Abreu Ties Despaigne’s Home Run Record

Peter C. Bjarkman

Jose Dariel Abreu

HAVANA TIMES, April 19 — All season long most eyes have been focused squarely on Granma’s Alfredo Despaigne and his quest to catch and surpass the single-season home run mark of 33 established last spring by José Dariel Abreu (Cienfuegos) and Yoennis Céspedes (Granma, now with the Oakland Athletics in the North American major leagues).

A little more than two weeks ago the Granma Stallion (“The Horse of the Horses” as he is known around the island) accomplished his goal in most dramatic fashion by banging out numbers 34 and 35 in Havana’s Latin American Stadium.

The first record-breaking smash was especially spectacular since it came on a pitch that actually severed Despaigne’s bat into separate pieces; that blow – struck off Industriales southpaw Ian Rendón – still managed to travel well in excess of 400 feet on its flight into the left-center-field bleachers.

By putting some distance between himself and Abreu earlier in the month, Despaigne seemed to have locked up both the new home run record and also the league lead in runs batted in. First place finishes in both those slugging departments seemed to spell another near-miss for José Dariel who has now flirted with a possible first-ever Triple Crown for two consecutive seasons.

Last year’s batting and home run champ, Abreu lost out in the RBI department by the narrowest of possible margins to Céspedes (with whom he shared the home run crown). This year Abreu enjoys a safe margin as repeat winner of the batting title (now owning a .391 average) and has trailed only Despaigne in the other two heavyweight offensive departments.

But the Fat Lady had not yet sung (as the saying goes) and for the second time in a month Abreu has charged from the rear to again grab at least a share of the spotlight. Last night (April 18) in Cinco de Septiembre Stadium the bulky Cienfuegos first sacker smacked out long ball number 35 (in the sixth inning off Santiago right-hander Dany Betancourt) to take back a share of the home run record he had surrendered to Despaigne on April 3. It was Abreu’s third homer in as many games and his sixth since Despaigne’s own record thirty-fifth. And the blow also narrowed the gap to a mere five in the RBI department.

Both sluggers now have three games remaining as the National Series season heads into its final weekend. Cienfuegos entertains Ciego de Avila in a three-game set at home and will likely face league ERA leader Vladimir García in one of those matches. Granma faces a more crucial series on the road in Nueva Gerona versus Isla de la Juventud (whose pitching staff boasts new single-season Saves record holder Danni Aguilera).

The Stallions must make up a one-game difference in their tussle with Santiago de Cuba for the final Oriental League post-season slot. Abreu seems to have all the momentum at the moment and is in fact currently slugging homers with greater frequency on the season than Despaigne. Abreu as whacked a round-tripper every 7.83 times at bat; Despaigne is slightly less impressive with one every 9.51 official trips to the plate.

If Abreu has the momentum, it could also be said that Despaigne is overdue and also owns a history of saving his grandest performances for the biggest stages. It should be a thrilling race to the wire.

José Dariel Abreu’s Home Run Inventory for National Series #51 (2011-2012)

Compiled by Peter C. Bjarkman

HRGameDateStadiumInningPitcher (Throws) Team
#35#93April 18, 2012Cinco de SeptiembreSixthDany Betancourt (RHP) Santiago de Cuba
#34#92April 17, 2012Cinco de SeptiembreEighthOsmani Tamayo (RHP) Santiago de Cuba
#33#91April 15, 2012Cinco de SeptiembreEighthAlain Dela (RHP) Santiago de Cuba
#32#86April 8, 2012Cinco de SeptiembreSixthRaidel Borges (LHP) Metropolitanos
#31*#85April 7, 2012Cinco de SeptiembreEighthAbel Viego (LHP) Metropolitanos
#30*#85April 7, 2012Cinco de SeptiembreSecondAbel Viego (LHP) Metropolitanos
#29*#80March 31, 2012Augusto César SandinoSixthDiosdani Castillo (RHP) Villa Clara
#28*#80March 31, 2012Augusto César SandinoThirdMarlon Romero (LHP) Villa Clara
#27#79March 30, 2012Augusto César SandinoEighthIrvin del Río (RHP) Villa Clara
#26#76March 26, 2012José Antonio HuelgaFourthYamichel Pérez (LHP) Sancti Spíritus
#25#75March 24, 2012Nelson FernándezFourthAntonio Oliva (RHP) Mayabeque
#24#74March 22, 2012Nelson FernándezThirdAriel Miranda (LHP) Mayabeque
#23#73March 21, 2012Nelson FernándezEighthYusbel O’Farril (RHP) Mayabeque
#22#72March 19, 2012Cinco de SeptiembreEighthYoanni Yera (LHP) Matanzas
#21#71March 18, 2012Cinco de SeptiembreFourthYasmani Arias (RHP) Matanzas
#20#58March 2, 2012Cinco de SeptiembreFirstVicyohandri Odelín (RHP) Camagüey
#19#57March 1, 2012Cinco de SeptiembreThirdRodolfo Soris (LHP) Camagüey
#18#56February 29, 2012Cinco de SeptiembreEighthFrank Madan (RHP) Camagüey
#17#54February 22, 2012Calixto GarcíaNinthJuan Alberto Cruz (RHP) Holguín
#16#52February 16, 2012Nguyen Van TroiSixthFrank Navarro (RHP) Guantánamo
#15#44February 5, 2012José Ramón CeperoEighthYusnel García (RHP) Ciego de Avila
#14#42February 2, 2012Guillermon MoncadaEighthOsmani Tamayo (RHP) Santiago de Cuba
#13#38January 28, 2012Cinco de SeptiembreSeventhAlesky Perera (RHP) Isla de la Juventud
#12#37January 26, 2012Changa MederosFifthKuglai González (RHP) Metropolitanos
#11#35January 24, 2012Changa MederosEighthJosé Armando Pérez (RHP) Metropolitanos
#10#33January 21, 2012Julio Antonio MellaSixthDael Mejias (RHP) Las Tunas
#9*#27January 12, 2012Nico Egozcue (CFG)SecondOmar Guardarramas (RHP) Sancti Spíritus
#8*#27January 12, 2012Nico Egozcue (CFG)FirstYoharisleivis Panama (RHP) Sancti Spíritus
#7#22January 5, 2012Victoria de GirónFourthJorge Alberto Martínez (RHP) Matanzas
#6#20January 3, 2011Victoria de GirónFourthYoanni Yera (LHP) Matanzas
#5#14December 22, 2011Martires de BarbadosFifthYanier González (RHP) Granma
#4#13December 21, 201117 de Noviembre (GRA)ThirdAlberto Soto (RHP) Granma
#3#11December 18, 2011Candido GonzálezSeventhFidel Romero (RHP) Camagüey
#2#8December 8, 2011Cumanayagua (CFG)SixthErnesto Hernández (RHP) Holguín
#1#1November 29, 2011Cinco de SeptiembreFirst**Miguel Alfredo González (RHP) Artemisa

Cumulative Notes on José Dariel Abreu:

Abreu’s Home Run Ratio: 7.83 (Number of At-Bats per Homer Run)

**José Dariel Abreu homered in first at-bat of the season on November 29, 2011

Home Runs by Month: November (1), December (4), January (8), February (5), March (11), April (5)

Home Runs versus Pitching Orientation: against right-handers (25), against left-handers (10)

Multiple Home Runs versus Single Pitcher: 2 (versus Abel Viego [Metropolitanos] and Yoanni Yera [Matanzas])

Home Runs in Ballparks: Home (16), Road (19)

Home Roads in Specific Ballparks: Cinco de Septiembre (Cienfuegos) 13, Augusto César Sandino (Villa Clara) 3, Nelson Fernández (San José de Las Lajas) 3, Changa Mederos (Havana) 2, Victoria de Girón (Matanzas) 2, Nico Egozcue (Cienfuegos) 2, José Antonio Huelga (Sancti Spíritus) 1, Calixto García (Holguín) 1, Nguyen Van Troi (Guantánamo) 1, José Ramón Cepero (Ciego de Avila) 1, Guillermon Moncada (Santiago de Cuba) 1, Julio Antonio Mella (Las Tunas) 1, Martires de Barbados (Granma) 1, 17 de Noviembre (Granma) 1, Candido González (Camagüey) 1, Cumanayagua (Cienfuegos) 1

Home Runs versus Teams (14 teams): Metropolitanos 5, Camagüey 4, Matanzas 4, Santiago de Cuba 4, Villa Clara 3, Sancti Spíritus 3, Mayabeque 3, Granma 2, Holguín 2, Las Tunas 1, Isla de la Juventud 1, Ciego de Avila 1, Guantánamo 1, Artemisa 1

Teams Not Permitting an Abreu Home Run in NS #51 (2 teams): Industriales, Pinar del Río

Home Runs by Innings: First (3), Second (2), Third (4), Fourth (5), Fifth (2), Sixth (6), Seventh (2), Eighth (10), Ninth (1)

Longest Consecutive Game Home Run Streak: 6 games (March 18 – 26, 2012 in Games #71 – #76) (ties Cuban League record)

Longest Consecutive Game Streak without Home Runs: 12 games (March 2 – 18, 2012)

*Multiple Home Run Games: 3 (January 12 versus Sancti Spíritus, March 31 versus Villa Clara, April 7 versus Metropolitanos)



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