Jose Abreu, Jacob deGrom voted baseball’s Rookies of the Year
“I don’t have any words to describe this moment,” Abreu said through a translator on the MLB Network telecast Monday. “I consider myself a good hitter, and I guess I’ve proven it.”
One year after defecting from Cuba, the 27-year-old Abreu led the major leagues with a .581 slugging percentage. He was sixth in batting at .317, tied for fourth in home runs with 36 and fifth in RBIs with 107.
Abreu received all 30 first place votes for 150 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Los Angeles Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker was second with 40 points, followed by New York Yankees reliever Dellin Betances (27), Houston pitcher Collin McHugh (21) and Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (16), who was hurt for most of the season’s second half.
Abreu hit .383 with three homers and nine RBIs for Cuba at last year’s World Baseball Classic, then defected that summer and signed a $68 million, six-year contract with the White Sox in October.
He became the first qualifying rookie to lead the major leagues in slugging percentage since Oakland’s Mark McGwire in 1987, according to STATS.
Abreu is the sixth White Sox player to earn the honor following Luis Aparicio (1956), Gary Peters (1963), Tommie Agee (1966), Ron Kittle (1983) and Ozzie Guillen (1985).
DeGrom received 26 of 30 first-place votes and 142 points. Speedy Cincinnati outfielder Billy Hamilton was second with four firsts and 92 points.
With his shoulder-length hair flapping out from under his cap, deGrom was a hit right from the start of his major league career.
He made his debut against the Yankees on May 15, a month before his 26th birthday, and his third-inning single ended an 0-for-64 start to the season at the plate for New York’s pitchers, the worst slide to open a season in major league history.
“Even coming into this year, I didn’t know what to expect,” said deGrom, who started the season in Triple-A. “It all worked out.”
DeGrom went 0-4 with a 4.39 ERA in his first seven starts, then won at Miami with seven scoreless innings on June 21. He went on to win nine of his last 11 decisions, compiling a 1.99 ERA, and finished 9-6 with a 2.69 ERA.
On Aug. 2, deGrom took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning against San Francisco before Pablo Sandoval’s two-out double. He achieved another bit of notoriety against the Marlins on Sept. 15, striking Miami’s first eight batters to tie the record for whiffs at the start of a game. DeGrom joined Houston’s Jim Deshaies in 1986 as the only pitchers to accomplish the feat since 1900.
DeGrom became the fifth Mets winner of the award, joining Tom Seaver (1967), Jon Matlack (1972), Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984).