A look at José Abreu’s August

Few words better describe José Abreu’s month more than “ridiculous,” and his naming as August’s AL Player of the Month solidifies that statement. A span of time in which he racked up a .330 batting average, 11 HR, 29 RBI and 1.061 OPS, he quietly, though not so quietly when the ball hit off his bat, led the way for a month in which the White Sox went 19-9 and set a franchise record for most home runs in a month (52).

The story of the White Sox heading into 2020 revolved the cupboard of shiny young talent that was set to mark a new chapter in the franchise’s history. Be it new faces like Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal or familiar young faces expanding their recent success like Tim Anderson and Yoán Moncada, it was easy to get caught up in youngster hype (Cue the “Old Man Shakes at Cloud” meme). And no one should be blamed for that! This isn’t to say people forgot about Abreu amidst the hype around the Sox’s young players. It’s just that people… sort of forgot about Jose Abreu amidst the hype around the Sox’s young players.

White Sox first baseman José Abreu, via MLB.com

But that’s ok! Because the thought about Abreu was that he’d be who he’s always been: A reliable, anchor of the White Sox who’s a constant threat for power. That’s by no means an insulting way to look at a player.

But this past month, he showed how much more than that he is. He hit .533 during the White Sox’s seven-game winning streak in August with seven home runs, and in their three-game series against the Cubs, the final of which they lost, breaking their seven-game streak, he hit six home runs in 12 at-bats. Dating back to August 16, he’s had a hit in each of his last 15 games, including Tuesday night’s loss, and has a whopping 1.367 OPS in that time span. He was tied for second in baseball in RBIs and had the fifth-most home runs in August among players with at least 100 plate appearances, one shy of being tied for the lead. In his hitting streak, the White Sox are 12-3 and are humming along.

While Abreu racked up stats, so too did Luis Robert, who was named AL Rookie of the Month after leading all rookies in home runs with 10 and tacking on 148 wRC+. In that time, he also hit a walk-off home run and a game-tying home run, only to top off the latter of the two with a go-ahead double that won the White Sox the game. He’s been one of the Sox’s best players this year and one of baseball’s best rookies.

Abreu and Robert’s August runs came at an opportune time for the White Sox, who are now tied for first place in the AL Central after starting August off in fourth place (Albeit, only two games back of first in what was a tight and competitive AL Central). Along with their standout month came Fernando Tatís Jr. of the San Diego Padres, who won the NL Player of the Month, and that other Chicago team’s starting pitcher won the NL Pitcher of the Month.

They were the flavors of the month for August, and now Abreu and Robert’s White Sox are poised to make a run into the playoffs. With the way they’ve played, plus pitchers like Dallas Keuchel and Lucas Giolito, the ceiling is sky-high for the White Sox.