Jose Dariel Abreu Stats, Video, and Cuban Comps

José-Dariel-Abreu-Nelson-Costa

Previous Cuban defector profiles can be found here.

No point in burying the lede, let’s get right to the statistics.

José Dariel Abreu Stats

Team Age PA AB H 2B 3B HR SB CS R RBI SH SF HBP BB SO
2004 Cfg 17 274 258 70 8 1 5 1 0 27 20 2 5 9 57
2005 Cfg 18 190 167 38 7 2 4 0 0 19 17 2 5 16 50
2006 Cfg 19 359 312 105 20 5 11 2 2 53 64 19 28 61
2007 Cfg 20 325 283 83 11 3 9 0 1 39 42 1 21 20 47
2008 Cfg 21 280 239 76 22 0 13 1 2 48 43 17 24 43
2009 Cfg 22 326 289 100 23 1 19 0 0 60 69 18 19 69
2010 Cfg 23 393 286 114 25 3 30 2 1 82 76 0 3 30 74 49
2010* Cfg 23 20 18 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 6
2011 Cfg 24 293 212 96 14 0 33 2 1 79 93 0 2 21 58 32
2011* Cfg 24 53 40 17 2 0 4 0 0 14 5 0 0 5 8 5
2012 Cfg 25 384 282 111 18 1 35 1 0 71 99 0 5 22 75 40
2012* Cfg 25 21 15 6 0 0 2 0 0 3 4 0 0 1 5 3
2013-1 Cfg 26 185 136 52 9 0 13 1 4 37 36 0 2 10 37 21
2013-2 Cfg 26 152 128 39 6 0 6 1 1 23 24 0 0 7 17 18
2013* Cfg 26 26 21 7 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 4 4
Totals 3281 2686 918 167 16 184 11 13 557 592 394 505
’10-13 23-26 1527 1138 446 76 4 123 7 8 311 337 0 12 99 278 178
Age PA AVG OBP SLG ISO BB% K% dt AVG dt OBP dt SLG
2004 17 274 0.271 0.307 0.368 0.097 3 21 0.237 0.262 0.336
2005 18 190 0.228 0.311 0.365 0.138 8 26 0.198 0.263 0.337
2006 19 359 0.337 0.423 0.538 0.202 8 17 0.288 0.345 0.479
2007 20 325 0.293 0.382 0.449 0.155 6 14 0.264 0.318 0.452
2008 21 280 0.318 0.418 0.573 0.255 9 15 0.271 0.337 0.502
2009 22 326 0.346 0.420 0.630 0.284 6 21 0.288 0.340 0.527
2010 23 393 0.399 0.555 0.822 0.423 18.8 12.5 0.333 0.457 0.673
2010* 23 20 0.222 0.300 0.222 0.000 0.0 30.0
2011 24 293 0.453 0.597 0.986 0.533 19.8 10.9 0.381 0.495 0.809
2011* 24 53 0.425 0.566 0.775 0.350 15.1 9.4
2012 25 384 0.394 0.542 0.837 0.443 19.5 10.4
2012* 25 21 0.400 0.571 0.800 0.400 23.8 14.3
2013-1 26 185 0.382 0.535 0.735 0.353 20.0 11.4
2013-2 26 152 0.305 0.414 0.492 0.188 11.2 11.8
2013* 26 26 0.333 0.462 0.429 0.095 15.4 15.4
Totals 0.342 0.426 0.621 0.280 12 15
’10-13 1527 0.392 0.539 0.790 0.398 18.2 11.7
*Playoffs
Notes: dt-prefixes indicate Clay Davenport’s translations. The 2013 season was split into a first half, in which every team played, and a second in which 8 qualifying teams advanced.

Over the last four years, Abreu has hit nearly .400 in la Serie Nacional with a .400 ISO. There’s really not much else to add to that. His numbers simply dwarf the better players that have defected recently. Here are his age 23-25 regular season stats, compared to three years worth of data for other recent defectors from la Serie Nacional, ages and sample sizes as close as possible.

Yrs Ages PA HR AVG OBP SLG ISO BB% K%
Jose Abreu 2010-12 23-25 1070 98 0.412 0.562 0.872 0.460 19 11
Alexander Guerrero 2010-12 23-25 1033 62 0.316 0.406 0.586 0.270 11 11
Yoenis Cespedes 2009-11 23-25 1184 79 0.334 0.421 0.629 0.295 11 11
Alexei Ramirez 2005-07 23-25 1166 45 0.333 0.419 0.526 0.192 11 8
Dariel Alvarez 2010-12 22-24 1020 39 0.307 0.347 0.488 0.181 6 6
Henry Urrutia 2008-10 21-23 999 29 0.358 0.432 0.537 0.179 10 11
Leonys Martin 2008-10 20-22 1040 25 0.345 0.474 0.517 0.172 17 14
Kendrys Morales 2002-04 19-21 781 32 0.350 0.434 0.576 0.226 11 12
Dayan Viciedo 2006-08 17-19 925 32 0.296 0.389 0.479 0.184 11 13
Yasiel Puig 2009,’11 19,21 639 24 0.316 0.412 0.539 0.223 11 15

Age

The birthdate I have seen for Jose Dariel Abreu is January 29th, 1987. This would mean that he started in la Serie Nacional, whose season typically runs from November through May, when he was sixteen years old. This isn’t too much of a red flag, as Aledmis Diaz appears to have done the same thing. Dayan Viciedo, if his age is to be believed, played most of his first season in the National Series at fifteen! While it’s possible that Abreu is fudging by a year or two, I have yet to hear any rumblings to that effect. Abreu is friends with Orioles outfielder Henry Urrutia, who claims they are the same age. Here’s hoping he’s telling the truth, as I would love to see Abreu on a major league field as soon as possible, and would hate for that to be delayed by an investigation into his age.

Positional Fit

As far as I can tell, Abreu has been strictly a 1B/DH since the 09/10 season, when he played some third base and center field. From what little I have seen of Cuban baseball, corner outfielders there are not exactly stellar defenders, so Abreu not spending any time away from first likely speaks to his ability. He’s 6’3″ tall and 250 pounds at this point, and given what scouts say about his athleticism, I think it’s safe to say that the ship has sailed on him playing elsewhere at this point.

The Case Against Jose Abreu

This is necessarily a difficult case. His numbers are ridiculous, but keep in mind that the Cuban league is very hitter-friendly. Clay’s translations are kind, regardless, but translations even for the minor leagues are a mess. This applies doubly to the vastly different environment in Cuba, where so few players have come over, and exactly zero Americans have made the trip in the other direction. My guess is that if you took the very best hitters in MLB and made them play in Cuba, they would put up very similar numbers to Abreu. That is a different argument from saying that Abreu will put up similar numbers to someone like Miguel Cabrera in the big leagues. Clearly Abreu can hit Cuban pitching as well as anyone, but translating that to the bigs could be a different story. Some scouts are skeptical of the toe-tap in his swing as well as his bat speed. He’s clearly not the on the level of Cespedes or Puig in terms of his overall athleticism. If you want to nitpick the numbers, you could say that in the second half of the 2013, which included only the best 8 teams in la Serie Nacional, his numbers weren’t quite as good as his overall performance (.305/.414/.492). I don’t really buy that argument, however. The Cuban season is short as it is (~95 games), and limiting the sample to half a Cuban season is dwindling the available data to the point of irrelevancy (152 PA’s in this case).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjU78ZxbR1A

Prediction

I mentioned yesterday that I would set the over/under at $90 million as a total value for Jose Dariel Abreu’s contract. That seems to be a bit higher than than some commentators have suggested; This ESPN story mentions $50 million, for example. I have a hard time squaring that with the fact that Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez got nearly $50 million guaranteed, despite most seeing his upside as a mid-rotation starter. When you consider the fact that there just aren’t going to be any elite, young players hitting the market any time soon, as well as the success of Puig, Cespedes, and Chapman, I would be shocked if Abreu doesn’t dwarf MAG’s offer. Abreu is unlikely to be granted free agency until early 2014, as he has to establish residency in another country and receive approval from the treasury department first.

Potential Cubs Fit

As I have said in the past, I don’t see Anthony Rizzo moving to the outfield. The fairly simple reason is that he hasn’t done it, despite  the Padres and Cubs having plenty of reasons to give it a shot. Prospects with Rizzo’s batting potential tend to get chances at other places on the field even just as fliers, yet as far as I can tell, Rizzo has never played a professional game at any other defensive position. If the Cubs do decide that Jose Abreu’s bat is too good to pass up, I would expect Rizzo to be shopped. His contract is reasonable, and could potentially net the Cubs a valuable piece in return, but this would be a significant gamble by the front office. Add in the fact that rich teams like the Rangers and Red Sox clearly have the need, and my guess is that the Cubs are a real longshot.

GW

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