Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press
Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago White Sox (1-9)
Matt Shoemaker, SP, Los Angeles Angels (10-1)
Dellin Betances, New York Yankees (10-1)
Masahiro Tanaka, SP, Yankees (15-1)
George Springer, RF, Houston Astros (25-1)
What hasn’t Chicago White Sox rookie Jose Abreu done this season?
He had a .308/.368/599 slash line with 33 home runs and 94 RBI when action began Wednesday en route to being named American League Player and Rookie of the Month in both April and July. True, it wasn’t very long ago that another rookie by the name of Mike Trout set the baseball world ablaze with his play, but that can’t diminish the sheer weight of Abreu’s numbers.
And when we dig deeper, the statistics become even more impressive.
He ranked second in MLB with a .294 ISO (difference between batting average and slugging percentage) and is fourth in both wRC+ (162) and offensive rating (33.7), per FanGraphs. Looking purely at production, he is in elite company.
Now Masahiro Tanaka (12-4, 2.51 ERA) from the New York Yankees could have laid claim to this award at one point, but given the significant amount of time he has missed, he will slip in the voting. There was also a fleeting moment when Houston Astros right fielder George Springer (.231/.336/.468, 20 HR, 51 RBI) made a charge, but like Tanaka, an injury hurt his chances considerably.
Outside of them, the only other rookies who will garner legitimate consideration are Yankees reliever Dellin Betances and Los Angeles Angels starter Matt Shoemaker.
In 57 appearances, Betances is 5-0 with a 1.42 ERA, 0.737 WHIP and averages 13.4 strikeouts every nine innings. No doubt, he has been fantastic.
Shoemaker is also pitching very well, compiling a 13-4 record with a fine 3.33 ERA and a 1.084 WHIP. And with the injuries to Tyler Skaggs and Garrett Richards, he is being counted on to shoulder a large load.
For as good as they have been, though, Abreu would seem to trump each one.
We must all remember, however, that the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) gave the 2003 Rookie of the Year to Angel Berroa from the Kansas City Royals over Hideki Matsui from the Yankees when the latter was clearly the better player.
In other words, Abreu’s chances could take a hit because of his age and advanced standing entering the league. The odds are certainly in his favor, though.
Honorable Mentions: Yordano Ventura, SP, Kansas City Royals; Danny Santana, IF/OF, Minnesota Twins