MINNEAPOLIS -- A two-time Most Valuable Player and the only player to complete a Triple Crown in 45 years, Miguel Cabrera is in the midst of one of the greatest runs in baseball history.
But even the Detroit Tigers slugger admits he’s been taken aback by the fantastic start to the career of White Sox slugger Jose Abreu.
Cabrera said Monday he’s more than just a little impressed with the early play of Abreu, who finished second to the Tigers superstar in fan voting at first base for the AL All-Star team. Abreu, who won the American League rookie of the month award in April and June, brings a .292/.342/.630 slash line with 29 home runs and 73 RBIs into his first All-Star Game appearance.
“First time in the big leagues,” Cabrera said. “I don’t care where you played before, for the first time in the big leagues and you’re able to do what he’s doing, that’s amazing.”
Cabrera’s teammate, pitcher Max Scherzer, calls Abreu a game-changer. Though Abreu has only been with the White Sox for several months, Scherzer, who has only allowed one hit to the first-time All-Star in 10 at-bats, said he can see the impact he has on his new team and its very Cabrera-esque.
“He’s a difference-maker,” Scherzer said. “He’s such a quality at-bat. His power is unbelievable. He can take so many different pitches and just take you yard. You obviously respect what he can do. He’s changed the complexion of their lineup and allows some of their other players to do other things as well. When you have a guy like that in your lineup, anchoring it, in a way it’s kind of like what we have in Detroit with Miggy anchoring our lineup. He’s only getting better and unfortunately that’s a detriment to us.”
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Cabrera has seen enough already to know it’s not just about the massive power.
Sure, Abreu is the fastest hitter to 50 extra-base hits in a season (81 games) since Ted Williams did it in 80 games in 1939. But he’s so much more than what many scouts pegged him as, a home-run threat with holes in his swing.
“I heard people talk about ‘He got a lot of power,’ but I think he’s a great hitter,” Cabrera said. “It’s not about a lot of power. He can hit everywhere. To me he’s a good hitter.
I’ve been seen (the power) before when he played with Cuba. I’ve seen him hit home runs. It’s no surprise. What’s surprised me is he’s a smart hitter. He’s got a lot of patience at home plate and that’s great to see.”