White Sox ace Chris Sale is one of three finalists for one of baseball’s most prestigious individual awards. Jose Abreu is not, although the Sox’ rookie first baseman, named a finalist for the Baseball Writers Association of America’s Rookie of the Year award Tuesday, appears to be the overwhelming favorite for the honor named after Jackie Robinson.
Whether the Sox get more than runner-up recognition – which teammates Alexei Ramirez and Adam Eaton had to settle for when the AL Gold Glove awards were announced Tuesday – will be revealed Monday (Rookie of the Year announcement) and next Wednesday (Cy Young).
Sale was named Tuesday along with Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners and Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians as the top three BBWWA vote-getters for the AL Cy Young. The 25-year-old left-hander, who missed six weeks during the first half of the season with a flexor muscle strain, finished with a 12-4 record and 2.17 ERA with 208 strikeouts over 174 innings. The three-time All-Star’s 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings led the AL.
Sale’s cases for the Cy Young have grown each year. He was sixth in voting in 2012, his first season as a starter, and fifth in 2013.
Hernandez could be the one to beat. He pitched 236 innings, struck out 248 batters, won 15 games and edged Sale for the ERA title (2.14). Kluber (2.44 ERA) pitched 235 2/3 innings, tied for the AL lead with 18 wins and was second in the AL with 269 strikeouts.
Abreu, named the AL’s top rookie by the Sporting News and Players Choice, is not a finalist for AL MVP. That distinction belongs to outfielders Mike Trout of the Angels and Michael Brantley of the Indians and designated hitter/first baseman Victor Martinez of the Tigers.
Ramirez, meanwhile, was hoping to add a Gold Glove to accompany the Silver Slugger Award he won in 2010 as the best hitting shortstop, but was edged out by the Orioles’ J.J. Hardy, who won his third straight Gold Glove Tuesday night. The Royals’ Alcides Escobar was the other finalist at shortstop.
Eaton also lost out to an Oriole, Adam Jones, who won his fourth Gold Glove in center field.
Seventy-five percent of the Gold Glove vote was comprised of more than 100 votes from managers and coaches. For the second straight year, the remaining 25 percent was accounted for using a sabermetric component.
The NL finalists for MVP are pitcher Clayton Kershaw and outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Andrew McCutchen. The NL Cy Young finalists are Kershaw, Adam Wainwright and Johnny Cueto.