There was no ignoring the numbers Masahiro Tanaka and Jose Abreu put up during their final seasons in Japan and Cuba, respectively. However, there were questions as to how well their games would translate to MLB.
In his final season pitching for the Rakuten Golden Eagles, Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA, and that earned him a seven-year, $155 million deal from the New York Yankees.
The early returns have been better than anyone could have hoped for, as he's not only emerged as the ace of the Yankees staff, but also developed into one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. In 16 starts, he's gone 11-3 with a 2.10 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 127 strikeouts in 115.2 innings.
Meanwhile, Abreu hit .382/.535/.735 with 13 home runs and 36 RBI in 47 games during the 2012-13 Cuban League season. That netted him a six-year, $68 million contract from the Chicago White Sox, who added him as a replacement for Paul Konerko.
Despite a significant bump in the caliber of pitching he's facing, Abreu has not missed a beat at the plate, winning AL Player of the Month in April. He missed some time with a foot injury but currently leads the AL with 25 home runs and a .631 slugging percentage.
There is no reason to think these two supremely talented players won't keep it going, as their hot starts are just the beginning of what should be two terrific careers.
Will Tanaka and Abreu continue to dominate?