White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu has won the American League Most Valuable Player Award for 2020, as voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez and Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu were the other finalists for the honor.
The 33-year-old Abreu has been an easily above-average hitter in the majors since he emigrated from Cuba before the 2014 season, though his contributions didn’t lead to much team success through the 2019 campaign. But the White Sox, knowing Abreu was a key piece of the puzzle, made the shrewd move to extend him for three years and $50MM last offseason, rather than let him depart in free agency.
Abreu repaid the White Sox in the first season of his new deal with a brilliant .317/.370/.617 line across 262 plate appearances. Among AL position players, he finished first in bWAR (2.8), second in home runs (19) and wRC+ (167), and third in fWAR (2.6). Abreu’s production helped the Sox to their first playoff berth since 2008, though the team fell to Oakland in the wild-card round. Beyond the bottom-line numbers, you can’t discount Abreu’s leadership, as he is regarded as one of the most respected clubhouse presences in baseball.
Abreu earned 21 of 30 first-place votes for the award. Ramirez came in second ahead of LeMahieu, while Indians right-hander Shane Bieber and three-time MVP-winning Angels center fielder Mike Trout rounded out the top five.