Jose Abreu, the $68-million Cuban import who stepped into the Chicago White Sox’ cleanup spot on his first day in the major leagues and dominated thereafter, was a unanimous selection Monday as American League rookie of the year.
Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker was second in the voting and New York Yankees pitcher Dellin Betances finished third.
New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom won the NL rookie of the year, followed in the voting by Cincinnati Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton and St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolton Wong.
That Shoemaker finished so highly was a victory in itself for a pitcher who did not join the Angels’ rotation to stay until June. He still set an Angels rookie record by winning 16 games -- including six in August, when he was selected as the league’s pitcher of the month.
Shoemaker, 28, is two years older than the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, who is expected to win his third National League Cy Young Award on Wednesday. Shoemaker was not drafted out of Eastern Michigan University. The Angels signed him as a free agent for $10,000, and he spent parts of five seasons pitching for their triple-A Salt Lake affiliate.
Shoemaker, optioned to Salt Lake in April and again in May, emerged as a star in an Angels rotation hampered by season-ending injuries to Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs and the inconsistency of C.J. Wilson and Hector Santiago. Shoemaker finished 16-4 with a 3.04 earned-run average, with 24 walks and 124 strikeouts.
After the All-Star break, as Shoemaker cemented his spot in the rotation, he went 9-2 with a 1.87 ERA, including a streak of 23 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings.
Abreu, a 27-year-old first baseman, batted .317 with 36 home runs and 107 runs batted in, the first rookie ever to rank among the top five in his league in each Triple Crown category. Abreu led the major leagues with a .581 slugging percentage.
Betances, 26, went 5-0 with a 1.40 ERA in 90 innings, the most among AL relievers. He struck out 135, breaking Mariano Rivera’s record for Yankees relievers, and held opponents to a .149 batting average. Betances set up David Robertson last season and could replace him as the Yankees’ closer next season; Robertson rejected a qualifying offer from the Yankees on Monday.
DeGrom, who didn’t earn a win until his eighth start, had a record of 9-6 with a 2.69 ERA.