CHICAGO -- José Abreu has been living an award-winning offseason.
The White Sox first baseman won the 2020 American League MVP Award and was named the 2020 AL Hank Aaron Award winner on Tuesday. On Wednesday night, the veteran was selected as the Second Team representative at first base on the second annual All-MLB squad.
How did Abreu finish second, you might ask, with his stellar statistics? Well, he was runner-up to Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman, a worthy overall selection and the 2020 National League MVP. But Abreu always has worried more about the process in getting to these lofty results.
“I just try to do what I think is the best that I can do and to always do the thing that I think is the correct thing to do. It was as simple as that,” Abreu said through interpreter Billy Russo during a Zoom call after winning the AL MVP. “My mom always taught me to have respect for everybody and to keep things simple, to take care of things that you can take care of and just let go the things that you can't control.
“This year was about that. Take control of things I could control, to work hard and do the things I know that I can do.”
Abreu has had seven outstanding seasons since coming to Chicago from Cuba, but this abbreviated 60-game campaign might have been his best. The 33-year-old, who came to Spring Training in the best shape of his life after agreeing to a three-year, $50 million deal to stay in Chicago last offseason, led the AL for a second straight season in RBIs, with 60 over 60 games.
He finished second in the AL with 19 home runs and fourth with a .317 average. Abreu also ranked fifth with a .987 OPS and was the only AL player to rank in the top five in hits (76, first), RBIs, slugging percentage (.617, first), extra-base hits (34, first), total bases (148, first), home runs, average and OPS.
“Well, you know, the guy works his [butt] off,” White Sox hitting coach Frank Menechino said of Abreu. “The sky's the limit. You can never put an age on anything. As long as a guy is willing to adjust his workouts and keep himself in top shape and being able to run it out there every day, I don't see why he can't play at that level for as long as he does the work.”
The selection process for the All-MLB Team started in early November, with 50% of the vote coming from fans and 50% coming from a panel of experts. Fans were able to vote once every 24 hours until Nov. 13. White Sox starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel, left fielder Eloy Jiménez and closer Alex Colomé also were finalists at their respective positions.