Is Jose Abreu the 'Cuban Babe Ruth'?

Is Jose Abreu the 'Cuban Babe Ruth'?
June 17, 2014, 2:15 pm
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Jose Abreu's done plenty to impress teammates, coaches and opponents over his two and a half months as a major leaguer, but White Sox catcher Adrian Nieto may have offered the loftiest compliment for the 27-year-old on Tuesday.

"I call him the Cuban Babe Ruth," Nieto said during a panel discussion on Cubans in baseball at U.S. Cellular Field. "This guy has insane power."

Abreu has blasted 19 home runs in 56 games, the 34th-most home runs of any Cuban-born major leaguer. He still has a ways to go to be the best home run hitter to ever come out of Cuba -- Rafael Palmeiro hit 569 home runs and Jose Canseco hit 462, though Tony Perez's 369 homers are the most of any Cuban native not connected to performance enhancing drugs.

Two of Abreu's teammates are ahead of him on the list -- Alexei Ramirez has 91 career home runs, the 11th-most of any Cuban major leaguer, while Dayan Viciedo's 50 career homers rank him 20th on that list.

[MORE: Once again, Tigers come away impressed by Jose Abreu]

Only nine Cuban natives have hit over 100 home runs in their respective careers: Palmeiro, Canseco, Perez, Tony Oliva (220), Minnie Minoso (186), Jose Cardenal (138), Leo Cardenas (118), Tony Gonzalez (103) and Kendrys Morales (102).

Among active Cuban major leaguers, Abreu's 19 home runs rank ninth, behind Morales, Ramirez, Yunel Escobar (66), Yoenis Cespedes (62), Viciedo, Puig (30), Yonder Alonso (25) and Brayan Pena (21).

Abreu, though, is on pace to break the rookie record for home runs by a Cuban held by Canseco, who hit 33 home runs in 1986. The 21 home runs hit by Ramirez in 2008 rank fourth all time among Cuban natives.