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    Thursday, June 15, 2023

    Jose Abreu’s Career Is Even Greater Than the Sum of 1500 Hits

    If you were watching Tuesday’s night’s game against the Nationals, you might have caught a neat milestone: José Abreu collected his 1500th career hit (as well as his 1501st, but that one doesn’t end in a 0, so it got a smaller call-out). Abreu is 21st among active Major Leaguers in hits and, at the halfway point to 3000, stands somewhere in the mid-600s all-time. His start with the Astros hasn’t been the best, and while I hope he manages to turn it around, it’s still cool to appreciate a big moment like that!

    Of course, that also got me thinking… Abreu’s path to the majors has been very non-standard. For those that don’t know, his 2014 Rookie of the Year campaign came at the relatively late age of 27, thanks to Abreu being born in Cuba. In fact, he was a ten-year veteran of the Cuban National Series before defecting after the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

    And players like that, with interesting and unique careers, have always fascinated me. I actually wrote about another one like that a few years ago, Astros’ unlikely batting champ and postseason hero Yuli Gurriel. And before that, I took a deep look at Hiroki Kuroda, who was much better than you might remember (or might have ever realized at the time!).

    I had always thought about doing that for another player down the line, and Abreu always seemed like one of the favorites. So I thought, in honor of Jose Abreu’s 1500th hit, why not go back and take a look at his total career? For basically all of this, I’ll be pulling from Baseball-Reference’s extensive library of foreign league stats.