It’s turned out to be a July to remember for Jose Abreu…
The 27-year-old Cuban professional baseball player, a first baseman for the Chicago White Sox, has been named both player of the month and rookie of the month for July.
It’s Abreu’s third rookie of the month award this season and it’s the second time that he has won both honors in the same calendar month, achieving the same feat in April, when he made his MLB debut in massive style.
Abreu makes history with the honors… No one in baseball has ever won both awards in the same month twice in one season, and Abreu became just the fourth player to win the rookie honor three or more times in a season. Ichiro Suzuki won it four times in 2001, Mike Trout won four in 2012 and Jason Bay won three in 2004.
Much like his style all season, Abreu was pretty modest about his latest honors.
“I don’t really like to talk about myself a lot but I am surprised (at the accomplishments),” Abreu said through an interpreter. “I wasn’t expecting to have all this success and definitely all these awards. But, you know, I am very thankful that it happened. I just continue to go about my day the same way and continue to work on my routines.”
Abreu batted .374 in July with 11 doubles, six home runs and 19 RBIs in 25 games. He also had a .432 on-base percentage and a .667 slugging percentage all while dealing with lower back discomfort toward the tail end of July.
He not only hit safely in 24 of the 25 July games, he led the American League in batting average, slugging percentage, OPS (1.099), extra-base hits (17) and total bases (66).
“It’s not surprising; you’re happy for him,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He’s had a great month and he gets rewarded for it. The kind of teammate he is makes it better. Guys are happy for him.”
Despite missing 14 games this season while on the disabled list with an ankle issue, Abreu leads the major leagues in home runs (31), RBIs (84), slugging percentage (.627), at-bats per home run (12.29) and at-bats per RBI (4.54).
He’s on pace to hit 45 home runs and drive in 122 runs. Mark McGwire has the rookie record for home runs with 49 in 1987.
“I don’t know that anyone really envisioned this,” Ventura said. “When you saw and heard the ball coming off his bat (during spring training) you understand his power and things like that. You probably allowed for a little more inconsistency going through your first year of seeing pitchers and knowing the type of pitchers you’ll see every day are pretty dang good. You don’t really envision the numbers you’re seeing, but once you see him, it can make sense.”