Jose Abreu didn’t make his major league debut with the Chicago White Sox until he was already 27 years old, but in the seven years since he’s done nothing but make up for lost time.
Abreu defected from the Cuban National Team to Haiti in August 2013, per Dionisio Soldevila of ESPN Deportes and signed with the White Sox a little more than two months later.
He made an immediate splash, earning an All-Star Game selection as a rookie in 2014. When the season was in the books, Abreu was named American League Rookie of the Year and finished fourth in the MVP voting after slashing .317/.383/.581 in 145 games, clubbing 36 homers with 107 RBI in 622 plate appearances.
The power production wasn’t a surprise based on what he had done in Cuba, where he hit 178 home runs in 640 games over 10 seasons with Cienfuegos in the Cuban National Series, including three straight seasons of 30 or more long bombs from 2009-10 through 2011-12. In 2010-11, Abreu hit an other-worldly 33 homers in just 66 games.
As a rookie, Abreu led the AL in slugging and OPS+ (173) and hasn’t stopped. Last season, Abreu became the first White Sox player to be named AL MVP since Frank Thomas in 1994 and became the first player in franchise history to win both the Rookie of the Year and MVP award with the team.
During the COVID-19 shortened campaign, Abreu played in all 60 games and slashed .317/.370/.617 with 19 homers and a league-high 60 RBI in 262 plate appearances. He also led the league with 76 hits, a .617 slugging percentage and 148 total bases. It was his second straight RBI crown after knocking home 123 runs in 2019.
Abreu will be 34 years old later this month and is entering the second year of a three-year contract he signed as a free agent after the 2019 season. He is scheduled to earn nearly $17.7 million this season and almost $19.7 million in 2022.
Abreu is a three-time All-Star and in seven seasons has slashed .294/.350/.520 with 198 home runs and 671 RBI in 961 games. He has 835 strikeouts and 263 walks in 4,168 plate appearances. Abreu also led the AL in total bases in 2017 with 343, a season during which he belted a career-high 43 doubles and six triples.