Lack of power has been a major issue for the Chicago White Sox thus far in 2015, and for slugger Jose Abreu he’s also struggled to hit home runs, leading to fewer runs for the team in 2015.
Here are some theories as to why.
First of all the rest of baseball has a scouting report on Abreu after one full season in the majors. Look at how many breaking balls he chases down and away.
While he did some of that last season, it seems as though Abreu is having a near impossible time laying off that pitch. Once pitchers know that a hitter will chase a pitch out of the strike zone, they will throw it until he stops chasing it.
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Expectations of the team and himself could be a major factor as well. Last year he hit 36 home runs, this year Abreu currently has six after 38 games.
With the team expected to compete, Abreu may be trying too hard to succeed. On top of that, the Sox are off to a slow start this season. That makes things much more difficult, especially considering the fact that Abreu is expected to carry the offense.
When a player puts too much pressure on himself, he will press. If this is the case, swinging at pitches out of the zone is to be expected.
Lack of protection could be an issue as well. It isn’t as though Avisail Garcia hasn’t hit behind Abreu, but the fact that the Sox have nobody that any pitcher fears anywhere close to Abreu.
If the Sox had a Prince Fielder type having an MVP season it would be much tougher to throw off-speed pitches in the dirt on a 3-2 count.
Not to mention the fact that Abreu is the one hitter in the lineup that any pitcher fears can take them deep consistently.
The lack of offense all together has really hurt Abreu. With there almost always being a base open, it makes perfect sense to walk him. Especially late in games, with Adam LaRoche hitting behind him who cannot hit lefties.
It becomes too easy to manage, walk Abreu and then bring in a lefthander that can retire LaRoche. If Garcia was behind him it would be better, but he struggles with patience.
There really isn’t a whole lot right now that is performing well enough to take the pressure off of Abreu.
I expect Abreu to get his power stroke going. Will he have the same year as last? Possibly not, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he went on a tear.
Abreu is still one of the best hitters in the game, and before it is said and done will have a great stat line in 2015.