It's no secret that Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu has burst onto the scene, but the rate at which he's threatening first-year player records still comes as a bit of a surprise.
The Cuban rookie has already set a pair of records among first-year players in the All-Star Game era, with 29 home runs, 50 extra-base hits and 203 total bases before the break, per MLB Stat of the Day. The Midsummer Classic, of course, goes back to 1933, covering all but 13 years of the live-ball era.
Going back to 1933, Abreu's 29 home runs before the All-Star break rank second-best among all rookies, trailing only the 33 that Mark McGwire hit for the Oakland Athletics in 1987, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
McGwire finished that season with 49 home runs, setting a rookie record that stands to this day. With 29 home runs through his team's first 96 games, Abreu is on pace to match McGwire, despite spending time on the disabled list in late May and early June.
On a per-game basis, Abreu has bested McGwire, homering once every 2.83 games. "Big Mac" logged 151 contests as a rookie in '87, hitting one out every 3.08 games.
McGwire also had the advantage of some previous big-league experience, as he logged 58 plate appearances in 1986, falling well short of the threshold needed to lose rookie eligibility. Therein lies the distinction between "first-year players" and "rookies," as Abreu qualifies as both while McGwire was merely a rookie in 1987.
Of course, McGwire was also only 23 years old at the start of the '87 season while Abreu turned 27 in January.
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