As the White Sox season winds down, Abreu & Anderson chase hitting milestones
CHICAGO – The third season of the rebuild is winding down at Guaranteed Rate Field this week, and while there are no playoffs to speak of in 2019, there’s been progress from some of the White Sox young core players.
It’s something that’s brought a little optimism to the south side as the team deals with three difficult years of retooling the team. Continued improvement from players like Lucas Giolito, Eloy Jimenez, and Yoan Moncada has some harboring hopes for a postseason a year from now.
To a degree, that includes first baseman Jose Abreu and shortstop Tim Anderson. They’re hardly rookies, but they’ve got a few years of major league experience with the White Sox under their belts. If all goes to plan, and Abreu is offered a new contract as expected, the two have set themselves up to lead the 2020 team after some good play this current season.
In fact, each player has a chance to lead the American League or all of Major League Baseball in a particular category.
In what has been a breakthrough year for the shortstop, one in which he was named the AL Player of the Month in April, Anderson right now is leading all of Major League Baseball in hitting with a .334 average. At the moment, that is ahead of the Brewers’ Christian Yelich (out with injury) and Ketel Marte, who are each hitting .329 on the season.
After missing the majority of July, Anderson has been on a tear in August and September, hitting .355 since returning from the ankle injury. That includes a .372 average in the month of September with four homers and nine RBI.
If he can lead the league in hitting, he’d be only the second player to do so in White Sox history, with Luke Appling leading the majors with a .388 average in 1936. Appling led the American League in hitting in 1943 and Frank Thomas did the same in 1997.
Meanwhile, Abreu is currently leading the American League in RBI with 121 with five games remaining in the season. At the moment, he sits seven ahead of Boston’s Rafael Devers for the league lead and is three behind Anthony Rendon of the Nationals for the overall lead.
If he can hold on, Abreu would become just the third player in White Sox history to lead the American League in RBI, joining Dick Allen in 1972 and Gus Zernial in 1951. The latter was actually traded to the Philadelphia Athletics midway through the season in a deal that brought White Sox legend Minnie Minoso to the team.
They’re a pair of storylines for fans to root for these final five games, providing more hope that the immediate future is bright for the White Sox.