Jose Abreu 3rd Fastest To 20 Home Runs In Major League History
On June 18th, Chicago White Sox slugger Jose Abreu hit his 20th home run in a 7-6 victory over the San Francisco Giants. With that home run, Abreu has put himself into the history books. He becomes the third fastest hitter to reach 20 home runs in a season. The only two players to beat his pace of 58 games were Frank Thomas (46 games in 1994) and Jim Thome (49 games in 2006).
The 27-year old rookie out of Cuba is quickly proving to be worth the $68 million/6 year contract that he signed last winter. If he continues at this torrid home run pace, he will finish the year as one of the top sluggers in all of Major League Baseball. Jose Abreu currently sits third in home runs in the MLB with 21. He sits just behind Nelson Cruz (22) and Edwin Encarnacion (23). The most important stat to consider in these rankings is that both Cruz and Encarnacion have played at least 10 more games than Abreu. Given more games and at-bats, Abreu could easily be leading this group of powerful sluggers.
On the season, Abreu is slashing .268/.319/.609, giving him the second highest slugging percentage, behind only Troy Tulowitzki. Even given these great numbers as a rookie, Abreu is not considered the top candidate for the Rookie of the Year Award. He is competing with Japanese superstar and New York Yankees Ace Masahiro Tanaka. Should Tanaka keep pitching as he is, he may very well be a top contender for the Cy Young Award, let alone the ROY Award. This means that even if Jose Abreu were to lead the league in home runs, he may not win the award.
The last time a player led the league in home runs, he was awarded the ROY Award. Mark McGwire accomplished this feat during the 1987 season when he hit 49 home runs, which tied him for first with Andre Dawson and earned him the ROY Award. Based on the current rankings of the top two American League rookies, it will be a shoot out until seasons end to see which star rookie will be able to bring home the hardware.