When White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu steps in between the white lines of an MLB diamond, he is motivated by one thing: his mother, Daysi.
There is little doubt that she is proud of what her son accomplished in this pandemic-shortened 60 game season, as he won his first MVP award, claiming 21 first place votes, and 374 points in the balloting.
It’s the first time a White Sox player has won the AL MVP award since Hall of Fame 1B Frank Thomas won back-to-back MVPs in 1993-94, and the fifth time overall that a White Sox player has taken home that award, joining Thomas, Dick Allen (1972) and Nellie Fox (1959).
He led the AL in RBI with 60 in 60 games played, leading the AL in RBI for the second consecutive season. His 19 dingers were second in the AL, and he was fourth in batting average, hitting .317 on the season.
His consistent excellence at the plate was bolstered by a noticeable improvement with the glove, even though he wasn’t named a Gold Glove finalist. But his value extended off the field, as well.
He’s long been considered a mentor to young Sox stars like Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Yoan Moncada.
Even James McCann, no slouch with the bat himself, took note of Abreu’s work ethic early on this season, telling MLB Network of a late-night batting cage session he witnessed Abreu taking part in long after an early-season game. It appeared the extra work, given the results.
It all culminated with the Sox making the playoffs for the first time in Abreu’s career. He was solid, hitting .286 in the three-game series loss to Oakland with one home run and two runs batted in.
One has to think that this brief taste of postseason baseball isn’t enough, that he won’t rest until he has a ring on his finger.
He’s got two more years left on his 3-year, $50 million deal he signed prior to the 2020 season, and he’ll be counted on for more production.
The question now becomes: can he produce with the weight of expectations on him, and his team?
Well, Pito Patter, let’s get at ‘er…