After a 3-for-4 performance at the plate Wednesday night, Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox became the third first-year player to tally 19 home runs and 50 RBI prior to the All-Star break, per MLB Stat of the Day.
The rookie out of Cuba joins Albert Pujols (2001) and Wally Joyner (1986) as the only other players to have reached these thresholds during their first season in the league.
During another famous rookie run, Albert Pujols racked up 21 four-baggers and 66 RBI for the St. Louis Cardinals before the All-Star break in 2001. He hit homer No. 19 on June 10 of that season—one day ahead of the pace set this year by Abreu (although Pujols required 10 more games to get there).
At that point in the 2001 season, Pujols had also driven in nine more runs than Abreu. The Cardinals first baseman went on to log 37 homers, 130 RBI and a .329 batting average on his way to winning the National League Rookie of the Year award and finishing fourth in NL MVP voting.
Abreu's first half is all the more impressive when considering that he missed 14 games from May 18 to June 1 while on the DL with an ankle injury. Even after lost time, his 19 homers currently rank third in the American League, while he's tied for fifth with 50 RBI.
The 27-year-old Abreu is slashing .270/.323/.627 over 52 games, and his .950 on-base plus slugging percentage is good for fourth among qualified AL batters, entering Thursday's action.
With the All-Star Game just over a month away, the rookie should have plenty of chances to add to his record-setting totals.
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