Willie Abreu: Why We’re Excited About this Colorado Draft Pick
The Colorado Rockies will draft many players during the 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Some will become a big part of the Rockies’ future plans while others shuffle along and maybe even never pan out. We’re betting that Willie Abreu will be the former and not the latter.
There’s a big belief that a big part of a baseball player is not only his skills on the field, but also his heart and the way that he plays the game. Look at Nolan Arenado and some of the incredible defensive plays he has made. Look at Trevor Story and how he took the first incredible month of his rookie season in stride. Look at Daniel Descalso, a role player who has come up big time and time again this season.
There’s more to a player than the way he hits or throws. That very well could be what the Rockies saw in the University of Miami’s Willie Abreu before they drafted him in the sixth round with the 170th overall pick.
Abreu has some definite skills and has made a huge impact at “the U.” A junior outfielder, he’s a three-year starting right fielder for the Hurricanes. The left-handed hitter batted .278 (186-for-668) with 30 doubles, four triples and 130 RBI. He was named to the All-ACC Third Team in all three years and was the Miami team captain his sophomore and junior season. The 6-foot-4-inch, 225-pound Hialeah, Fla., native was originally drafted in the 14th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft by the Cincinnati Reds as one of the top high school prospects in South Florida.
Yes, the accolades are there. But there’s also the heart.
He’s earned the nickname of “Walk-off Willie” because of his late-game heroics. You can see some of those and listen to him talk about them in the video below.
That’s all on the field. There’s also the off-the-field part of Abreu who has had to deal with his mother suffering a massive stroke just after Miami returned from last season’s ACC tournament. In this well-written article, you can read about how Abreu balanced baseball and school with caring for his mother. It gives you an insight into Abreu the person, not just the outfielder.
Next: Learn More About the Other Colorado Day 2 Draft Picks
There are a lot of things about Willie Abreu that stand out on the field. However, it’s the things that can’t be measured that make me excited that he’s now a member of the Colorado Rockies organization.