Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu has been a force at the plate during his rookie season, piling up 15 homers through 42 games, a mark that has only been bested by one player in major league history, per MLB Stat of the Day.
Wally Berger, who would go on to play 11 seasons, set the record by hitting 17 homers in the first 42 games of his career back in 1930 for the Boston Braves.
Joining Abreu in second place are Wally Joyner (1986) and Kevin Maas (1990), both of whom also hit 15 homers through 42 career games. Joyner went on to have a solid 16-year career, but never quite lived up to the promise of the first two months of his rookie season. Maas fared much worse, lasting just five seasons in the major leagues and retiring with 1,248 career at-bats.
The White Sox are hoping Abreu will go on to bigger and better things, as each of his historical predecessors ultimately failed to match the initial hype.
The Cuban first baseman should buck the trend, as his raw power is nearly unmatched in today's game, with the obvious exception of Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. Abreu's 38.5 percent home run-per-fly-ball rate (HR/FB) may not be sustainable, but a figure north of 25 percent isn't unheard of for a player with tremendous strength and bat speed.
Stanton owns a career 25 percent HR/FB rate, despite playing his home games in pitcher-friendly Marlins Park. Abreu, on the other hand, gets to rake at U.S. Cellular Field, and figures to benefit from the short fences for years to come.
Whether he'll become a superstar or something a bit less remains to be seen, but there's little question that the White Sox have found an intimidating middle-of-the-order presence for years to come.
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