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The FACTS about Jose Abreu

Jose Abreu Facts

I was challenged on social media that I somehow did not have my facts straight with regard to Jose Abreu as an Astros player.


HERE are the actual straight facts and a little bit of opinion at the end.


Jose Abreu was NOT my targeted addition at 1B before last season.


The week Jose Abreu was signed I documented as part of my analysis of the signing that his OPS should be about 0.799.


Paying $19M AAV for 3 years to a mid 30s player was dumb for that sort of projected performance. I wrote that at the time. I also warned that his and Montero’s signings (an equally dumb signing) would lead to a financial Armageddon with this payroll. We are in that right now.


This was Crane’s consequence for firing Click and running the team for two months without a GM. THAT is what Astros fan should be livid about.


I also expressed concerns about Abreu’s age and his ability to reach that OPS projection number.


The first two months of last season were a disaster for Jose Abreu. He was one of the worst players in the MLB, and I said so at the time. There is no minimizing how bad he was nor any limit to questions of why he was playing every day and batting so high in the order.


I also analyzed what could be wrong. Unlike most I repeatedly pointed to the fact that it was his performance vs. BREAKING pitches that had fallen off a cliff. I questioned whether he was seeing the ball because it appeared that he was just guessing fastball all the time.


White Sox fans repeatedly warned early last season that Abreu was a slow starter. For his career March/ April is his worst month.


In late May, the numbers many love to make fun of started to shift and show that Abreu was getting better. On June 5th, I wrote that Abreu might be back to a standard level of performance that was closer to what one could expect from Jose Abreu. That turned out to be true as his OPS for the rest of the season from May 28 was 0.768 which was in line with what we should have expected from an aging Abreu. It was also better than Gurriel and his 0.663 OPS last season.


The Astros said Abreu was having back issues and put him on the IL for 14 days in August. I am not aware of back issues that go away in 14 days. I am aware that Lasik recovery is almost exactly, you guessed it, two weeks.


After returning from the IL last season on 8/23/23, for his last 130 PA, Abreu hit 0.845 OPS. This was a very good version of Jose Abreu. In the postseason last year Abreu hit 0.945 OPS. He carried the team in some games.


I do not trust spring training performances, but Abreu was good this spring with an OPS of 0.919 in 37 PA. The only thing I would take from that is that he was not showing signs of the epically bad start he had last year.


Making loud proclamations about how Jose Abreu has sucked his entire time as an Astros player ignores the straight facts. He was epically bad the first two months. Since then, he has been what we should have expected.


It has been two games in 2024. The owner signed him for three years and we have to do something with him.


There is one other set of facts for folks.


Astros Players since 5/28/23

Abreu 394 PA/ 0.755 OPS

Dubon 322 PA/ 0.732 OPS

Pena 434 PA/ 0.702 OPS

Meyers 206 PA/ 0.648 OPS

Julks 189 PA/ 0.634 OPS

Singleton 74 PA/ 0.615 OPS

Kessinger 45 PA/ 0.614 OPS

So, Abreu has not been the worst Astros in that period. Maybe he has been the most overpaid. That is on Jim Crane.


This is the actual set of straight facts.


Opinion


Abreu should not be batting 5th until he proves what kind of hitter he will be in 2024 and that he won’t have his slow start. McCormick and Diaz should bat fifth based on the starting pitcher matchup.


Abreu has been the seventh most productive Astros player since 5/28/23 and that is where he should bat until proven otherwise.


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