Jose Abreu was unanimously named American League Rookie of the Year on Monday by the Baseball Writers Association of America, the third such honor for the White Sox first baseman.
He is the first White Sox Rookie of the Year since Ozzie Guillen earned the honor in 1985. Gordon Beckham won the Sporting News Award in 2009. Abreu received all 30 first-place votes.
“The process was difficult,” said the 27-year-old Abreu, who actually made the transition from playing in Cuba to the major leagues look smooth. “But I adjusted all season and the results are here. I became Rookie of the Year and I guess this says a lot about the adjustments I made.”
The other finalists for the BBWAA award were Yankees relief pitcher Dellin Betances and Angels starter Matt Shoemaker. Betances (5-0, 1.40 ERA) led major league relievers with 135 strikeouts in 90 innings, and Shoemaker was 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA. Shoemaker received 40 votes and Betances 27. Abreu, who received 150 votes, also received the Players Choice Award from the Major League Baseball Players Association on Nov. 3 and the Sporting News award Oct. 20 for best AL rookie.
As good as Betances and Shoemaker were, Abreu’s numbers made him the clear favorite: A .317 average, 36 homers, 35 doubles, 107 RBI and a .581 slugging percentage that led the major leagues. He also ranked second in the AL leaders in OPS (.964) and total bases (323), third in homers, fourth in RBI and fifth in average and on-base percentage (.383).
He was the first rookie in history to rank among the top five in his league in the Triple Crown categories and he joined Hal Trosky (1934), Ted Williams (1939) and Albert Pujols (2001) as the only rookies with 30 doubles, 30 homers and 100 RBI in a season.
Abreu’s 36 home runs set a franchise rookie record and his 107 RBI were the third-highest total by a Sox rookie behind Smead Jolley (114 in 1930) and Zeke Bonura (110 in 1934).
Abreu is the sixth White Sox to win the BBWAA Rookie of the Year honor, joining Guillen, Ron Kittle (1983), Tommie Agee (1966), Gary Peters (1963) and Luis Aparicio (1956).
“I want to congratulate Jose on this prestigious award and his spectacular rookie season,” Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. “From the day Jose joined the White Sox, we were optimistic that he would develop into an integral part of our success and a centerpiece in our lineup for years to come.
The speed in which he was able to deliver on his promise is truly remarkable, as his performance this season left no doubt he is among the premiere hitters in all of baseball. I join all White Sox fans in being extremely excited to see what the future holds for Jose as he continues to improve and develop as one of the cornerstones of our team.”