Jose Abreu will be a star

The Cuban slugger is a good bet to lead the league in home runs as a rookie

Updated: February 25, 2014, 9:43 AM ET
By Jared Cross | ESPN Insider

Jose AbreuAP Photo/Paul SancyaOne expert compares Jose Abreu's opposite-field power to Albert Pujols'.
Over the past three seasons in Cuba, Jose Abreu has put up the kind of numbers that would make any hitter not named Barry Bonds or Babe Ruth mighty jealous.

In his final season in Serie Nacional, he hit 35 home runs in what would be a little more than half of a major league season. The year before that he hit .453/.597/.986, a batting line that has absolutely no peer in major league history and one that makes any superlatives you throw its way feel woefully inadequate.

What happens when a batter of "Ruthian" proportions in Cuba faces the best pitching in the world? Based on the numbers, we have reason to believe that Abreu is a good bet to lead the league in home runs, and what we're about to see may just be historic.

Not just about stats

"Baseball Tonight" analyst Eduardo Perez -- who recently served as a coach for the Astros and Marlins -- managed against Abreu, then just 22 years old, in the 2009 World Cup, and he knew right away that he had seen something special. Perez describes Abreu as a "pure hitter who uses the entire field. Throw him something away, and he will go the other way ... with authority" and compares Abreu's opposite field power to that of Albert Pujols'.