2014 AL MVP Jose Abreu

2014 AL MVP Jose Abreu

It’s been 10 years since the Chicago White Sox World Series championship of 2005 and the team has returned to the post season only once since then in 2008. The Sox have sputtered through some false starts and failed finishes during the past five years, getting knocked out of first place in the last week of the 2012 season and hitting rock bottom with 99 losses in 2013.

But the signing of free agent Cuban defector Jose Abreu had an immediate impact breathing new life into the club and last year’s 10-game improvement may well have represented the beginning of a turnaround on Chicago’s south side. Abreu’s rookie season (if you can call it that, the 27-year old slugger was already an established five-year veteran and star in his native country setting the all-time, single-season, home run record in the Cuban big leagues with an astonishing 33 home runs in just 66 games in the 2010-2011 season) was one for the ages, knocking 37 home runs with 107 RBI and a .317 batting average. Abreu led the American League with a .581 slugging percentage, his .964 OPS was second only to Detroit’s Victor Martinez (.974) and he finished fourth in AL MVP voting.

See previews for each AL team in the Cactus League below and the full spring training edition of Key magazine here.

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