What is Wrong with Jose Abreu?
There is no player that has Astros more divided right now than Jose Abreu. There is one overriding question.
What is wrong with Jose Abreu?
Yes, Abreu has been a slow starter, but we are beyond the start and his statistics are atrocious. NO player has delivered less WAR to their team than Jose Abreu.
Yes, he is 36-years-old. He had one of his most productive seasons last year. This degree of drop of does not make sense.
Yes, Abreu has had some bad luck hitting (0.291 BABIP vs. career 0.326, 0.243 wOBA vs. 0.266 xwOBA). Honestly, these metrics may just be reflecting how poor the contact has been.
Abreu has an 83 wRC+ with RISP and 31 wRC+ with bases empty. Whatever the RISP approach is, use that EVERY PA. I have no idea if there are differences.
I will present a couple of theories I have.
This is an excerpt from the "Five Things the Astros Need to Do to WIN the World Series" article.
Theory 1- It's the eyes/ vision
It feels like the entire fan base is aligned on this one but HOW to get Abreu right is the answer no one has. I want to reshare an updated version of data I gave you before.
I have heard repeatedly that Abreu is not getting around on the Fastball.
His 6.7 mph drop in exit velocity since last year is alarming.
This spray chart of Abreu's hits validates that he seems incapable of pulling almost anything.
I am more concerned about Abreu vs. Breaking pitches. His xwOBA is half of what it was last year. WHY?
I have a theory that we also have discussed in Twitter Spaces. Let me ask it in a question.
What would it look like if Jose Abreu was having trouble seeing the ball? What if his vision has gotten worse?
I think it would look like:
Abreu not being able to pick up on the rotation and recognizing curve or slider.
Jose guessing that it's a fastball.
Psychologically knowing he is guessing, he is NOT as sure as he swings. He is more tentative. Because 56.2% of his pitches ARE indeed fastballs, he makes contact; but it is weak.
Because 38.7%of his pitches are breaking pitches, he has no chance. He looks lost.
I don't know about you but that sounds like 80% of the swings I see Abreu taking.
I will say it again. SOMETHING is wrong. It is physical. The physical is now become physical AND psychological.
I think he needs a vision test. It should be easy to do,
Theory 2- It's the Ballpark
My friend Suzy has a great podcast- Bourbon and Baseball. She has repeatedly asked about one thing- Minute Maid Park. Mike Trout has repeatedly said he does not like playing at MMP because of the batter's eye.
Notice the list of ballparks to the right and Jose Abreu's career OPS at those parks. notice what park is down near the bottom of the list - Minute Maid Park.
What would you say if I told you Abreu's OPS this season at MMP is 4 points HIGHER than his career OPS at MMP?
Career- 197 PA- 0.594
2023- 97 PA- 0.598
I would say he is like Trout and does not really like hitting in Houston.
How do the Astros fix that? Well hopefully they figure it out. Rebuild the batter eye, we are trying to win a World Series!
Here is the problem with this theory. His OPS at home is 0.598. His OPS on the road is 0.458.
To read more about what I would do if Abreu can't be fixed and the other things the Astros should do to win the World Series, read this.
What are your theories? I will research them and add them here.
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