Despite the loss on Thursday night, Jose Abreu showed signs of life in the middle of the order. This is a good sign for the Chicago White Sox who’s offense primarily runs through their big Cuban first baseman.
The White Sox are in desperate need of some offense. Despite Eloy Jimenez’s return, the bats have found themselves in a funk. They have scored three runs or less in eleven of their last fourteen games. They were only able to muster three runs in their final two games against the Royals, whose pitching staff has an ERA of 4.91.
Part of the reason for this cold stretch is Jose Abreu’s slump at the plate. In his past seven games, he is hitting just .200 with a .440 slugging percentage. That is a major dip from his career averages of .290 and .515.
For the season as a whole, Abreu has not looked like his usual productive self. To be clear, Abreu’s definition of a “good” season is a little different than most players. The bar is set higher. He is hitting .245 with 20 home runs and 82 RBIs and a .795 OPS. Normally a player hitting 20 plus home runs with 80 plus RBIs means that a player is having a pretty good season. However, that is what makes Jose Abreu special, he is no normal offensive player.
The Chicago White Sox needs the most out of Jose Abreu to make a deep run.
The 2020 American League MVP has 218 career home runs and 753 RBIs. He has never finished a season with an OPS below .820 and has batted .280 or higher in six of his first seven major league seasons. Simply put there is a reason he is considered one of the best run producers in the game. He is a pure hitter.
When Abreu goes well, the rest of the offense goes well with him. In 2020, he lead the American League in RBIs, slugging percentage, and hits. He was also second in home runs and fourth in batting average. The White Sox lead the AL in home runs and ranked second in RBIs, runs, hits, and OPS.
His slump at the plate has a direct correlation with how the offense is performing. Abreu can provide protection for Eloy Jimenez as he eases back into the swing of things. He is also the primary run producer in the middle of the lineup. When he is struggling it is much easier for an opposing pitcher to navigate through the rest of the lineup.
However, Abreu is showing signs of breaking out. On Thursday night he went 2-for-4 with a home run and a single. The home run traveled 421 feet and gave him solo homers in consecutive days. The single had an exit velocity of 111 mph. Jose Abreu is heating up again and that is good news for the rest of the offense.