Jose Abreu is named the AL MVP, becoming just the 4th Chicago White Sox player to win the award

LaMond Pope, Chicago Tribune

Jose Abreu has been a leader on the field and in the clubhouse for the Chicago White Sox.

He has been a consistence source of production in the middle of the Sox lineup since he signed a six-year, $68 million free-agent deal in October 2013.

Now the first baseman is the American League Most Valuable Player.

Abreu was named the winner of the prestigious award Thursday in voting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, finishing with 374 points, including 21 of 30 first-place votes. Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez placed second with 303 points (eight first-place votes), and New York Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu was third with 240 points and one first-place vote.

Abreu, 33, joins Frank Thomas (1993-94), Dick Allen (1972) and Nellie Fox (1959) as the only Sox players to be named MVP.

Abreu played all 60 games in 2020, helping the Sox to their first playoff appearance since 2008. He slashed .317/.370/.617 with 15 doubles, 19 home runs, 60 RBIs, 148 total bases and 34 extra-base hits. He led the AL in hits, RBIs, slugging percentage, total bases and extra-base hits.

He’s the fourth player to lead the AL in hits and RBIs in the same season, joining Jim Rice (1979), Carl Yastrzemski (1967) and Lou Gehrig (1931). He also is the first qualifying player to finish with as many RBIs as games played since the Chicago Cubs' Sammy Sosa (160) and Indians' Juan Gonzalez (140) in 2001.

Abreu’s 2020 highlights included hitting six home runs in a three-game series against the Cubs on Aug. 21-23 at Wrigley Field. He homered three times Aug. 22. He also had a career-high 22-game hitting streak.

The day after the streak ended, he hit two three-run home runs and drove in seven in a Sept. 12 game against the Detroit Tigers.

Abreu, the AL Rookie of the Year in 2014 and a three-time All-Star, joins the Minnesota Twins' Zoilo Versalles (1965) and Oakland A’s Jose Canseco (1988) as Cuban natives to earn AL MVP honors, according to the Sox.

Abreu last week won his third Silver Slugger Award while shortstop Tim Anderson and left fielder Eloy Jimenez won their first, giving the Sox three Silver Slugger winners in the same season for the first time in franchise history.

Ramirez slashed .292/.386/.607 with 17 home runs and 46 RBIs in 58 games, helping the Indians tie the Sox for second place in the AL Central. He finished tied for first in the AL in runs (45).

LeMahieu led the AL with a .364 average and a .421 on-base percentage for the Yankees, who finished second in the AL East.

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