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Astros: Welcome to the REAL Jose Abreu Experience

Folks, I PROMISED YOU in April when we were all disappointed in Jose Abreu that I would track his performance.





I am the guy that told you this on JUNE 5th:


"Folks, this is going to be the BOLDEST positive call I have made on this site.

The former MVP is showing signs of his former self. I think he is back and the results are eminent.

I know that is a BOLD statement to make about a batter that has a 50 wRC+ and a 0.537 OPS.

I promised you I would be looking for positive signs and I have.

Since hitting the Home Run, Jose Abreu has an average exit velocity of 95.3 mph. That simple fact does not mean much to you without context.

His average exit velocity for the last four years has been 92 mph. It was 87 in March/April and 88 in May. That is a massive drop off and one of the things that REALLY bothered me with the Abreu data."



TEN DAYS LATER and I followed up with this.

Last night, Abreu hit a double off a slider in the first inning.


Last night, Abreu hit a Home Run off a slider in the fourth inning.


The only other slider Abreu saw last night was in the dirt. After that pitch, he hit a four-seam fastball for a single in the ninth inning.


Folks, using the metrics we have shown before I want to show you why we can know that Jose Abreu is back.


May 28th- the night Abreu found "it" in Oakland for his first home run.


Here are the stats before and after.

Abreu in June hit 118 wRC+. Abreu in July hit 110 wRC+. These are good number but probably not what the Astros thought they were paying for.


Then early August hit. In a nine-game stretch, Abreu was HORRIBLE hitting with a -20 wRC+, o.265 OPS, o.141 wOPS, and 0.219 xwOPS. He was put on the IL with back issues, and it was said that he had been dealing with the issue for months.


Since 8/23, Abreu has been like hitting machine since returning from the IL

That table may have too much data to process. Let me give to just three tables which I think tell the story.


Let me put in a disclaimer. The sample size is WAY too small for the post IL stats.

wOBA

Abreu's actual results have skyrocketed as he came back from the IL.


Notice the results on the breaking pitches.




xwOBA

The expected results may even show a post IL difference even more clear.


Post IL Abreu looks almost nothing like April/ May Abreu.


Forget what you knew. It is a whole new Abreu world.


Exit Velocity

Reviewing the exit velocity data may be an even earlier indicator of what is changing for Abreu.


Ignore the post IL Off-speed exit velocity data. It is only 5 PA.

Do you want to get REALLY excited? Compare the Post IL exit velocities with 2021- 2022 exit velocities. Abreu was a 131 wRC+ hitter in 2021-2022.


I said on June 5th.

I think this is a situation where we see:

  1. The exit velocity increases first;

  2. The xwOBA surge second; and

  3. The OPS and on field results follow.

We experienced a step change on 5/28, and the results followed. It is EARLY, but two weeks in vs. fastballs and breaking pitches we are seeing another EV step change. I believe it is ALREADY showing results.


Watch any early season game of Abreu swinging the bat at slider pitches. Then watch Abreu swing at slider pitches the last two weeks.


It is VASTLY different. I believe Abreu is seeing and recognizing the slider pitch way better than at any point this season.


In 11 games with 48 PA since returning from injury 8/23/23, Abreu has delivered 0.3 WAR and hit 0.915 OPS and 147 wRC+. I will go to my grave believing that SOMETHING was done to improve Abreu's eyesight while he was on the IL.


The BABIP data does not indicate the post IL results are all luck either.


Let's pull back from the small sample size of the post IL Abreu. Let's just simplify and compare the season with before 5/28 and after 5/28.

  • Abreu was arguably one of the worst hitters in the league before 5/28.

  • Since 5/28, Abreu has been an above average (106 wRC+) hitter and 16th of 22 first baseman.

  • Since 8/23, Abreu has been an elite (147 wRC+) hitter and 6th of 34 first baseman.

If the exit velocity data holds for Abreu, we may get the Jose Abreu experience we wanted.


Here is the Abreu career data.

The projection models are all predicting that we will get at least the Abreu we have gotten since 5/28. The Astros can win the division with that Abreu.


The Astros can win the World Series with the post IL Abreu we have seen. Welcome to the REAL Jose Abreu Experience Astros fans.


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