Aug 15, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox first basemanJose Abreu
(79) hits an RBI single against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
The biggest Rookie of the Year award in all of baseball now belongs to Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox.
Abreu was voted the American League Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) for his outstanding and record-breaking first season in the majors.
Not only did the White Sox slugger make his case for being the top rookie in the AL (or all of baseball), but his numbers have at least put him in the conversation of the AL MVP award.
Abreu gained all 30 first place votes. Matt Shoemaker (LAA) was second place and Dellin Betances (NYY) was third.
The White Sox first baseman signed with the team November of last season, and he instantly became the top player in the franchise for this past season and in the foreseeable future.
Sep 17, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Dellin Betances (68) on the mound against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. New York Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
For the season, Abreu led the White Sox with a .317 batting average, which included 36 home runs and 35 doubles, accomplishing a feat last obtained by a rookie in 2001 named Albert Pujols.
Abreu also had a OPS+ of 169, leading the majors in that category.
With those numbers at the plate, Abreu was able to knock in 107 RBIs, and he led all of baseball with a .581 slugging percentage.
Abreu ended up being worth every penny the White Sox paid for him when they signed his last offseason.
MLB.com wrote the following on Abreu:
"“Abreu is the first rookie in baseball history to rank among the top five in his league in each Triple Crown category.”"
Abreu previously won the Sporting News AL Rookie of the Year and also earned a Silver Slugger award this offseason.
In an even closer look at the numbers compiled by Abreu, in 145 games, he had 556 at-bats and 622 plate appearances. In that span, he totaled 176 hits and scored 80 runs. He also forced 51 walks and totaled 323 bases.
Abreu was also intentionally walked 15 times.
The right-handed slugger for the “Good Guys” had an impressive 5.5 WAR (wins above replacement) and his WAA (runs better than average) was 3.3.
In the field, he committed just six errors in 1,045 chances (a .994 fielding percentage), and he played 957.1 innings at first base (109 games).
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Like I’ve said many times since the end of the season … the White Sox hit the lottery when their bid was the best to obtain the playing right of Abreu.
He’s the face of the franchise now (along with Chris Sale), and the White Sox will only do as well as he improves his game even more through the next few years.
His progression will be fun and exciting to watch, and it he gets the help in the order he needs (like every power hitter), he’ll become one of the best, if not the best slugger in all of baseball.
That statement might sound biased, but it honestly could happen one day. Until then, this is just the first of many great steps Abreu will most likely take in his MLB career.