Chicago White Sox first baseman, Jose Abreu, is arguably the American League’s MVP in 2020.
On September 2nd, the MLB and Chicago White Sox announced that Jose Abreu would be taking home the A.L Player of Month award for August. Abreu ran through opposing pitchers in August batting .330 with 11 home runs and 29 runs driven in along with a 1.061 OPS to boot. On top of that he showed who the best first baseman in Chicago is by tying a major league record with four consecutive home runs against the Cubs.
This adds yet another piece to an already impressive resume which includes AL Rookie of the Year, two Silver Slugger awards, three player of the month awards, three All-Star appearances and five player of the week awards. The one thing it does not include is a playoff appearance, something Abreu is about to change this season.
Abreu has been extra clutch this season for the White Sox. According to FanGraphs six of his 11 home runs and 14 of his 29 RBI’s in the month of August came in the 7th inning or later. He currently leads the American League in hits and RBIs while cracking the top five in slugging percentage, home-runs and WAR. Simply put he is putting up MVP caliber numbers.
Those of us who have watched the White Sox for a long time should not be surprised. Jose Abreu has been a professional hitter ever since he entered the major leagues. He has hit over 30 homers and had 100 RBIs in three of his first four seasons while leading the league in RBIs in 2019. He was able to do it despite having no protection while anchoring a rebuilding lineup throughout his career. This is all while he is steadily improving his defense.
His value cannot simply be measured on the field. He is highly regarded by his teammates as a leader in the clubhouse carrying himself like a player manager. He has served as a mentor to players such as Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert. He helped his locker neighbor, Yoan Moncada, flourish into the Sox best overall hitter in 2019.
Eloy Jimenez looks up to him saying Jose is “like a father to him”. If it wasn’t for Abreu there is a good chance Robert wouldn’t even be on the south side as Abreu was an intrical part of recruiting him as a free agent after he defected from Cuba. He has even worked with newcomer Nomar Mazara to try and help him break out of his slump.
When Rick Hahn signed him in 2014, he knew he was getting a good player. He probably never realized what type of leader he would be getting. Without Abreu in the clubhouse do these young players develop the way they do? Is Robert lured to the White Sox? Is the White Sox offense as productive in 2020? The answer to all of these questions is probably not. On top of that, he was the face of the franchise during the rebuild and is now leading the team out of it.
Abreu embodies the South Side of Chicago. He has been here through very little thick and a whole lot of thin but never complains. He is tough,reliable, leads by example, is a tireless worker and shows up each day and produces. He was rewarded by the White Sox with a three year contract worth 50 million dollars. He has earned every penny because there is no telling where they would be without him. That is what makes him the most valuable player not only on the White Sox but the American League in 2020.