Chicago White Sox first baseman José Abreu has been named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending May 28th. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.
Abreu batted .452 (14-for-31) with seven runs scored, three doubles, two home runs and five RBI over seven games to claim his fourth career AL Player of the Week Award, last winning on September 20, 2015. Among his AL counterparts, José finished the period first in hits and total bases (23); tied for second in runs scored and extra-base hits (5); third in batting average; seventh in slugging percentage (.742); and tied for ninth in RBI. This is Chicago’s first weekly honor since Jose’s most recent award in 2015.
In an Interleague tilt on May 23rd against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Abreu went 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored and the 100th home run of his four-year Major League career. The Cienfuegos, Cuba native became the 22nd player in club history to reach the milestone, and now trails Adam Dunn and Ray Durham (106) for 20th on the White Sox’ all-time home run list. In the following contest against the D-backs, the 2014 AL Rookie of the Year went 4-for-5 with two runs scored, a double, home run and three RBI. During his excellent night at the plate, Abreu matched his career high with four hits in the game, and hit home runs in consecutive outings for the second time this season (also May 3rd-4th). Additionally, the 2014 AL All-Star now ranks 11th all-time in home runs among Cuban-born players, trailing Tony González, who ranks 10th after belting 103 homers from 1960-71, primarily for the Philadelphia Phillies. Abreu, who has hit every home run this season away from the Windy City, leads the Majors with 11 road home runs. The slugging first baseman finished his award-winning week with a multi-hit effort against the Detroit Tigers, his fourth multi-hit contest of the week. The two-hit effort capped a 10-game hitting streak, which saw him slash .444/.457/.733 with 11 runs scored, four doubles, three home runs and seven RBI. Led by Abreu, the White Sox have won seven of their last 11 contests and now trail the Minnesota Twins by 3.5 games for first place in the competitive AL Central.
In two starts last week, starting pitcher Lance McCullers (2-0, 1.64 ERA, 11.0 IP, 13 SO) of the Houston Astros was also impressive. Sunday’s victory for the 23-year-old right-hander was his fourth consecutive win and capped off an impressive month of May, which saw him go 4-0 with a 0.99 ERA and 37 strikeouts over 36.1 innings pitched. From May 6th-23rd, McCullers logged 24.0 consecutive innings without allowing a run, the longest scoreless innings streak by an AL starting pitcher this season. Other noteworthy performances last week included J.C. Ramirez (2-0, 1.32 ERA, 13.2 IP, 8 SO) of the Los Angeles Angels; Led Lowrie (.500, 6 R, 5 2B, .778 SLG) of the Oakland Athletics; Xander Bogaerts (.400, 8 R, 3 XBH, 6 RBI) of the Boston Red Sox; and Dellin Betances (3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 3.2 IP, 7 SO) and Michael Pineda (2-0, 2.92 ERA, 12.1 IP, 11 SO) of the New York Yankees.
Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon has been named the National League Player of the Week for the period ending May 28th. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.
Blackmon hit .400 (12-for-30) with three home runs, 12 RBI, six runs scored, a double, one triple and a stolen base over seven games to earn his fifth career NL Player of the Week Award, last winning on August 14, 2016. Among NL leaders, Charlie finished the week first in RBI; tied for first in triples and total bases (24); tied for third in runs scored, hits and extra-base hits (5); tied for fourth in home runs; fifth in slugging percentage (.800); tied for eighth in stolen bases; and ninth in batting average. This is Colorado’s first weekly award since Blackmon’s most recent honor last season.
On May 23rd against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, Blackmon went 2-for-4 with a pair of two-run home runs, his first multi-homer game of the 2017 campaign. The four-RBI output gave him a Major League-leading 40 RBI on the season (47 games). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it is the fewest number of team games for a player to accumulate 40 RBI from the leadoff spot since Major League Baseball began recording RBI in 1920. The record of 52 team games was previously held by a couple of American Leaguers: Ian Kinsler of the Texas Rangers in 2009 and Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox in 2016. In Friday night’s home tilt against the St. Louis Cardinals at Coors Field, the 2014 NL All-Star went 4-for-4 with three RBI, finishing a double shy of the cycle. It was Charlie’s 14th time in his career with four-or-more hits, last accomplishing the feat on October 2nd of last season against the Milwaukee Brewers. Over a 13-game span from May 12th-26th, Colorado’s second round selection in the 2008 MLB Draft recorded a hit in 12 games, 10 of which were multi-hit efforts. The dynamic center fielder slashed .456/.475/.772 with 15 runs scored, two doubles, a pair of triples, four home runs, 18 RBI and two stolen bases during his torrid stretch. Entering play today, Blackmon paces the Majors in hits (71), triples (7), RBI (46) and total bases (135), while trailing only Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels in extra-base hits (31).
Third baseman Anthony Rendon (.429, 3 2B, 4 HR, 9 RBI) of the Washington Nationals also posted an excellent week. The sixth overall selection in the 2011 MLB Draft (by Washington) slashed .500/.500/1.583 with five runs scored, a double, four home runs and nine RBI during a three-game stretch from May 23rd-25th, homering in three consecutive games for the first time in his five-year career. Rendon’s teammate, starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg, was dominant in his lone start last week, tossing 7.0 shutout innings, while striking out 15 batters and permitting just three hits and one walk. With the impressive outing, the two-time NL All-Star (2012, 16) delivered his third start of the 2017 campaign with 10-or-more strikeouts and lowered his ERA to 2.94 on the season. First baseman Lucas Duda (.435/1.000/.519, 7 XBH, 9 RBI) of the New York Mets enters play today in the midst of a five-game hitting streak. New York’s slugging first baseman registered four multi-hit efforts during his excellent week at the plate, and drove in a run in five of his six contests. Other noteworthy performances last week included outfielder Adam Duvall (.360, 6 R, 4 HR, 11 RBI) of the Cincinnati Reds; Jordy Mercer (.444, 12 H, 5 XBH, 6 RBI) of the Pittsburgh Pirates; and Anthony Rizzo (.320, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 21 TB) of the Chicago Cubs.