Monday afternoon, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America shared the finalists for their annual awards across the American and National Leagues. After a successful season on the field, the Chicago White Sox now have found themselves as finalists for some of those awards. They include Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, and American League MVP honors.
2020 AL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year
Luis Robert was arguably the most exciting thing in baseball in 2020. Robert notched two hits in his debut and would not cool off for almost six weeks. During August, his hot hitting found himself at the top of several offensive categories which would land him American League Rookie of the Month honors. He leads all rookies in home runs (9) and RBI (20) during August and even posted a 1.015 OPS in the process. Unfortunately for Robert, he would go on to hit a wall in September and could hardly squeeze out any hits. Once the postseason started, he did manage to hit .308 over 13 postseason at-bats with two runs, a home run, and two RBIs.
Robert finished the year hitting .233 with 33 runs, 8 doubles, 11 home runs, 31 RBIs, 9 stolen bases, 20 walks, 73 strikeouts, and a 101 OPS+ over the course of 227 plate appearances.
There was more to Robert than just his hitting as he was very active in the outfield. Robert played all 56 of his games in centerfield but at times he found himself covering the whole outfield. That would explain his league-leading 151 putouts in the outfield. He was aggressive and flashy. According to Baseball-Reference, his 1.0 Defensive WAR led all rookies in either league (and was ninth best across MLB generally.)
José Abreu was the last White Sox player to win AL Rookie Year. He won in 2014.
The winner will be announced on November 9 at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network.
2020 AL Manager of the Year
Recently-departed manager of the Chicago White Sox, Ricky Renteria, has been named as a finalist for AL Manager of the Year. Renteria managed the Sox for four seasons before being replaced this past week for former manager Tony La Russa.
During his time on the southside, Renteria saw three straight losing seasons with one consisting of 100 losses. Despite how some feel about his lineup construction and bullpen decisions, his players gravitated toward him. Some even pushed and promoted the phrase and idea that “Rickey’s Boys Don’t Quit.” This certainly had some truth behind it as the team over went from years of rebuilding to finding themselves near the top.
Renteria oversaw three struggling seasons before a 35-25 record that found the White Sox in the postseason. This had not been done since 2008.
Ozzie Guillén was the last manager to win AL Manager of the Year back in 2008.
The winner will be announced on November 10 at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network.
2020 AL MVP finalists
Last November, José Abreu signed a $50 million deal to stay another three years with the Chicago White Sox. There were some mixed reviews but it was up to Abreu to prove which side was right.
White Sox baseball would not be the same without José Abreu and in 2020, he put the team on his back and led the charge while proving the doubters wrong. He played in all 60 possible regular-season games while playing some of his best baseball.
He slashed .317/.370/.617/.987 with 43 runs, 11 doubles, 19 home runs, 60 RBI, 18 walks, 59 strikeouts. He led the MLB in hits, runs batted in, slugging percentage, extra-base hits, and total bases while being near the top five in a few others.
Other highlights from the season include a career-best 22 game hit streak, six home runs in a three-game stretch, and being named AL Player of the Month for July/August.
His defense at first base showed signs of improvement as well. He lef the MLB with 430 putouts and was tied with Matt Olson and Carlos Santana with five Defensive Runs Saved among American League first baseman.
It has been 26 years since a White Sox player won AL MVP. Frank Thomas won it last back in 1994 for the second consecutive season.
The winner will be announced on November 12 at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network.
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