The Chicago White Sox’s Cuban phenomenon Jose Abreu has set a new record for the number of home runs hit in April by a rookie, breaking the record previously held by Kent Hrbek, Carlos Delgado and Albert Pujols.
With his walk-off-grand-slam against the Rays on Friday night, Abreu now has a major league leading nine home runs on the year, and has driven in 27 runs – which is also a record for a rookie in the month of April.
Abreu told reporters, through an interpreter:
I really didn’t have any expectations, as a matter of fact I was talking to Pujols during spring training and he told me ‘Hey, don’t worry about hitting the home runs early in the season since it’s your first season and all that. Don’t worry about that. Things will come up.’
Abreu has a massive .632 slugging percentage and a ridiculous .368 isolated power. Furthermore, the fastball hitter has a 83% contact percentage within the strike zone and a 58% contact percentage outside the strike zone.
The slugging first baseman can defend, too. Abreu has put away 26/26 routine plays and even made one ‘remote’ play – a play in which the player has a 1-10% chance of actually making the out.
After playing in the top Cuban league for five years, his monumental power was finally discovered when he burst onto the scene with a magnificent 2013 World Baseball Classic performance. In August, he defected from Cuba and established residency in the Dominican Republic, becoming a free agent. In October, he signed a six-year-$68-million-deal with the Chicago White Sox.