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2014 Detroit Gameday HQ

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox First Baseman Seeing the 6-3, 255-pound first baseman in a White Sox uniform hearkens back images of ChiSox Hall-of-Famer Frank Thomas knocking homers out of Comiskey Park II. Whether this 27-year-old import from Cuba is able to bat .300 and draw 100-plus walks annually remains to be seen. But anyone who saw Jose Dariel Abreu’s 475-foot left-center grand slam at the 2013 World Baseball Classic knows he’ll be able to clear U.S. Cellular Field’s 400-foot centerfield fence with no problem. FantasyPros, a leading fantasy baseball site, predicts Abreu will hit 27 homers as a rookie. Not quite as impressive as the 6-5, 240-pound Thomas’ 40 HRs at the same age, but the White Sox organization would be more than pleased with power in that 25-30 range. Simply put, the Sox loves Abreu’s approach to baseball. After all, he is more concerned with having a quality-at-bat every time, rather than focusing on the statistical goals. In that aforementioned World Baseball Classic, Abreu hit .383, with three homers and nine RBI. Shortly thereafter in August 2013, he defected from Cuba. Once in America, Abreu then signed a six-year, $68 million deal with Chicago in October. The White Sox franchise loved his bat, his glove, his attitude and work ethic (he spent the off-season in Miami getting the White Sox program down). Abreu’s best season in the Cuban National Series came in 2010-11, when the right-handed hitter won league MVP honors, hit a Cubanrecord tying 33 home runs and 93 RBI in only 66 games, while batting a league-leading .453, with a .597 on-base percentage and a league-leading .986 slugging percentage. His critics—and there are a few—wonder if he is too patient. Too big. Too raw. His fans say you can flip each individual criticism and turn it into an asset (he draws walks; his frame is now toned up; he has upside). AL CENTRAL DIVISION NOTABLES: Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers 3B; Josmil Pinton, Twins C; Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians 2B/SS; Yordano Ventura, Royals P. AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has done nothing but impress his new team in spring training, with dazzling pitching efforts that assure the New York Yankees that he is worth the seven-year, $155 million deal he signed in January 2014. His penchant for getting swing-and-miss strikes against established stars in his first two preseason outings showed the organization that his movement on the ball has been just as overwhelming for New York as it was with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, where he led them to a Japan Series title, going 24-0 (6-0 postseason) with a league-leading 1.27 ERA. Conservative projections have Tanaka winning 15 games or so with a three-50-something Abreu Tanaka


2014 Detroit Gameday HQ
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