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Backing into precious metals

José Abreu fends off exotic injuries, absent competition, to win his second Silver Slugger

Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox
Doubling Up: With the win, Abreu joins countryman Alexei Ramirez among White Sox with multiple Silver Slugger wins.
Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

In a development that frankly has much more to do with the dearth of thumpers at first base in the American League than it does the success of José Abreu’s 2018 season, the White Sox mainstay won his second Silver Slugger on Thursday.

The White Sox release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, November 8, 2018


CHICAGO – Chicago White Sox first baseman José Abreu has won his second career American League Silver SluggerTM Award.

The Silver SluggerTM Award, voted on by major-league managers and coaches, is presented by Louisville Slugger to honor the best offensive performers at every position in each league.

Abreu, 31, batted .265 (132-499) with 36 doubles, 22 home runs and 78 RBI over a career-low 128 games this season, his fifth with the White Sox. He ranked among AL first base leaders in doubles (1st), extra-base hits (T2nd, 59), average (3rd), slugging percentage (3rd, .473), total bases (4th, 236), OPS (4th, .798) and RBI (5th).

Abreu became the first player in Sox history to hit 20 or more home runs in each of his first five seasons, and he joined Albert Pujols (2001-10) and Ted Williams (1939-42, ‘46-49) as the only players in major-league history to record 30-plus doubles and 20-plus home runs in each of his first five seasons.

Abreu also became the first player in White Sox history to record 30-plus doubles in each of his first five seasons and joined Nolan Arenado, Matt Carpenter, Brian Dozier, Paul Goldschmidt and Christian Yelich as the only players who have hit 30 or more doubles every season since 2014. He was voted to his second career AL All-Star Team and was Chicago’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.

Abreu joins Carlton Fisk (1981,’85, ‘88), Frank Thomas (1991, ‘93-94, 2000), Magglio Ordoñez (2000, ‘02) and Alexei Ramírez (2010, ‘14) as the only players in Sox history to win multiple Silver SluggerTM Awards.

Unmentioned in the release is the other season in which Abreu took home a Silver Slugger: It was 2014, his rookie season.

The 2018 was almost across-the-board the weakest of Abreu’s five-year career, with worsts in nearly every significant statistical category. His bWAR of 1.7 is 1.0 WAR worse than his previous career low, in 2016.

Per MLB Trade Rumors estimates, Abreu is on track to make $16 million in arbitration this season, his last before hitting free agency.

Second base remains the only position at which the White Sox have never won a Silver Slugger.