Now that the lockout has mercifully come to an end, it’s time to get back to baseball. The Chicago White Sox will be looking to not only defend their American League Central Division title but take home a World Series championship. In the process, 3 players could also be in the mix for Most Valuable Player honors.
Shohei Ohtani put together a season the likes of which haven’t been seen before when he took home the AL MVP award last year.
Should he be unable to duplicate that same effort, Luis Robert, Jose Abreu, and Tim Anderson have the talent to be right there to take his place.
The Chicago White Sox has three players that could win the AL MVP Award.
Robert’s talent level has been well documented and despite only playing 68 games last year, he showed that when he is in the lineup he is a force to reckon with. After finishing second in 2020 for Rookie of the Year and winning a Gold Glove, Robert looked like the type of player who could pull off what Kris Bryant did several years ago by following a ROY with an MVP the next season.
However, that opportunity was cut short due to a hip injury suffered in early May. In his first 25 games prior to the injury, Robert put up a slash line of .316./.359/.461. Following his return, Robert closed out the year .338/.378/.567 with 13 homers and 43 RBI.
Should he be able to duplicate his production from the back end of the year, Robert could be a serious contender for post-season awards.
Abreu already has an MVP award, albeit from the COVID shortened 2020 season. Nonetheless, during those 60 games, Abreu picked up a Silver Slugger award while leading the Major Leagues in RBI (60) and total bases (148), and the AL in games (60), hits (76), and slugging (.617). He also jacked 19 homers to go with a .317 batting average.
Last season, Abreu’s batting average dropped to a respectable .261 but belted 30 homers and drove in 117 RBI. Additionally, Abreu put together a solid year at first base where he posted a .995 fielding percentage and committed a career-low five errors.
At 35 years of age, Abreu is not showing any signs of slowing down and if he can put together similar hitting and fielding numbers while the team has another strong season, Abreu could see himself in the mix for his second MVP title.
Back in 2016, Cubs manager Joe Maddon told leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler that as he went, the team went. For the White Sox, the same could be said for its All-Star shortstop.
Anderson had put together yet another stellar season in ’21 as he hit over .300 for the third straight year (.309) while adding 17 homers and 61 RBI. Anderson’s performance at the top of the order is very formidable and sets the tone for a lineup loaded with big bats.
His 94 runs were the most of his career and his 163 hits were four shy of his career-high when he won the batting title. One area of criticism has been his defense but last season Anderson had his best year by posting a career-low 10 errors and a career-best .977 fielding percentage.
Anderson also brings an edge the team needs. Bat flips aside, he brings an attitude and aggressiveness that sets the tone for the team night in and night out. Should the team continue to feed off of that, big things could be in store this year.
Granted, as there is every year, there will be a number of players who will be in the mix for MVP honors. But for the White Sox, the window to win a title is open and if these three can perform up to capabilities, as the saying goes: “to the victors go the spoils”.