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Fantasy Baseball: Jose Abreu ranked No. 2 1B by Baseball America

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Jul 31, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) at bat against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In what is described as “The 2015 Preview For The Serious Fan,” Baseball America has Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu as the second-rated first baseman in fantasy baseball.

Sep 20, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) smiles in the dugout before the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In their 2015 annual fantasy baseball preview magazine, Baseball America only has Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks ranked ahead of Abreu, who was the AL Rookie of the Year in ’14.

Here are the projected stats Baseball America has for Abreu in ’15:

For those playing fantasy baseball this upcoming season, how can anyone fathom Abreu’s home run numbers going from 36 to 17 this season? His average being under .300, that’s a possibility because he is a power hitter, but if Abreu were to have under 20 home runs, that would be shocking.

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Overall in the Baseball America Fantasy 100, Abreu is the fourth-ranked player.

Even more shocking would be if Abreu were to finish with just over 50 RBIs this season. That would mostly mean the White Sox would be having some problems. With all of the added bats in Melky Cabrera and Adam LaRoche, Abreu won’t lose that many RBIs in ’15.

Throughout their preview on first basemen in their annual magazine, Baseball America speaks highly of Abreu, even saying he has the “best power,” but his home run and RBI numbers are so low. Baseball America knows more than most about the sport, so it is tough to criticize the projections, but it is easy to disagree with them.

This is a direct quote from the magazine, which is on newsstands until March 13, 2015:

"“He (Abreu) could be the second coming of Frank Thomas in the Windy City.”"

Any way we look at Abreu, using the projections or not, he is most certainly a first-round choice in fantasy drafts this spring or a very early second-round pick at the latest. There is no way Abreu isn’t drafted before the fifth choice of any second round in a fantasy draft. (If he is still on the board after that selection, I want to be in that league).

As all of us begin our studies for fantasy baseball drafts, let’s remember what Abreu did last season for the White Sox during his rookie season:

Compared to other AL Central first basemen on the list, Abreu is the highest-rated 1B from the division. Next is Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer ranked 15th and Cleveland’s Brandon Moss at No. 19.

Even with it being just his second season in the majors, Abreu was a rookie in name only in ’14. Though teams won’t be caught off-guard this season, if he plays an entire year injury-free, Abreu is a very safe pick for your fantasy baseball team in ’15 and will out-play his projections.

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