Sox Reporter

Hahn: Abreu deserves Gold Glove hype in addition to MVP talk

Sox Reporter

Tired: Stumping for José Abreu for American League MVP.

Wired: Stumping for José Abreu for a Gold Glove.

Did I do that right?

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Well, regardless of this writer's attempt at some cultural relevancy, there's momentum building for a Gold Glove campaign for the White Sox first baseman, at least in the team's front office, where the general manager spent some time during his lengthy media session Friday touting the defensive prowess of the guy who might just be the current front runner for AL MVP honors.

"He’s having an offensive year similar to what we’ve seen before," Rick Hahn said of the uber-consistent Abreu. "The one area that may be getting overlooked given all the offensive production is how strong he’s been defensively. I think he’s a very legitimate candidate for a Gold Glove, much less the Silver Slugger and MVP talk.

"He made that a priority. It’s not going to shock you guys that he was aware that he could improve in that area and came into camp focused on making himself better there. Not only have we seen it in our eyes, but it's obviously shown up in some of the objective evaluations of his defensive performance this year. That’s probably the one element of his game that we hadn’t seen previously at this sort of elite level like we have this year."

 

To the eye, it certainly has seemed like Abreu has been much improved at first base. He's made a lot of very nice plays, be it snagging hard-hit ground balls or starting double plays.

If you're more statistically inclined, defensive stats vary greatly on how good Abreu has been. He leads all qualified big league first baseman in Defensive Runs Saved, his 7 a bigger number than the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo, who's won three Gold Gloves in the last four years on the National League side, as well as the Oakland Athletics' Matt Olson, who's won each of the last two in the AL.

At the same time, no first baseman in baseball has made as many errors as Abreu, who has five on the season, the same number as the Cincinnati Reds' Joey Votto. Olson is one of two qualified AL first baseman with zero errors and a 1.000 fielding percentage. According to Fangraphs, Abreu has negative 5.8 defensive WAR, the second lowest defensive WAR of any qualified first baseman in baseball (only Votto's is lower).

So the folks who determine such a thing are going to have a decision ahead of them. But that we're even talking about Abreu's defense as a positive and not a potential negative says something. Just another way in which he's helped carry his team during this MVP-caliber campaign.

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