8 New MLB Players Under the Microscope in Spring Training
Hope springs eternal when camps open for Major League Baseball teams in Florida and Arizona, but it’s also high pressure time for prospects and other unproven players joining new teams on the game’s biggest stage. Will accomplished foreign players live up to the hype in the bigs? Can a rookie step into his team’s void to shine in 2014?
Such questions plague numerous figures this spring as Grapefruit League and Cactus League action takes place. MLB general managers know they can’t believe everything they see in February and March — much like they can’t rely on numbers prospects put up in September — but teams believing they have something special should see their elite prospects perform at a high level in spring training. Here are eight new MLB players going under the microscope this spring.
1. Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox
Back in his native country of Cuba, Jose Abreu amassed eye-popping statistics for the better part of a decade, culminating in the 2010 season when he cranked 37 home runs with a .448 batting average in 77 games. The slugging first baseman landed a six-year, $68 million contract with the Chicago White Sox for his Cuban resume.
Though South Siders shouldn’t quite expect the second coming of Babe Ruth, the instant impact of fellow Cubans Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig raises the bar for Abreu. On top of the already high expectations, Abreu is replacing White Sox legend Paul Konerko. All eyes will be on Abreu throughout the spring. The White Sox have answered the proverbial “Who’s on first?” Club officials and fans are already planning for the slugger to put up heavy offense.