José Abreu’s up and down start to the season gave way to an eye-popping August. For that performance, the White Sox’ veteran leader has won AL Player of the Month.
Major League baseball announced its August winners on Thursday, Abreu claiming his award with a .330/.382/.661 slash line. He led the American League with 74 total bases. Abreu also hit 10 home runs, logging double-digit homers in a month for the fifth time in his career.
Abreu is finding his rhythm as the White Sox make their final push toward the postseason. Entering play Thursday, the team sat in first place in the AL Central with a 10-game lead.
“I was swinging at too many pitches out of the strike zone,” Abreu said of his early struggles, through team translator Billy Russo. “Now, I’ve been more selective and swinging at pitches that are strikes. That’s why I’ve been having the success I have right now.”
This month, Abreu also reached the 100 RBI mark for the sixth time in his career and leads the league with 102 RBI this season. With a month left in the regular season, Abreu is on pace to rival his career high of 123 RBI.
“He does so many things that make him a good RBI guy,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “Handles the pitcher's pitches, uses the whole field. The most important thing, you know what it is? He knows what the score is, and he's trying to help his team win. And that's the purest motivation there is, and that's the best. Because that never changes."
La Russa said he has also seen Abreu’s influence on young hitters like Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert, pointing to Robert’s improved plate discipline.
“You don't get RBIs just because you go to bat 600 times,” The Hall of Fame manager said. “It's a skill, and (Abreu is) one of the elite run producers in the history of the game."