The 2018 season was not very good to the Chicago White Sox and the team’s 100 losses proved it.
But, White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu had a very good year. His Silver Slugger Award proved it.
The MLB announced the Silver Slugger Awards on Thursday night. The power-hitting first baseman won his second hitting award in his five-year MLB career.
Abreu was in good company, especially in the AL. Mike Trout won his sixth award and Jose Altuve won his fifth. But, the most amazing part of the awards ceremony was J.D. Martinez winning two awards: one for slugging as a DH and one for slugging as an outfielder.
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Abreu’s first Silver Slugger was much deserved. In 2014 – his rookie season – he hit a slash of .317/.383/.581. He led the league in slugging percentage and in OPS+ at 173. He hit 35 doubles and 36 home runs. While he’s never reached that home run number again, he has remained consistent in his doubles numbers.
In 2018, his numbers weren’t as good. He hit .265/.325/.473 with 36 doubles and 22 home runs. His OPS+ was nowhere near his 2014 numbers: 118.
As first base statistics go, it was a slow year in the AL. When looking at first base numbers in the MLB as a whole, the top 10 in slugging percentage is poorly represented by AL players. Seven of the top ten are NL players. Abreu, Justin Smoak of the Blue Jays, and Matt Olson were the only AL players in the top ten. Abreu ranked fifth, Smoak was eighth, and Olson was tenth. The top three according to slugging percentage were Jesus Aguilar, Paul Goldschmidt, and Freddy Freeman.
It’s easy to figure out why Abreu won the Silver Slugger, but Goldschmidt’s route to the award is not as clear. Aguilar of the Brewers had more home runs, RBIs, and a better slugging percentage. Aguilar also had fewer strikeouts, but he also had fewer at-bats. Goldschmidt had more doubles and a better batting average and on-base percentage.
Congratulations to Jose Abreu for having such a successful season at the plate. He managed to outperform the rest of the men who play first base despite having so many injuries throughout the season. Hopefully, Abreu will win many more awards while wearing a White Sox uniform.