CHICAGO -- In a prelude to what is expected to be the result of the official American League Rookie of the Year award, the Chicago White Sox's Jose Abreu was honored Monday for his outstanding debut season.
The 27-year-old Abreu was named the Sporting News Rookie of the Year, a honor not related to the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award that is voted on by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Abreu earned 149 of a possible 160 votes to win the honor in balloting conducted among major league players. The Los Angeles Angels' Matt Shoemaker earned four votes, while New York Yankees teammates Dellin Betances and Masahiro Tanaka each earned three votes. The final vote went to Abreu’s White Sox teammate Marcus Semien.
“For me, it means a lot that the players who play against me recognize my efforts and my numbers,” Abreu said through an interpreter Monday via conference call. “I am thankful for all of them to give me support. I don’t have words to describe what I’m feeling right now.”
Abreu finished the season with a major league-leading .581 slugging percentage, while also posting a .383 on-base percentage in 145 games. He was second in the American League with a .964 OPS and second in total bases with 323.
Abreu’s 36 home runs not only were a White Sox rookie record, they were also third most in the AL. He was also fourth in RBIs with 107 and fourth in extra-base hits with 73.
“When spring training started, I just [wanted] to be 100 percent for the season and be able to help the team win games,” Abreu said. “When the season was finished and I had the opportunity to check my numbers, I feel very comfortable. Now, I prepare for whatever is in the future. The next award for me is OK. I’m very humble for all the accomplishments I had this year.”
Abreu was uncomfortable talking about personal accomplishments all season long, constantly saying he was more in tune with the team aspect of the game.
“All the numbers all the stuff during the season was for me, my family, the White Sox,” he said. “I don’t have words to describe how I feel about this year. I am humble for all that stuff.”
Abreu’s power did wane during the final two months of the season as he participated in a 162-game season for the first time in his career. In his native Cuba, Abreu never had more than 312 at-bats in a season for his Cienfuegos club. He had 556 at-bats for the White Sox this past season.
His performance suggests even better numbers moving forward if he can pace himself for the long schedule.
“I really am not a person that follows the numbers from the past; I don’t like to talk about it,” Abreu said. “I will prepare every year to get the numbers I got this year and make them better.”
Abreu became the first rookie in major league history to rank among the top five in his league in each Triple Crown category. He also joined Hal Trosky (1934), Ted Williams (1939) and Albert Pujols (2001) to hit at least 30 doubles, 30 home runs and collect 100 RBIs in a rookie season.
The last White Sox player to win the Sporting News rookie honor was Gordon Beckham in 2009. Abreu is also the 11th White Sox player to be honored with the rookie award from the publication.
The official American League and National League Rookie of the Year awards will be announced Nov. 10.