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Cuban Defector Jose Abreu Named Rookie Of The Year

Cuban baseball player Jose Abreu was unanimously named the American League rookie of the year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. 27-year-old Abreu had a .581 slugging percentage, a .317 batting average, 36 home runs, and 107 RBIs. That’s pretty amazing considering the fact that two years ago Abreu wasn’t even in the American system. Instead he was playing ball for Cienfuegos in Cuba. The reason I say that it’s incredible is not to put down Cuban ball at all. There are some incredible players there and they take baseball very seriously. It’s more the fact that those kinds of numbers are rare because they tend to play small ball and work more as a team to achieve wins as opposed to the singular achievement that American players strive for. At last year’s World Baseball Classic, Abreu hit .383 with three homers and nine RBIs for Cuba. It was then that he realized his future was in the MLB. He says,

“But in 2013, after the World Classic, I realized that I belonged to the major leagues and I am very happy that I’m here. And I’m very happy that my family’s happy that I am in the major leagues. Of course, now I realize that I could make it.”

He defected in the summer of 2013 and was subsequently offered a $68 million dollar 6 year contract with the Chicago White Sox. Abreu in general tends to take his new found fame in stride. He knows how lucky he is to have made it out of Cuba and be so successful this quickly. It’s a growing trend. There are more Cubans playing in the MLB now than ever before and I can only see this number growing with time.

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