José Abreu

José Dariel Abreu Correa (born January 29, 1987) is a Cuban professional baseball first baseman for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has previously played in MLB for the Chicago White Sox.

José Abreu
Abreu with the Chicago White Sox in 2014
Houston Astros – No. 79
First baseman / Designated hitter
Born: (1987-01-29) January 29, 1987
Cruces, Cienfuegos, Cuba
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
MLB debut
March 31, 2014, for the Chicago White Sox
MLB statistics
(through 2022 season)
Batting average.292
Home runs243
Runs batted in863
Career highlights and awards
Men's baseball
Representing  Cuba
Baseball World Cup
2009 Nettuno Team
Intercontinental Cup
2010 Taichung Team

Abreu played in the Cuban National Series for Cienfuegos before his defection from Cuba in August 2013. After being granted free agency by MLB, Abreu signed with the White Sox in October 2013. Since 2013, Abreu has performed primarily as a first baseman, however he has also filled in at designated hitter in slightly less than 20% of his current total of games played. Abreu won the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2014, the Silver Slugger Award in 2014, 2018, and 2020, and the American League's Most Valuable Player Award in 2020.

Professional career

Cuban career

Abreu set a Cuban home run record in 2010–2011 and was named league MVP. He had played five seasons in the Cuban Serie Nacional through 2007–2008, hitting .295 and slugging .467. After 48 games in 2008–2009, he was batting .345/.368/.600, earning the infielder a spot on Cuba's provisional roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He did not make the final cut and finished the season with a .346/.441/.630 batting line. He led the 2008-09 Cuban National Series with 30 times hit by pitch. He tied Yenier Bello and Alex Guerrero for 8th in homers (19), was eighth in slugging and fourth in strikeouts (69).

Abreu was 2-for-10 in the 2009 World Port Tournament, backing up Ariel Borrero at first base. In the 2009 Baseball World Cup, he hit .250/.333/.469 in his first major tournament. He was listed in the IBAF's Final Report as being one of the All-Star outfielders alongside teammate Alfredo Despaigne and Jon Weber, but other sources list Puerto Rico's Miguel Abreu, who had better statistics. He was not even used as a starter in the outfield, playing alongside Ariel Borrero at first. In the gold medal game, he did not appear as Borrero saw the action.

Abreu in the 2013 World Baseball Classic

In 2009–2010, Abreu had his best year yet, hitting .400/.555/.822 with 82 runs, 30 homers, 76 RBI and 74 walks to 49 strikeouts in 89 games. He tied Leonys Martín for 6th in the Serie Nacional in runs, tied for third with 25 doubles, tied Yuli Gurriel for second in home runs (one behind Alfredo Despaigne in a to-the-wire home run race), was third with 235 total bases (behind Despaigne and Gourriel), again led with 30 times hit by pitch, tied Enrique Esteban Díaz for 4th in walks, led with 32 intentional walks (12 more than runner-up Yosvany Peraza), was second in average (.005 behind Despaigne), led in slugging (.008 over Despaigne) and probably led in OBP. He was named the All-Star first baseman.

Abreu was Cuba's starting first baseman when they won the 2010 Intercontinental Cup, their first Gold in an international tournament in three years. He hit .292/.320/.500. In the finale, he went 1-for-3 and scored the first run in the victory over the Dutch national baseball team; he doubled off Rob Cordemans in the third and came home on a Yorbis Borroto hit. He helped Cuba finish second at the 2010 Pan American Games Qualifying Tournament. In the 2010 World University Baseball Championship, he posted the best average by going 10-for-18 with two walks, a double, triple, four homers, nine runs and 12 RBI in six games as Cuba won the Gold. He was 0-for-4 in the finale, as Cuba edged Team USA. He was named the event's All-Star 1B.

Abreu continued to improve in 2010–11 Cuban National Series with one of the greatest seasons in Cuban history. He hit .453/.597/.986 with 79 runs, 93 RBI and 33 home runs in only 66 games.[1] Despite missing 23 games due to bursitis in his shoulder, he broke Despaigne's home run record (as did Yoenis Céspedes — both hit their 33rd on the season's last day). Despaigne would reclaim the record a year later. Abreu led the league in average (.052 over Michel Enríquez), slugging (a whopping .212 over runner-up Frederich Cepeda), intentional walks (21) and homers (tied with Yoenis Céspedes), was second in RBI (6 behind Céspedes), tied for eighth in runs with Donal Duarte, was seventh in total bases (209) and 4th in times hit by pitch (21). Had he not been injured, he would have likely easily won a Triple Crown. He won Cuban National Series Most Valuable Player Award. He was the second MVP from Cienfuegos, following Pedro José Rodríguez, Sr. by 31 years.

Abreu was part of the Cuba national baseball team at the 2013 World Baseball Classic.[1] In Cuba's six games, he batted .383 and hit three home runs while recording nine RBIs.[2]

Chicago White Sox

In August 2013, Abreu defected from Cuba to test the MLB free agent market.[3] His defection was later confirmed by former teammate Henry Urrutia.[4] He established residency in Haiti. He then made his way to the Dominican Republic, where Henry Urrutia's agents planned to showcase him. [5] In October, he signed a six-year contract with the Chicago White Sox worth $68 million.[2][6] On the White Sox, Abreu joined fellow Cuban players Alexei Ramírez, Dayán Viciedo, and Rule 5 draft pick Adrian Nieto.

2014: AL Rookie of the Year

Abreu with the White Sox in 2017

Abreu recorded his first major league hit on March 31, 2014, against the Minnesota Twins. On April 8, 2014, Abreu hit the first two home runs of his career in a game at Coors Field, helping his team defeat the Colorado Rockies 15-3. On April 25, 2014, he captured his eighth home run of the year off Chris Archer, tying the rookie record for homers in March/April. Later that night, Abreu recorded his third multi-homer game with a walk-off grand slam off Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Grant Balfour giving him nine homers in his first month in the Major Leagues, surpassing the record of eight shared by Albert Pujols (2001), Carlos Delgado (1994), and Kent Hrbek (1982). Two days later, Abreu broke the rookie record for RBI in the month of April with 31, and extended the April rookie home run record to 10.[7] For his performance, Abreu was awarded a share of the AL Player of the Week Award for April 21-27 along with Seattle Mariners' third baseman Kyle Seager. During this week, Abreu batted .310 with 5 home runs, 14 RBI and an .862 slugging percentage .[8]

On May 18, Abreu was placed on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his left ankle.[9] On June 2, Abreu returned from the DL to face the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his second at bat after his return, Abreu hit a two-run home run off Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

On July 6, Abreu was selected to the 2014 MLB All-Star Game along with teammates Alexei Ramírez and Chris Sale. At the All-Star Break, Abreu had a .292 batting average with 73 RBIs and an MLB-leading 29 home runs. During the season, Abreu was named both player of the month and rookie of the month for April & July, being something where no one else in baseball had ever won both awards in the same month twice in one season. Having won the rookie honor in June, Abreu became only the fourth player to win the Rookie of the Month honor three or more times in a season.[10]

Abreu finished the season with a White Sox rookie record 36 home runs.[11] He won the 2014 Sporting News American League Rookie of the Year Award.[12] He was awarded the AL Silver Slugger Award for first basemen, becoming the only White Sox first baseman besides Frank Thomas to ever gain the honor. Abreu was unanimously named the 2014 AL Rookie of the Year by the BBWAA on November 10, 2014.[13]


Abreu had an effective sophomore season in 2015, batting .290/.347/.502 with 30 home runs and 101 RBIs in 154 games. His .502 slugging percentage and 67 extra-base hits both ranked tenth in the American League.


Abreu continued his productive pace in 2016 as he batted .293/.353/.468 with 25 home runs and 100 RBIs for the White Sox.


On September 9, 2017, Abreu hit for the cycle against the San Francisco Giants, becoming the first White Sox player to hit for the cycle since José Valentín on April 27, 2000. In 2017, Abreu held many of the top 20 ranks within MLB, 8th in MLB for batting average, batting .304 for the season, and led the league in total bases. Abreu created a total of 116 runs throughout the season, placing him at fifth in the American League. He was third in the league for triples, hitting 6 over the course of the regular season, and had 82 total extra base hits, making him second in the league.


In 2018, Abreu again was selected to play in the 2018 All-Star Game as part of the American League team as a first baseman. After the 2018 season, he was also awarded his second Silver Slugger Award for first basemen. He batted .265/.325/.473 in 2018, each the lowest figure of his Major League Baseball career.


In 2019, Abreu batted .284/.330/.503 with 33 home runs and led the American League in RBIs (123) and sacrifice flies (10), and led the major leagues in grounding into double plays (24).[14] On defense, he had a -4 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) rating, the lowest in the American League among first basemen.[15]

On November 14, 2019, Abreu agreed to the White Sox's qualifying offer of a one-year, $17.8 million contract.[16] On November 22, Abreu signed a three-year contract with the White Sox worth $50 million, superseding his previously accepted qualifying offer.[17]

2020: AL MVP

Abreu had another strong offensive season for the White Sox in 2020. On August 22 and 23 against the Chicago Cubs, Abreu tied an MLB record by hitting a home run in four straight at-bats. Abreu hit 3 home runs in his 3 at-bats on August 22 off Kyle Hendricks, Rowan Wick, and Duane Underwood Jr. Then the next day, Abreu hit a home run in his first at-bat off Yu Darvish.[18] Overall, Abreu batted .317/.370/.617, equalling a career high in batting average while setting a new career best for slugging. Abreu led the American League in slugging percentage, RBIs (60), games played (60), hits (76), extra base hits (34), total bases (148), double plays grounded into (10; leading the league for the second consecutive year), and errors by a first baseman (5), while also finishing in the top 10 in home runs (19, 2nd) and doubles (15, 9th).[19] Abreu's strong season helped to lead the White Sox to their first postseason berth since 2008. In game 1 of the Wild Card Series against the Oakland Athletics, Abreu hit his first postseason home run in his second at-bat off Jesus Luzardo. The Sox would win the game 4–1 but would lose the next 2 games which eliminated them. For his efforts during the regular season, Abreu was named the AL MVP, becoming the first White Sox player to win the award since Frank Thomas in 1994. Abreu became the fourth different White Sox player to win AL MVP joining Thomas, Dick Allen, and Nellie Fox.[20]


In 2021, Abreu tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving at spring training.[21] His first practice with the White Sox was on February 27, five days after their first full-squad workout.[22]

On April 14, 2021, in a game against the Cleveland Indians in top of the 9th inning, Abreu made a play at first base and was credited with saving a no-hitter for Carlos Rodon. Abreu picked up a ground ball that hit off of Josh Naylor and with Naylor sprinting as fast as he could to first base, Abreu stretched his right foot out like he was a baserunner sliding to the bag and his foot touched the base just before Naylor reached it with his headfirst slide attempt.[23][24] On May 14, 2021, Abreu was involved in a collision at the first base line with Kansas City Royals batter Hunter Dozier during the first game of a double header. Neither of them played in the second game of the double header,[25] but Abreu returned to play on the following day.[26] On May 16, Abreu scored a walk-off run on a wild pitch by Kansas City Royals pitcher Wade Davis.[26] On August 12, 2021, in a game played at the MLB at Field of Dreams site in Dyersville, Iowa, Abreu hit the first ever official Major League home run to be connected in Iowa off Andrew Heaney. Overall in 2021, Abreu took a step back. Despite hitting 30 home runs and 117 RBIs during the season, he had a batting average of .261 and only had 148 hits in 152 games. He was also hit 22 times by pitches. He grounded into 28 double plays, more than any other major leaguer.[27]


For the 2022 season, Abreu batted .304/.378/.446 in 157 games. However, he had a significant decrease in power, hitting only 15 home runs with 75 RBI.

Houston Astros

On November 28, 2022, Abreu signed a three-year, $58.5 million contract with the Houston Astros.[28]

Personal life

Abreu wears #79, an unusually high uniform number. His mother, Daysi Correa,[29] chose the number so that people would remember it. Abreu's mother and the rest of his extended family remained in Cuba[30] until his parents moved to the United States in May 2014.[29] The 2014 MLB All-Star Game was the first game in which his parents saw him play since leaving Cuba.[29]

See also

  • Cuban National Series Most Valuable Player Award
  • List of baseball players who defected from Cuba
  • List of Chicago White Sox award winners and league leaders
  • List of current Major League Baseball players by nationality
  • List of Major League Baseball annual putouts leaders
  • List of Major League Baseball career slugging percentage leaders
  • List of Major League Baseball players from Cuba
  • List of Major League Baseball players to hit for the cycle


  1. Rogers, Phil (March 1, 2013). "Your Morning Phil: WBC, Thome, Sale". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  2. Tom Gatto (October 17, 2013). "Jose Dariel Abreu contract: White Sox reportedly set to pay Cuban defector $68M over 6 years – MLB". Sporting News. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  3. "Reports: Slugger Jose Abreu defects". August 13, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  4. Sanchez, Jesse (August 13, 2013). "Urrutia confirms defection of Cuban slugger Abreu". Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  5. Hopkins, Jared. "Jose Abreu's mysterious journey".
  6. Merin, Scott (October 29, 2013). "White Sox introduce slugger Abreu to Chicago". Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  7. "Jose Abreu sets rookie record for RBIs thru April". Associated Press. April 27, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  8. "Abreu, Seager share AL Player of Week Award". April 28, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  9. "White Sox Place Jose Abreu on DL - ESPN Video - ESPN". Archived from the original on May 28, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  10. "Jose Abreu of Chicago White Sox makes history with Player of the Month honor – ESPN Chicago". August 4, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  11. "Jose Abreu establishes White Sox record on Paul Konerko Day". CSN Chicago. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  12. "Abreu starts collection of rookie honors". October 20, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  13. Miller, Doug (November 10, 2014). "White Sox Abreu, Mets' deGrom named Rookies of Year". Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  14. "Jose Abreu Stats". Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  15. "Major League Leaderboards » 2019 » First Basemen » Fielding Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball". January 1, 2019. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  16. "Abreu accepts White Sox qualifying offer". Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  17. Gene Farris (November 22, 2019). "White Sox, Jose Abreu agree on 3-year, $50 million deal". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  18. Merkin, Scott (August 23, 2020). "José Abreu homer streak at Wrigley". Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  19. "José Abreu Stats".
  20. "Abreu overcome by first career MVP Award". November 12, 2020. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  21. Duber, Vinnie (February 24, 2021). "Abreu away from Sox camp following positive COVID-19 test". NBC Sports Chicago. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  22. Van Schouwen, Daryl (February 27, 2021). "Reigning MVP Jose Abreu joins White Sox at spring training". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  23. "White Sox 8, Indians 0, Wednesday, April 14, 2021". Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  24. Duber, Vinnie (April 14, 2021). "Carlos Rodón throws 20th no-hitter in Sox history". NBC Sports Chicago. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  25. "Abreu, Dozier exit after 'violent' collision". Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  26. Merkin, Scott (May 16, 2021). "Abreu's dash gives White Sox wild walk-off". Retrieved May 17, 2021.
  27. "Major League Leaderboards » 2021 » Batters » Standard Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball".
  28. McTaggart, Brian; Merkin, Scott (November 28, 2022). "Astros sign veteran 1B José Abreu to 3-year deal". Retrieved November 28, 2022.
  29. Hartwell, Darren (July 15, 2014). "Jose Abreu's Parents To Watch Son Play For First Time In U.S. At All-Star Game". Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  30. David Haugh, Jose Abreu traveled a long way to join White Sox, Chicago Tribune, Published 25 January 2014, Accessed 6 May 2014.
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