José Abreu came into this season with more weapons around him in the batting order than ever before. For the All-Star and Silver Slugger, most fans and analysts made the assumption that the pressure was off. The 32-year-old first baseman was entering his 6th season with the White Sox with an opportunity to play loose and let the game come to him.
Abreu only saw a few days early this season with his average above .300 and his strikeouts seemed to come more often than not. Glimpses of his power returning came with home runs in the second and third game of the year. He sprinkled in RBIs here and there, but for the most part, Abreu was a player that was simply in the lineup, but not boasting a threat to opposing pitchers. In fact, by April 18th, Abreu saw his average dip down to .174 with just three home runs and ten RBIs.
The turnaround has come quickly for the Cuban-native. Since April 18th, his average has not declined once from game-to-game and sits at .292. In the ten-game stretch, Abreu has driven in a whopping 20 runs and made three baseballs a souvenir. That ties him for the American League lead in RBIs with Seattle’s Domingo Santana (30).
In an article written by long-time White Sox beat writer, Scott Merkin, Abreu gave credit to teammate Welington Castillo for his recent success. He explained that the veteran catcher was pointing things out that Abreu was doing wrong at the plate and told him to be more patient. Castillo also urged Abreu to be more mindful of the space at the plate.
José Abreu has said publicly that he wants to be in a White Sox uniform for the rest of his career. With numbers like a .294 career batting average and nearly 900 career hits, he seems to have a real shot at having a permanent home in Chicago.
Josh Barlog is a Contributor for the Unwrapped Sports Network website. Follow him on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram.