Feb 28, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox infielder Jose Abreu poses for a portrait during photo day at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
2015: Jose Abreu (ESPN Projections: .286 Avg./34 HR/100 RBI)
2005: Paul Konerko (2005 Stats: .283 Avg./40 HR/100 RBI)
This is a hard one. The above numbers put Konerko and Abreu in very similar territory.
Feb 22, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko (14) poses for a photo during photo day at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
In ’05 Konerko was 29 years old, while Abreu will be 28 this year. I think 34 home runs is a tad low for Abreu though, as he should be able to pass the 40-home run mark if he stays healthy. The Cuban phenom has a chance to crack .300 again as well, as he hit .350 after the all-star break and will have even more protection behind him in ’15.
Konerko was the centerpiece of the ’05 lineup, and Abreu will be relied on in a similar manner with this year’s club.
The White Sox first baseman in ’05, Konerko was a leader that season, albeit a silent one who led more by example. Abreu hopes he can have a similar clubhouse influence, but his lack of command of the English language stands as his greatest barrier to do so.
Abreu is a bona-fide superstar heading into ’15
Konerko has the defensive edge as well, but you can’t ignore the potential Jose Abreu brings into ’15. He’s becoming a bona fide superstar, and was recently ranked 9th on MLB Network’s Top 100 player rankings. Konerko was a solid player throughout his entire career, and ’05 was one of his best seasons.
However, Konerko never gained quite as much national attention as Abreu is getting and came in sixth in MVP voting in ’05. In contrast, Abreu has a strong chance to build a case for the AL MVP this season and for that he gets the nod at first base.
Edge: Jose Abreu
Next: White Sox: Second Base