José Abreu May Mercifully, Finally Be Back

Washington Nationals v Houston Astros
Washington Nationals v Houston Astros / Bob Levey/GettyImages

Hyperbole and hot takes reign supreme in sports. The hotter the take, the better it is. That said, it isn't remotely hyperbolic to say José Abreu's career in an Astros uniform could not have gotten off to a worse start.

In March/April, Abreu hit .235 with a .536 OPS. He batted cleanup each day, but continued to strand runners left and right. No problem though, Abreu, like many Astros, is a career slow starter. He'd shrug it off in May.

Then May rolled around and went even worse. Abreu hit .180 in May with a .533 OPS. Though 54 games, Abreu had one home run, seven doubles, and 20 RBI. Only Jean Segura was a worse qualified hitter in the MLB.

The Astros offense was abysmal by their standards, due in large part to the struggles of their first baseman. When Yordan Alvarez went down with an injury, hope seemed lost.

Luckily for the Astros, Alvarez' injury coincided with Abreu finally finding the missing mechanical tweak. According to Chandler Rome, Abreu, who had been working tirelessly with hitting coach Alex Cintron, showed up for work in early June and said, "Hey, I got it."

So far, Abreu's words have proven to be true. In 12 games this month, Abreu is hitting .327 with a .918 OPS. His 13 RBI are already more than he posted in either April or May, and he's already hit three home runs this month.

In hindsight, this is eerily reminiscent of Abreu's 2022 season, though slightly more elongated. After Abreu went 0-4 with two strikeouts against the Yankees on May 15th, 2022, his slash line dropped to .197/.272/.311.

He went on a tear the rest of the season and finished hitting .305 with an .824 OPS. His longer slump this season may mean his season marks don't ever match his career averages on the back of his baseball card, but Jeff Bagwell may have been right after all.

Abreu is finally progressing to his norm. With Yordan down, the Astros desparately need it. If the Astros get the Abreu from the back of his baseball card, or even just an above-average big league hitter, they'll be able to weather the loss of Yordan Alvarez and continue battling the red-hot Rangers for the AL West crown.

Take a breath Astros fans. Jim Crane and Jeff Bagwell can exhale too.

José Abreu is finally back.