(CBS) — The formality of the American League Rookie of the Year award announcement after 2014 is passé at this point.
José Abreu has now won three rookie of the month awards in four months. The 27-year-old Cuban defector has also won two AL player of the month awards, putting him in the conversation with Mike Trout for MVP consideration.
Abreu has become a better hitter for average, raising his batting average 30 points in the past month. Early in the season, Abreu was reluctant to talk about his accomplishments — but not so much as of late.
“It is difficult to talk about myself, ” Abreu admitted. “ It is a part of the game, we have to be professional and do our part.”
Abreu still leads the major leagues in home runs and RBIs, despite recently going through a mini-slump (0-for-7) after having gotten on base in all 10 of his previous at-bats. Part of the success Abreu has had is due to hard work –the rest is natural hitting ability.
“I am surprised,” Abreu said about the monster numbers he has put up. “I wasn’t expecting to have all of this success and all of these awards. I am very thankful to (a higher being) and will continue to work hard and work on my routines.”
Six years and $68 million for Abreu looks like another great bargain of a deal for the White Sox, who also have favorable long-term deals with top starters Chris Sale and Jose Quintana.
“I am feeling more and more comfortable,” Abreu said through a translator. “At the same time, I am able to concentrate a lot better and compete on a higher level.”
White Sox manager Robin Ventura has seen the top slugger in the game this season continue to improve on both offense and defense.
“He has had a great month; he has had a great year,” Ventura said. “He is a quality teammate, which makes receiving these awards better because all the guys are happy for him.”
With a higher on-base percentage and an increase in walks since the All-Star break, Abreu has taken his game to a higher level.
“Sometimes pitchers get you out, and sometimes hitters get themselves out,” Ventura said. “In José’s case, he doesn’t get himself out much anymore. If you look at his at-bats, the last month he has been pretty spot-on the majority of his at-bats.”
Abreu’s mini-slump came to an end Monday, with two hits in his first two at-bats. The first baseman added two RBIs to his major-league leading total of 86.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.