José Abreu, unsurprisingly, is a finalist for the American League MVP Award.
The White Sox first baseman was announced as one of three finalists for the game’s highest individual award Monday — along with New York Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu and Cleveland Indians third baseman José Ramírez — when the Baseball Writers’ Association of America unveiled its finalists for the four major end-of-season awards.
Abreu, who’s been one of the more productive hitters in the game since coming to the United States ahead of the 2014 season, had himself a career year in 2020. He led the Junior Circuit with 76 hits, 60 RBIs and a .617 slugging percentage; ranked second with 19 home runs; third with 43 runs scored; fourth with a .317 batting average; fifth with a .987 OPS; and in the top 10 with 15 doubles and a .370 on-base percentage.
Of course, the team-first Abreu was far more pleased with reaching the postseason for the first time in his major league career. Prior to 2020, he spent six losing seasons on the South Side, but that didn’t deter him one bit from re-signing with the team last offseason, a move he wanted to happen so badly he spent the 2019 campaign saying that if the White Sox didn’t re-sign him, he’d re-sign himself.
Perhaps no player has voiced their belief in the team’s bright future as full-throatedly as Abreu has. He has repeatedly expressed his confidence in the abilities of youngsters like Yoán Moncada, Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert, all three of whom he has taken under his wing as a mentor in the clubhouse. Abreu’s successful 2020 season at the plate was made all the more special in the White Sox view considering their opinion of him as a pillar of professionalism and a role model for their cadre of young stars in the making.
Abreu has accomplished an awful lot during his seven big league seasons, and an MVP Award would add to a resume that already includes a Rookie of the Year Award, a trio of All-Star appearances and placement on a host of all-time White Sox leaderboards. It would be no surprise, given not only the production but the mutual adoration shared between Abreu and the team, to see his number one day retired and a statue one day erected at Guaranteed Rate Field.
But the 33-year-old Abreu, who has two more years remaining on his current deal, is singularly focused on what he wants to accomplish next: He wants to be part of a championship White Sox team.
“My ultimate goal remains to help win a championship for the Chicago White Sox,” Abreu said after winning a Players' Choice Award last month. “That would be my greatest accomplishment and one that would make my family the proudest.”
The AL MVP will be announced Nov. 12. Should Abreu win, he’d be the White Sox first MVP since Frank Thomas won the second of his back-to-back MVP awards in 1994. Abreu would be just the fourth player in franchise history to win the award, joining Thomas (1993 and 1994), Nellie Fox (1959) and Dick Allen (1972).