By Ray Otero (baseballdecuba.com)
HAVANA TIMES — As expected, José Dariel Abreu, the Chicago White Sox first baseman from Cienfuegos, Cuba, received a unanimous vote Monday on 30 ballots of the Baseball Writers Association of America for the Rookie of the Year of the American League.
Behind Abreu in the vote were Los Angeles Angels starter Matt Shoemaker and New York Yankees reliever, Dellin Betances.
Abreu is the first White Sox player to win the award since Ozzie Guillen in 1985. He became the fourth player born in Cuba in achieving the award in Major League Baseball and the third in the American League along with Tony Oliva (1964) of the Minnesota Twins and Jose Canseco (1986) with the Oakland Athletics. The other Cuban, but from the National League, was Florida Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who won the award last year.
Of the four, Abreu is the only one to have made a career in the Cuban baseball league before leaving the country and joining a Major League team.
Abreu, who signed a $68 million dollar contract with the White Sox, exceeded the expectations of the club with a .317 batting average with 175 hits, 35 doubles, 36 homers, 107 RBIs, a .581 slugging percentage and an on-base percentage of .383. His 36 home runs set a franchise record by surpassing Ron Kittle (35) in 1983.
Abreu’s numbers were impressive throughout the season. The first baseman led the majors in slugging to join Dick Allen (1974) as the only White Sox players to accomplish the feat.
In other departments Abreu was located as follows: 2nd in On-base plus slugging (OPS) at .964, 2nd in total bases (323), 4th in extra base hits, 3rd in HRs (36), 4th in RBIs (107), 5th in Average (.317) and 5th in OBP (.383).
To this we must add that Abreu became the first rookie in major league history to rank among the top five players in all three Triple Crown categories of batting and also with 30 doubles, 30 home runs and over 100 RBIs he joined the only group of rookies who have achieved such a feat, Hal Trosky (1934), Ted Williams (1939) and Albert Pujols (2001).
Finally José Dariel also won the Louisville Silver Slugger Award for a first baseman, joining other Cubans as Jose Canseco (4 times), Rafael Palmeiro (twice) and Alexei Ramirez (twice) as the only to do so.