White Sox first baseman records 100th RBI in team’s loss to Kansas City, becomes just third player in MLB to have 100 or more RBIs and 25 or more home runs in first four seasons.
When the Chicago White Sox signed then International Free Agent Jose Abreu to a six-year $68 million contract in the 2013 offseason, not many people knew what to expect from the Cuban first baseman. Abreu quickly acclimated himself to MLB and started his journey towards history in his rookie season.
On Saturday, Abreu became just the third player in MLB history to record 25 or more home runs and 100 or more RBIs in his first four seasons. Abreu joins Joe DiMaggio (1936-39) and Albert Pujols (2001-10) as the only players to accomplish this feat. Although Abreu recorded history, the White Sox would be defeated by the Kansas City Royals 8-2.
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Despite the loss, Abreu’s accomplishment is remarkable given he didn’t have any experience playing in the United States before defecting from Cuba in 2013. In 2014, Abreu burst onto the scene and quickly became a fan favorite on the South Side. Abreu finished his rookie season batting .317/.383/.581 with 36 home runs and 107 RBIs. He also appeared in the All-Star Game that season and was named Rookie of the Year.
Abreu would follow up his successful rookie campaign with an impressive sophomore season in 2015. Although the White Sox attempted to contend with new acquisitions, Abreu maintained his consistency at the plate. The White Sox wouldn’t contend in 2015, but Abreu would finish the season hitting .290/.347/.502 with 30 home runs and 101 RBIs.
Last season, the White Sox again attempted to contend but ultimately failed. However, this didn’t stop Abreu from putting up another solid season at the plate. Abreu would finish 2016 batting .293/.353/.468 with 25 home runs and 100 RBIs. His 25 home runs would be his career-low since being with the Sox, but he had a strong finish to his 2016 season.
Abreu has been a model of consistency for the Sox since debuting in 2014. He’s also become a leader in the clubhouse as he’s one of the longest tenured players on the team. With the Sox rebuilding, the need for Abreu’s leadership on and off the field has been very important this season.
Currently, Abreu is hitting .304/.356./.548 with 31 home runs and 100 RBIs. The 30-year-old could finish this season with a batting average over .300 for the second time in his career. He could also win his second Silver Slugger Award at first base. As the Sox continue towards rebuilding, Abreu could play a vital role with the next contending team on the South Side. Abreu has already previously mentioned he would like to stay with the Sox throughout their rebuild. Will Abreu be able to help lead the Sox to the postseason before his contract ends after the 2019 season?