Abreu wins Sporting News' AL Rookie of the Year honors
CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu might be best served to set up a trophy room or at least a trophy shelf at his home in Florida.
On Monday, the 27-year-old slugger picked up Sporting News' 2014 American League Rookie of the Year. He was joined by Mets hurler Jacob deGrom, who got the nod on the National League side.
Abreu finished with 149 votes, easily outdistancing the Angels' Matt Shoemaker (4 votes) and Yankee hurlers Dellin Betances and Masahiro Tanaka (3). Marcus Semien, the White Sox super utility infielder who played in 64 games and had 255 plate appearances, checked in at fifth with one vote.
After batting .317 with 176 hits, 35 doubles, 36 home runs, 107 RBIs, a .581 slugging percentage and a .383 on-base percentage over 145 games during his White Sox debut, Abreu figures to earn the top AL Rookie spot in the Players Choice Awards and in the BBWAA Awards, which will be announced on Nov. 10. This Monday honor comes with a little extra cache as voted on by the AL players.
"For me, it means a lot that the players who play against me recognize my efforts and my numbers," said Abreu during a Monday conference call, with the assistance of interpreter Billy Russo. "I am thankful for all of them to give me support. I don't have words to describe what I'm feeling right now.
"I want to say thank you to God and the Chicago White Sox and all the people that have helped me to get this award. I'm very humbled to receive this award. I thank all the players who voted for me for this award."
Gordon Beckham in 2009 stands as the last White Sox player to win the Sporting News AL Rookie award, with Abreu becoming the 11th White Sox player overall to be recognized by this group in this category. Abreu will try to become the first White Sox winner since Ozzie Guillen in 1985 when the BBWAA announces its Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year.
When Abreu first agreed to a six-year, $68 million deal with the White Sox, he was depicted more as a power-hitting first baseman. Abreu quickly proved that he was an exceptionally skilled offensive force with the ability to hit the ball to all fields with authority.
Mere words don't provide adequate justice to this description as much as Abreu's numerous first-year accomplishments.
• His .581 slugging percentage topped the Majors, joining Dick Allen (1974) as the only players in White Sox history to accomplish this feat. He finished second in the AL in OPS (.964) and total bases (323), tied for third in homers, fourth in RBIs and extra-base hits (73), fifth in average and OBP and tied for 10th in doubles.
• He became the first rookie in Major League history to finish among the Top 5 in his respective league in each Triple Crown category. Abreu joined Hal Trosky (1934), Ted Williams ('39) and Albert Pujols (2001) as the only rookies in history to record at least 30 doubles, 30 homers and 100 RBIs in a season.
• Abreu's rookie franchise record 36 homers, topping Ron Kittle's previous mark of 35 from 1983, falls as the sixth-most all-time by a Major League rookie. Abreu's 107 RBIs were the third-highest total by a White Sox rookie, trailing only Smead Jolley (114 in '30) and Zeke Bonura (110 in '34).
• Earning an AL All-Star nod made him the fifth White Sox rookie to be named to the Midsummer Classic, and the first since Kittle. He was named AL Player of the Month in April and July and AL Rookie of the Month in April, June and July. Abreu produced four multihomer games and was the only player this season to record three hitting streaks of 14 or more games.
So what does Abreu do for an encore? He doesn't need to change much from the finely-tuned routine developed as a top Major League rookie and AL Most Valuable Player candidate.
"You don't have to tell him a whole lot. He understands his whole work process," said White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson during a recent interview. "He'll come to camp and he'll be ready and he'll go through his routine again. He might alter it a little different understanding what this is all about now. But going forward, he has a good gist of what he does."
"I'm really not a person that follows the numbers from the past. I don't like to talk about it. I will prepare every year to get the numbers I got this year better," Abreu said. "I prepare myself in the best way possible for every day and every year. All the numbers, all the stuff during the season was for me, my family, the White Sox -- I don't have words to describe how I feel about this year."