BALTIMORE — Jose Abreu’s early difficulty putting a barrel on the baseball has been replaced by a lot of loud contact.
Seemingly lost at the plate only two weeks ago, the White Sox first baseman has been in a groove the past 13 games. Whereas Abreu only hit the ball on the barrel of his bat three times in the first 13 games, he barreled six in the past 13. Over that stretch, Abreu is hitting .388/.444/.776 with five doubles, one triple, four home runs, nine RBIs and 11 runs in 54 plate appearances.
“Right now, he’s at a pretty high level,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He’s really in tune with what he wants to do at the plate. Hopefully it’s something he can sustain over an extended period of time, but I’m just glad he’s where he’s at.”
Through those first 13 games, Abreu was hitting .157/.204/176 with five RBIs in 54 plate appearances. He also struck out 14 times and has just seven since. Renteria said he didn’t get overly concerned about his slugger even though Abreu admitted he was struggling on April 17 and looking to find something that worked. Abreu’s early struggles were reminiscent of the 2016 campaign when he looked very pedestrian at the plate through the first four months of the season. A late onslaught at the plate allowed Abreu to reach 25 homers and 100 RBIs.
“He’s very focused,” Renteria said. “He continues to do the same routine every day. His work ethic is the same. It’s just the consistency in which he does it and the outcome that will ultimately happen over the course of the season that will judge where he is or isn’t.
“We were talking to all of these guys, and the one thing they all do and represent is a consistent routine. We know they have the skillset. We just have to let them continue to play the game. It’s such a long season. There’s ups and downs. You just let them do what they do.”
The White Sox offense has been much better with Abreu performing like normal. After they scored 48 runs in their first 13 contests, the White Sox have 66 in their last 14, an average of 4.7 runs per game.