The Jose Dariel Abreu sweepstakes is officially over.
The slugging Cuban first basemen has found a home with the Chicago White Sox to the tune of $68 Million over a 6 year deal. This is the largest contract signed by any international free agent in Major League Baseball history. Trumping the likes of Yu Darvish, Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes and Aroldis Chapman.
Abreu will turn 27 in January and he has the makings to become an all star caliber first basemen. Some scouts have shown concern with his bat speed transitioning to MLB pitching and ability to play the position at a premium but his ceiling possibly being worth the cost and some. But a guy who is basically averaging a batting average of .400 and from the ’09-’10 season to ’11-’12 season has belted 98 home runs, the White Sox feel that the reward may be worth the risk. I completely agree.
Surprised by the Chicago White Sox decision to ink the slugger? Not at all. With Paul Konerko a free agent and coming off his worst season they have a need at the position. The White Sox have a lack luster farm system and have the desire to turn things around quickly this upcoming season, it comes as no surprise that they were after Abreu.
It has been reported that the Astros, Red Sox, Rangers, Giants and Marlins were all teams in the mix for the Cuban free agent right before he landed with the White Sox. Time will tell what the outcome will be for Jose Dariel Abreu but spring training is already looking quite exciting.
Opening day has arrived! Today is the first full scheduled Major League games, as yesterday the Houston Astros defeat the Texas Rangers 8-2 in their American League Debut at home. I couldn’t be anymore happier for Bo Porter, Jeff Luhnow and the Houston Astros. It was Bo’s first win as a manager and the 4,000th win for the franchise.
Here is a quick list of Opening Day standouts as there are many games still underway.
Justin Maxwell, HOU CF – Justin went 2 for 3 with one walk, 2 triples, 2 RBI’s and 2 runs scored for the mighty Astros.
Colin Cowgill, NYM CF/LF – Duuuude, the fan favorite “Reverse Cowgill” fantasy team name does more than humor the fantasy crowd. Colin smacked a grand salami going 2 for 5 with 2 runs scored en route to a Mets win over the Padres.
Bryce Harper, WSH LF – I cant wait to watch Harper highlights this year, I mean seriously though. Right off the bat (pun!), he hits 2 homeruns in his first 2 at bats? He becomes the youngest player in MLB history to do such a feat.
Stephen Strasburg, WSH SP – Doesn’t even give the Marlins a chance going 7 strong innings, giving up 3 hits, 0 walks and 3 K’s. MONEY.
Jackie Bradley JR, BOS LF – I love this kid. Totally bats his way into the starting lineup for the Sox. He may not of got a hit in his debut, but he did walk 3 times. The same amount of times Carl Crawford walked last year for the Red Sox.
Jeff Samardzija, ChC SP – Many predicted big things from the ex wide receiver this year for the Cubbies and he is currently tied for first in all the Majors in wins. He pitched a gem, tossing 8 innings with 1 BB, 2 hits and 9 K’s over the Pirates.
Milwaukee Brewers – The Brew crew topped the Rockies in the first extra inning game this season off a Jonathan Lucroy SAC fly.
There’s a ton more baseball to watch, including the first inter-league matchup ever between the Reds and Angels. Later!
Fresh off a thrilling 2012 season, we are about a few weeks into spring training. Perhaps no ballplayer is as thrilled to be in Arizona or Florida than a young kid looking to better their career and showcase their talents. I love seeing the raw talent that these guys have and to watch them grow and learn right in front of your eyes. Some go on to the bigs and do great things, while some completely fizzle out. That’s what the minors are there for, right? Aside from the few top standouts like Jurickson Profar, Dylan Bundy, Gerrit Cole or Oscar Taveras, here’s some prospects I’m looking forward to see in 2013 leaving me Fully Torqued.
Jackie Bradley, CF – Boston Red Sox picked Bradley in the 1st round 40th pick in the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft out of the University of South Carolina. In his first full season, Jackie topped out at AA Portland. Between high-A and AA, Bradley hit .315/.430/.482 with 42 doubles, 9 HR, 63 RBI’s, 24 steals in 124 games. Importantly is that he can take a walk, 87 last year. He’s not overly powerful but some of those doubles could turn into HR’s. It appears he doesn’t need much more time in the minors and will be with the Red Sox perhaps by the years end. It’s been said that he will be the guy to replace Jacoby Ellsbury after the season.
Archie Bradley, SP – I love this kid. The Arizona Diamondbacks selected Bradley with the 7th overall pick in the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft right out of high school. Big frame on this kid (6’4″/225lbs). He was a quarterback in high school and some say that he probably has the highest ceiling in the Diamondbacks organization. I believe it. He’s a work in progress as he has to adjust to the game a bit more. In 27 starts at single-A last season, Archie went 12-6 and owned a 3.84 ERA with 152 K’s in 136 innings. He needs to work a bit on his control, walking an alarming 84 batters. He keeps the ball in the park though and will likely start at high A ball this season.
Jonathan Singleton, 1B – The Houston Astros nailed in on the head nabbing Singleton from the Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade. In a full year (131 games) at AA Corpus Christi, Jonathan hit .284/.396/.497 with 21 HR’s and 79 RBI’s. He struck out an average of once per game but still walked 88 times. He is no doubt the franchise piece for the Astros for years to come at first base. If he hadn’t been caught with pot and being suspended 50 games, he might of seen the majors sooner. There is no need to rush him and I could see him winning the starting gig as soon as opening day 2014.
Jedd Gyorko, 2B – Perhaps the most underrated prospect on this small list. He owns a career .319/.385/.529 line in the minors and after crushing the ball in AAA last season, he doesn’t really have much left to prove. I’m hoping Jedd wins the second base job in San Diego and he sure deserves it. His defense is improving, as he was a third baseman by trade. But we know for now that Chase Headley isn’t going anywhere. Don’t expect him to hit that career minor league slash line he owns, but I can see him flirting around .280 in the majors. He doesn’t walk as much as I’d like but he’s still a fun player to watch.
There’s plenty of great young talent in baseball and this is only 4 of them. Check out MLB.com’s top 100 prospect list for 2013. It’s quite beautiful. Thanks for reading Fully Torqued.