CHICAGO -- Offensive recognition for both Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez as Silver Sluggers was not a surprise to hitting coach Todd Steverson, who actually thought at least one player would be more decorated this week.
“I wasn't surprised,” Steverson said via conference call Friday. “At the end of the season, after the last day, honesty I looked at it and thought that Alexei was going to win potentially the Silver Slugger and the Gold Glove.
“With the season that Jose had, going up against a guy like Miguel Cabrera and the other good first basemen in the American League, he put together a solid season. It's nice to see everybody recognized him for that.”
The Silver Slugger Awards for the White Sox’s duo were announced Thursday. On Tuesday, Ramirez and Adam Eaton fell just short of earning Gold Glove Awards, although both finished in the top three of the voting.
As the awards season heads into next week, Abreu is expected to land the biggest honor of all when he is favored to win the American League rookie of the year award.
At 27-years old, Abreu had the advantage of more experience having played 10 seasons in Cuba. But he still needed to make the necessary adjustments while facing the best collection of pitching talent he had ever seen on a day-to-day basis.
“I think probably the most impressive part of what he did to me was the way he came out of, I wouldn't really call them slumps, I'd call them periods of struggle,” Steverson said of Abreu. “Early in the year, he had one and he had one a little toward the middle part of the year, probably for about 25-30 at-bats or somewhere in there. Everybody's going to go through their periods of trouble during the course of the season, but his consistency of bouncing back and making the adjustments is what impressed me the most.”
Now that Abreu has a year of major league experience under his belt, and Steverson has the advantage of working with Abreu for a full year, could lead to even bigger and better things. Steverson, though, isn’t in a hurry to raise the bar even higher on a guy who hit 36 home runs with 107 RBIs, a .317 batting average and a league best .581 slugging percentage.
“Really, I think sometimes, and not saying this is wrong, you guys in the media can sometimes get it to a level where it becomes almost unattainable,” Steverson said. “And if the man stays consistent at what he did this year and he improves in any other areas that may have been transgressions for him this year, then we're all in.”
While he will refrain from participating in the prediction business, Steverson does seem anxious to see how it all plays out.
“I can't put a ceiling on where he'll be next year,” Steverson said. “I'll say the big leagues are always an ever-changing league, it's an ever-adjusting league. So they're going to make some adjustments as they did in the second half, which you guys all saw. It's on him to make another adjustment back with what's being thrown at him. Baseball is a guessing game as it relates to who's going to do what. But I think he's got the mindset and the whereabouts to do well.”