José Dariel Abreu
From BR Bullpen
José Dariel Abreu Correa
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 258 lb.
 Biographical Information
José Dariel Abreu set a Cuban home run record in 2010-2011 and was named league MVP.
He had played five seasons in the Cuban Serie Nacional through 2007-2008, hitting .295 and slugging .467. After 48 games in 2008-2009, he was batting .345/~.368/.600, earning the infielder a spot on Cuba's provisional roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He did not make the final cut and finished the season with a .346/.441/.630 batting line. He led the 2008-2009 Serie Nacional with 30 times hit by pitch. He tied Yenier Bello and Alexander Guerrero for 8th in homers (19), was 8th in slugging and 4th in strikeouts (69).
Abreu was 2 for 10 in the 2009 World Port Tournament, backing up Ariel Borrero at first base. In the 2009 Baseball World Cup, he hit .250/.333/.469 in his first major tournament. He was listed in the IBAF's Final Report as being one of the All-Star outfielders alongside teammate Alfredo Despaigne and Jon Weber, but other sources list Puerto Rico's Miguel Abreu, who had better statistics. He was not even used as a starter in the outfield, playing alongside Ariel Borrero at first. In the Gold Medal game, he did not appear as Borrero saw the action.
In 2009-2010, Abreu had his best year yet, hitting .399/.555/.822 with 82 runs, 30 homers, 76 RBI and 74 walks to 49 strikeouts in 89 games. He tied Leonys Martin for 6th in the Serie Nacional in runs, tied for third with 25 doubles, tied Yulieski Gourriel for second in home runs (one behind Alfredo Despaigne in a to-the-wire home run race), was third with 235 total bases (behind Despaigne and Gourriel), again led with 30 times hit by pitch, tied Enrique Esteban Díaz for 4th in walks, led with 32 intentional walks (12 more than runner-up Yosvany Peraza), was second in average (.005 behind Despaigne), led in slugging (.008 over Despaigne) and probably led in OBP. He was named the All-Star first baseman.
Abreu was Cuba's starting first baseman when they won the 2010 Intercontinental Cup, their first Gold in an international tournament in three years. He hit .292/.320/.500. In the finale, he went 1 for 3 and scored the first run in the victory over the Dutch national team; he doubled off Rob Cordemans in the third and came home on a Yorbis Borroto hit. He helped Cuba finish second at the 2010 Pan American Games Qualifying Tournament. In the 2010 World University Championship, he posted the best average by going 10 for 18 with 2 walks, a double, triple, four homers, 9 runs and 12 RBI in six games as Cuba won the Gold. He was 0 for 4 in the finale, as Cuba edged Team USA. He was named the event's All-Star 1B.
José continued to improve in 2010-2011 with one of the greatest seasons in Cuban history. He hit .453/.597/.986 with 79 runs, 93 RBI and 33 home runs in only 66 games. Despite missing 23 games due to bursitis in his shoulder, he broke Despaigne's home run record (as did Yoennis Céspedes - both hit their 33rd on the season's last day). Despaigne would reclaim the record a year later. Abreu led the league in average (.052 over Michel Enriquez), slugging (a whopping .212 over runner-up Frederich Cepeda), intentional walks (21) and homers (tied with Yoennis Céspedes), was second in RBI (6 behind Céspedes), tied for 8th in runs with Donal Duarte, was 7th in total bases (209) and 4th in times hit by pitch (21). Had he not been injured, he would have likely easily won a Triple Crown. He won Serie Nacional MVP. He was the second MVP from Cienfuegos, following Pedro José Rodríguez, Sr. by 31 years.
He was the All-Star first baseman in the 2011 Baseball World Cup, hitting .442/.478/.721 with 3 home runs and 10 runs in 11 games. He beat out Donald Lutz, Matt Clark, Willie Vasquez and Baseball World Cup MVP Curt Smith among others for that honor. Entering the final day of competition, he was second to Rusney Castillo in slugging, third in average (behind Castillo and Dwight Britton) and tied for second in home runs (with Tommy Mendonca, Lutz, Clark, Fernando Seguignol and Smith, behind Vasquez). In the Gold Medal game, though, he was 0 for 3 with a hit-by-pitch against Rob Cordemans and David Bergman in an upset 2-1 loss to the Dutch national team.
Abreu remained dominant in the 2011 Pan American Games, hitting .524/.561/1.048 with 3 home runs, 5 runs and 9 RBI in five games, with great performances almost every time out. He hit a 2-run homer in a 5-4 win over Venezuela, was a triple shy of the cycle in a 9-5 romp over eventual champion Canada, went 3 for 4 with a walk in a 12-10 loss to Team USA and went deep off Mexico's Walter Silva as Cuba beat the hosts in the Bronze Medal game.
Abreu hit .394/.542/.837 with 75 walks, 22 HBP, 35 home runs, 71 runs and 99 RBI in 87 games for Cienfuegos in 2011-2012. He tied the Cuban record by homering in six straight games. When he hit home run #35, he tied Despaigne for a new Cuban record, but Despaigne hit #36 before the season ended to again rob Abreu of that record. He did finish among the league leaders in numerous departments: runs (7th, between Ramón Lunar and Alexander Malleta), home runs (2nd, one behind Despaigne, 13 ahead of #3 Gourriel), total bases (236, 2nd, 3 behind Despaigne), average (1st, .024 ahead of Danel Castro), slugging (1st, a whopping 142 points ahead of Despaigne), RBI (2nd, 6 behind Despaigne), hit-by-pitch (1st, one ahead of Pavel Quesada), walks (5th, between Ramón Tamayo and Enrique Esteban Díaz), OBP (1st) and intentional walks (33, 1st). He was named the All-Star first baseman though Despaigne got the MVP despite a lower OPS.
Abreu produced at a .382/.535/.735 clip with 13 home runs, 37 runs, 36 RBI and 37 walks in 42 games in 2012-2013 (Cuba drastically shortened their regular season that year). He tied Irait Chirino for second in runs (two behind David Castillo), led in home runs (two ahead of Despaigne), led in total bases (100, 5 ahead of Peraza), was third in RBI (behind Peraza and Malleta), was 4th in walks (after Frederich Cepeda, Despaigne and Joan Carlos Pedroso), tied for second in intentional walks (14), was second in average (.011 behind José Miguel Fernández) and led in slugging (66 points ahead of Despaigne). He was the All-Star first baseman, but the MVP went to Ismel Jiménez, the first pitcher to win in 11 years.
In the 2013 World Baseball Classic, the 26-year-old slugger was 9 for 25 with a walk, double, 3 home runs, 6 runs and 9 RBI in six games. He hit a grand slam off China's Yu Liu and a 2-run homer off Taiwan's Yi-Cheng Wang. In Cuba's last game, with a spot in the semifinals at stake, he had mixed results in a 7-6 loss to the Netherlands. He hit a solo homer off Orlando Yntema then singled off Shairon Martis in the 8th. In the 9th, though, he came up with two on and two out against Loek van Mil and flew out to Kalian Sams. For the tournament, he tied Despaigne for the most home runs, tied Mike Aviles for second in RBI (one behind David Wright) and tied Andrelton Simmons for second with 19 total bases (6 behind MVP Robinson Canó). Among players with 5+ games, he was 5th in slugging, between Canó and Chris Colabello. Despite far worse numbers, Edwin Encarnación was picked as the Classic All-Star first baseman.
 Related Sites
- 2009 World Port Tournament
- 2009 Baseball World Cup
- 2010 World University Championship
- 2010 Intercontinental Cup
- 2011 Pan American Games
- World Baseball Classic
- Article on Abreu's defection