Anderson or Abreu: Who's the real MVP?

September 15th, 2020

CHICAGO -- does not have a vote for the 2020 American League Most Valuable Player Award. But via social media, the White Sox shortstop lent his support to teammate .

That support came Sunday, when the White Sox tweeted about Abreu’s performance during a 14-0 victory Saturday that featured his four hits, a career-high five runs scored and a career-high-matching seven RBIs. Anderson retweeted that White Sox tweet from his personal account, adding a picture of a goat with “MVP” and a flexing muscle emoji.

“Pito [Abreu’s nickname], definitely, he deserves it,” Anderson said Monday. “You see the numbers. You see what he's doing.

“Every time there's a runner on, he's getting them in. And I couldn't be more proud to be right in the mix with him. He's definitely been playing his butt off, and he's been competing every night. I'm rooting for him. I hope he gets it.”

Abreu entered Monday’s American League Central home showdown with the second-place Twins leading the Majors with 48 RBIs to go with 15 home runs, 35 runs scored and a .980 OPS. But Anderson has also received rightful AL MVP consideration, topping the Majors with a .362 average, and tying for the AL lead with 39 runs scored in 36 games.

While Anderson calls the MVP talk “definitely pretty cool,” he said he would feel a part of the award even if Abreu wins.

“If he wins it, then I win it,” Anderson said. “We're all on the same team, so it's a win for both of us.”

“You've all heard a lot from the guys about José's leadership and what he means to some of the younger players, and TA not only being one of the high-energy driving forces behind this team but also one of the emerging faces of baseball,” said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn. “It's just fantastic and well-deserved for both of them.”

Anderson: Championships > statistics
Despite winning the batting title in 2019 with a Major League-high .335 average, Anderson knew the bar would be raised for him to repeat that success even in a shortened season. That challenge was fine by Anderson, who challenges himself more than any outside force.

Now, the true challenge for Anderson is to win as a team.

“You don’t get much from personal goals. You try to get something you can share with the squad,” Anderson said. “Championships, we remember way more than batting titles or whatever else comes with individual awards.

“So, I definitely want to get a championship. That’s the biggest thing. Forget those individual stats, I want a championship.”

That team-first attitude won’t diminish what Anderson accomplishes in a season cut back to 60 games due to COVID-19.

“These games still count. Let’s not get confused,” Anderson said. “Whether it’s 60 games or 162 games, let’s not forget you are competing at the highest level and that’s not easy to do.

“Let’s not take this for granted that I’m hitting what I’m hitting. I need a little respect,” added Anderson with a hearty laugh.

Third to first
• Monday marked the first September game between the White Sox and Twins when the two teams were tied in the standings or separated by one game since Game 163 of the 2008 season, known as the Blackout Game.

• Entering play Monday, closer had 21 saves in 23 opportunities at Guaranteed Rate Field since 2019. He had a 1.19 ERA and .134 opponents average against at home during that stretch.

, the White Sox super-utility player who had surgery to repair a severed ligament in his left thumb approximately one month ago, is progressing. The thought at the time of the surgery was García would be available for the postseason.

“He's doing well, he's healing,” manager Rick Renteria said. “I'm sure as he continues to be able to increase his activity, we will be mindful of how we continue to move him forward.”

He said it
“We're not taking any team for granted. We take every team seriously. We know that every team that we face is a challenge for us, and we're going to perform and do our best. That's just the way that we play the game, that's the way that Ricky has taught us how to play the game, and we're going to continue with that philosophy and that mindset.” -- third baseman , on the Twins series not being any different from others