While a number of Central American countries have had their marked impact on baseball over the years, it seems defected Cuban players have recently attracted the most attention in the western hemisphere in terms of potential.
There is sometimes a tendency to over-hype international players, especially when the comparison is made based on Cuba’s somewhat spotty statistics, but the scouting is generally solid, and a number of recent signings have worked out for Major League clubs.
This week I’ll write a series on a number of high-profile Cuban players who defected to the MLB.
We’ll start with a recent sensation, White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu.
Abreu is just one of the latest examples of an international star whose potential scored him a large contract with a big-league club. Abreu was signed at $68 million through 2019 in a six-year deal. At 27 years old, this contract will take him right through his prime years.
Anticipated to be a middle-of-the-order first baseman, much was expected offensively in his first year. He hasn’t disappointed, establishing himself as one of the league’s biggest power threats.