After three seasons, Jose Abreu's name feels as if it has more value than his actual numbers. His 2014 season was outstanding, and 2015 was pretty good as well, but 2016 feels like a disappointment. Sure, he drove in 100 runs, taking advantage of the opportunities provided to him and hit .293. Yet, in a year where many were hitting 20-plus homers, Abreu hit 25 despite missing only three games all year. His Isolated Power and HR/FB ratio has declined each season he has been in the majors. His GB/FB rate has always been high, but he got away with it when he was hitting one out of every four or five flyballs out of the yard. Last season, that fell to one in every six flyballs which caps his power upside. All the pieces are there, but he has to get more distance on his batted balls to get back to the 30-homer plateau.
Abreu has returned to spring camp and is in the lineup for Friday night's Cactus League game, Scott Merkin of MLB.com reports. The slugger missed the last three days testifying in a smuggling case in Miami. Abreu will get back to preparing for 2017 after slashing .293/.353/.468 last season and recording at least 100 RBI for the third straight year. Expect him to see plenty of opportunities in a weak White Sox lineup this season as he aims to continue his major league success.
Abreu (personal) is expected to return to the spring training lineup Friday after completing his testimony in a trial of two men accused of smuggling Cuban ballplayers illegally, according to manager Rick Renteria, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reports. The first baseman should continue his preparation for the 2017 season. Perhaps he'll convince fantasy players to buy him with a strong showing: Abreu holds a 61.97 NFBC average draft position as of Thursday afternoon, which is a relative discount to other high-priced first basemen. Reminder: Abreu has matched or eclipsed 25 home runs, 100 RBI, a .290 batting average and a .347 OBP in each of his first three big league seasons.
Abreu (personal) won't return to White Sox camp until Friday, CSN Chicago's Dan Hayes reports. He is currently testifying in court regarding a Cuban ballplayer smuggling operation, but is a witness, not a suspect, and will be back with his team this weekend. Abreu is currently going at a discount in drafts (NFBC ADP: 62), considering he has logged three straight seasons with 25-plus home runs, 100-plus RBI and a batting average north of .290.
Abreu will head to Miami following Monday's game to tend to personal matters and expects to be back in camp on Wednesday, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reports. Abreu's brief absence will in all likelihood not heavily factor into his preparation for the season. The 30-year-old first baseman went 2-for-3 on Monday against the Cubs, which included hitting a long, "no-doubter" home run. He'll look to stay hot when he returns from his absence presumably on Wednesday.
Abreu says he learned from the experience of 2016 when struggled to hit early in the season, Scott Merkin of the White Sox's official site reports. "I never in my life experienced some kind of struggles like I did last year," Abreu said. "But that put me in a better position as a player, as a person too. I'm in a better position now for this season because I learned from the experience." Abreu opened the 2016 season hitting .242 with a .686 OPS and six homers in his first 52 games, before coming around in June. Perhaps the poor start was partially attributable to his conditioning to start the season. The 30-year-old Cuban said he put a lot of effort into his body during the offseason with eye toward better coming out the gate in April.