#2 Astro that needs to be better: José Abreu
Don't look now, but the calendar has turned to May and Abreu is showing signs of life. In Monday's 7-3 victory, Abreu picked up two RBI. Abreu hasn't struck out in either May game, and even in last night's 0-3 showing, he looked comfortable at the plate.
Two of his outs recorded had the potential to do damage, with both a 101.4 mph and a 107.7 mph lineout. The first had an xBA of .510 and the second was .670. If Abreu can find his form of old, Houston will be fine.
But he hasn't yet. As of now, he's hitting .230 with a .522 OPS and 47 OPS+. That just won't cut it. The Astros need one of the premier run producers of his generation to begin playing like one. Abreu has batted cleanup 25 times and had more than his fair share of opportunities to drive in runs. In 37 at-bats with RISP, Abreu is hitting .216 with a .554 OPS and seven strikeouts.
$19 million a year is far too much for the production they've received. If they're going to give up more runs down three starters for a period of time, they're going to need to score more. Their cleanup hitter needs to play his part.