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Abreu vs. Hosmer: Battle for the Silver Slugger

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A close battle for the top offensive award at first base.

MLB: Texas Rangers at Chicago White Sox Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

As a White Sox fan if you're tired of the draft position race and need something else to root for in the season's final two weeks, pay attention to the Silver Slugger battle at first base. At the All-Star game, Jose Abreu was behind Justin Smoak, Yonder Alonso, and Logan Morrison in offensive performance. Making Abreu be a fan at the festivities instead of a participant. After a good but not great start to 2017, Jose Abreu has emerged back to his 2014 play in the second half hitting .320/.374/.606 since the All-Star game with a 152 wRC+.

That rapid rise has pushed Abreu to pass Smoak, Alonso, and Morrison in overall offensive performance season to date. After Saturday's game, Abreu ranks high in all of the AL first baseman offensive categories:

Average: 2nd

On-Base Percentage: 7th

Slugging: 1st

wRC+: 1st

Home Runs: 4th

RBI: 1st

Doubles: 1st

Triples: 1st

Runs: 1st

Hits: 2nd

These rankings build a great resume for Abreu to earn his second career Silver Slugger award. However, Abreu has stiff competition with Kansas City's, Eric Hosmer.

Eric Hosmer vs. Jose Abreu

Off. Category Eric Hosmer Jose Abreu
Off. Category Eric Hosmer Jose Abreu
Batting Avg. 0.324 0.307
OBP 0.390 0.359
Slugging 0.509 0.556
wRC+ 138 140
wOBA 0.383 0.380
ISO 0.187 0.250
BABIP 0.359 0.333
wRAA 32.3 31.4
Hits 180 177
Runs 89 90
Doubles 29 38
Triples 1 6
Home Runs 24 31
RBI 87 95
Walks 62 33
Strikeouts 99 110
Stats since 9/16/2017.

The differences with the advanced metrics are very slim and demonstrate a difference in approach. Hosmer is displaying decent power with a high contact rate, while Abreu is slugging his way to the top while sprinkling in some singles here and there. Even though the Silver Slugger is awarded to the best offensive player at each position, trying to use WAR to break a tie is fruitless.

Hosmer vs. Abreu WAR

Player bWAR fWAR WARP
Player bWAR fWAR WARP
Jose Abreu 4.3 3.9 3.8
Eric Hosmer 4.0 4.1 3.6
WAR since 9/16/2017

Hosmer has more to play for than Abreu as the Royals are still trying to make it in the postseason, and he's trying to parlay this season to a big payday in free agency. One can only imagine how many extra millions super agent Scott Boras would add to Hosmer's price tag if he earns the honor, which would be his first. Perhaps those two things will help him rise his game and pass Abreu in more offensive categories.

Which, at the moment, Hosmer will need to do because Abreu should have the slight advantage thanks to being the best slugging AL first baseman. When Abreu won the award in 2014, he won the slash line triple crown for AL first baseman and almost the standard triple crown with only Miguel Cabrera driving in two more runs (Cabrera: 109 RBI / Abreu: 107 RBI). Those numbers made it a slam dunk decision in Abreu's favor, but if he wants to win the honor for the second time, he'll need to continue his strong second-half surge to withstand Hosmer.