chicago could make a surprising run down towards the end of the season, considering they have a record of 51-55 but are only 5.5 games out of the second wild card spot. At this point, the second wild card spot is very much wide open.
With the White Sox potentially at full strength and Abreu slamming homers left and right, anything could happen.