What kind of impact does Jose Abreu have on young White Sox players?
“Jose?” Eloy Jimenez said after Sunday’s game, a game in which both he and Abreu launched homers off the Crosstown-rival Cubs. “For me, it’s been like a father. He gives me advice, he always tries to help me. And when you find people like that, you don’t know how to explain how great of people they are.”
White Sox fans have heard time and time again that Abreu means so much to this team in the clubhouse. But they might not know why. With Abreu at his third career All-Star Game — with two teammates joining him this time — it was a good opportunity to find out exactly what Abreu means to these White Sox.
Abreu’s a 32-year-old slugger with a career-low on-base percentage heading for free agency this offseason. That’s getting the negatives out of the way, because there are far more positives. In this same season that’s seen his averages dip, his power numbers have kept him All-Star worthy. He ended the first half with 21 homers (sixth in the American League) and 66 RBIs (second, by one, in the AL), on pace to set career highs in both categories.
But the production has always been a given with Abreu since he came over from Cuba ahead of the 2014 season. It’s the off-the-field stuff that has made him truly invaluable to the White Sox as they’ve moved through a rebuild.
As Jimenez’s words made clear, Abreu’s had a remarkable impact on the young Latin players, specifically Jimenez and Yoan Moncada, who have reached the South Side as superstars of the future. According to his All-Star teammates, Abreu’s impact spreads past the two lockers closest to him in the home clubhouse at Guaranteed Rate Field.