To call the White Sox’s Jose Abreu an RBI machine may be a bit of an understatement. While his batting average may not always be as high as Sox fans would like, the man keeps on driving in runs. Abreu is unquestionably the leader of this team, notwithstanding the high-energy Tim Anderson. Abreu is the gift that keeps on giving, and his numbers tell a pretty amazing story.
On Sunday afternoon, Abreu hit a two-run double against the crosstown rival Cubs to give him 101 RBIs for the season. He now leads all of MLB in RBIs. Boston third baseman Rafael Devers is next closest with 96 RBIs, while Kansas City’s Salvador Perez, Tampa Bay’s Austin Meadows, and Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. round out the top five. Abreu has come alive in August, having driven in 24 runs in the month, with one game remaining.
Abreu No Stranger To Ruling The Roost
Leading baseball, and specifically the American League is nothing new for the White Sox Cuban-born slugger. In 2019, Abreu lead the AL with 123 RBIs. In that season, Jorge Soler of the Royals and Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox tied for second with 117, while Devers ended up with 116. Additionally, Abreu finished three RBIs behind the Nationals’ Anthony Rendon, who led all MLB with 126 RBIs in 2019.
Abreu followed up his 2019 season with stunning numbers in the shortened 2020 season. Abreu drove in 60 runs in 60 games, an incredible pace to be sure. Yes, it was a peculiar season, and as such, must be understood in context. Still, averaging an RBI per game is an outstanding feat. New York’s Luke Voit, Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez, Los Angeles’ Mike Trout, and Devers rounded out the top five in the AL in 2020.
RBIs were not the only area in which Jose Abreu excelled in 2020. He also lead the AL in hits, slugging and total bases. He had a career-high OPS of .987, helping lead the White Sox to their first playoff berth in 12 years. For his efforts, Abreu was named the AL Most Valuable Player in 2020. He has carried the ability to drive in runs to 2021, and Sox fans could not be happier. The unofficial captain continues to lead the way as the Sox look to advance in the playoffs.
A Look At The Career Of Jose Abreu
Looking at the career of Jose Abreu to date, the last three seasons are essentially a continuation of the beginning for Abreu. From 2014 through 2017, Abreu drove in at least 100 runs each season. While he did not top 110 in any of those years, he has been a model of consistency throughout his career. In 2018, injuries limited Abreu to 128 games an hampered his hitting much of the season. Still, even in a down, short year, he collected 78 RBIs, marking the lowest output of his career. The rebound in 2019 to 123 RBIs indicate just how fierce a competitor Abreu is. He truly has been an RBI machine.
Looking Ahead: The Search For October Success
So what does all of this portend for Abreu and the South Siders when the playoffs roll around? That is a great question, and one that will be answered in the next two months. As mentioned, Abreu has had a red-hot August, and shows no signs of slowing down. Abreu has generally finished well in September, so he just may drive in 125-130 runs in 2021. He certainly has a good shot at leading the AL for the third consecutive season. If he does that, it is quite possible that the Pale Hose can get on a roll heading into the postseason.
The biggest advantage Abreu has going for him is the return of three hitters from injuries. Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, and Yasmani Grandal have all returned from serious injuries, easing the burden on Abreu to carry the offense. With the burden lifted, Abreu becomes even more dangerous, as he becomes more selective at the plate. Additionally, the presence of other solid hitters will offer him protection, and he may get more pitches to hit. It is going to be fun to see how this all plays out.
No matter how things turn out, Jose Abreu must be recognized as an elite run producer. He is on pace to lead the AL three years in a row, as well as leading all MLB in RBIs over a three-year period. He may have his detractors, but the numbers don’t lie. When it comes to driving in runs, nobody has done it better than Jose Abreu over the last three years. Hopefully, for the White Sox, the whole baseball world will get a chance in October to see just how good he is at driving in runs. He is just an RBI machine.
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