Every player has their highs and lows over the course of a season. Those peaks and valleys are especially magnified at the start of the year. But sometimes, those struggles at the start of the year can be notable as is the case with Houston Astros first baseman Jose Abreu.
Abreu was supposed to be the missing piece for the Astros’ lineup, another powerful slugger for the middle of their lineup. He has struggled in the power department thus far, posting a .291/.333/.327 batting line over his 59 plate appearances entering Thursday. While he is getting hits, he has just two doubles on the year, driving in four runs.
Father Time catching up with Houston Astros first baseman Jose Abreu
Those concerns go beyond Abreu’s lack of power. His 5.1% walk rate and 25.4% strikeout rate are both the worst of his career. His overall performance was still solid in the second half of the 2022 season but his power had begun to fade. Abreu had just four homers and 16 doubles in his 284 plate appearances after the All Star Break, drawing just 18 walks while striking out 52 times. Even his batting line may be concerning due to a .400 batting average on balls in play. That is not sustainable.
His batted ball metrics do not paint a better picture. Abreu ranks in the 38th percentile, or worse, in virtually every area. Not only is he not hitting the ball hard, ranking in the 22nd percentile in average exit velocity and the 38th percentile in max exit velocity, but he is chasing pitches at a high rate. He is in the 16th percentile in chase rate and the 15th percentile in whiff percentage, numbers that would be amongst the worst of his career. Abreu is also not making solid contact when he does hit the ball, ranking in the 14th percentile in barrel rate.
It is possible that Abreu’s bat heats up as the weather gets warmer. He does have an impressive track record as a run producer in the majors and was a solid bat last season. However, Abreu is also 36 years old. Father Time comes for everyone, even players who could have a Hall of Fame case when their careers are over. The end could be coming for the Cuban star.
The power has not been there for Houston Astros first baseman Jose Abreu this season. Based on his metrics, one has to wonder if it will show up.