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White Sox: What Happens If Jose Abreu Gets Injured This Season?

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Feb 27, 2017; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) singles in the third inning against the Chicago Cubs during a spring training game at Sloan Park. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2017; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) singles in the third inning against the Chicago Cubs during a spring training game at Sloan Park. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /
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White Sox lack of depth at first base could be exposed this season if veteran slugger is injured. What will happen if former All-Star is out for a lengthy amount of time?

Considering the fact that the Chicago White Sox lineup is razor thin as of today, what could become of it if Jose Abreu went down for an extended period of time? This is an important question to be asked, not as much because the club is in a go-for-it mode in 2017, but due to quality of on field play for the fans to watch.

Here are some numbers for you to think about: Abreu has averaged 30.3 home runs, 102.6 RBI’s, and a batting average of nearly .300 (.299 to be exact) in his three seasons in the major leagues. The closest power threat is Todd Frazier (34.6 HR’s, however only 89 driven in since 2014), and Melky Cabrera has a lifetime average of .286 over 12 big league seasons.

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Unfortunately, there is a down side to both Frazier and Cabrera. Frazier doesn’t hit for average (.250 since entering MLB, struck out 125+ times each season since 2013), while Cabrera fails to produce in the power department (career high is 18). Tim Anderson, the lone returning bat expected to produce for the Sox, has less than one year of major league experience so he is hard to gauge at this moment.

The rest of the lineup is more than likely going be unproductive. Avisail Garcia is a bust of a prospect, Charlie Tilson is constantly injured, and while Tyler Saladino may be a solid bat, his proneness to strikeouts (113 K’s in 534 career AB’s) makes him best suited for a utility role. Expect many different players to be tried out over the course of the upcoming season, many of which will struggle to hold their own against major league pitching.

So, what exactly would happen if Abreu were to miss an extended period of time this season? The answer to that question is barring several players exceeding expectations, the offense performing just as poorly, if not worse than it did in 2013. Think about it, the one do-it-all bat in the Sox lineup goes down, leaving a few talented yet far from complete hitters in the order.

As for the rest of the lineup, much of it would consist of Triple A players (Tilson, Avi Garcia, Matt Davidson), not to mention other backups on a better team (Saladino, Narvaez). That is a scary proposition if you are a manager, having to put together a lineup of that group. In the case that Abreu is in the lineup, he alters the dynamic of how the order is pitched to. The second a pitcher doesn’t see Abreu’s name on the lineup card, his job becomes extraordinarily easier that day.

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All in all, the proposition of no Abreu for the Sox is a scary one to think about. Regardless of what you think of Frazier, Anderson, and Cabrera, none of those three are anywhere near Abreu, expect in short stints. While this lineup may look thin now, wait until the injury bug bites the South Siders at some point this year. That may bring the Charlotte Knights to Guaranteed Rate Field.

Expect a long road ahead, Sox fans. Hopefully you have the patience.

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