Abreu, Alexei make history with Silver Sluggers
Rookie, shortstop first Cuban teammates to win in same season
Before this year, White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez already stood as one of only three Cuban-born players to win a Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award. On Thursday night, Ramirez took home his second and was joined by rookie first baseman Jose Abreu, a countryman and teammate.
When the awards were announced live on MLB Network, Ramirez and Abreu became the first pair of Cuban teammates to win Silver Sluggers in the same season. Jose Canseco (four times) and Rafael Palmeiro (twice) are the only others from Cuba to be honored with the award, which, since 1980, has gone to the best hitters at each position in both leagues, based on votes cast by Major League coaches and managers.
Ramirez, who also won in 2010, joins Abreu as the first White Sox winners since catcher A.J. Pierzynski in '12. They are the club's fourth pair of teammates to take the trophy, and first since third baseman Joe Crede and outfielder Jermaine Dye in '06.
Abreu already is one of three finalists for AL Rookie of the Year honors, along with Yankees reliever Dellin Betances and Angels starter Matt Shoemaker. That award will be announced on Monday.
Abreu, who signed a six-year, $68 million deal a little more than a year ago, overcame a tough field, headlined by two-time defending AL MVP Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers. The 27-year-old played 145 games, batting .317/.383/.581 with 35 doubles, 36 home runs -- a rookie franchise record -- and 107 RBIs.
He led all Major League hitters in slugging percentage and finished second to Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez with a .964 OPS. Among AL first basemen, Abreu topped the list in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS and homers, while finishing a close second to Cabrera in RBIs.
Ramirez, in his seventh season, played 158 games for the fourth consecutive year and made his first All-Star team. He hit .273/.305/.408 with 35 doubles, 15 homers, 74 RBIs and 21 steals in 25 attempts. The 33-year-old led AL shortstops in slugging percentage, homers and RBIs, tied for first in doubles and finished second with a .713 OPS.
Ramirez is now the only White Sox shortstop to win multiple Silver Sluggers and joins Frank Thomas (four), Carlton Fisk (three) and Magglio Ordonez (two) as the only players in club history to win at least twice.