At the moment, Jose Abreu has hit in 39 of his last 40 games, encompassed within two streaks. Prior to these streaks, Abreu was having an impressive rookie campaign marked by impressive power, making a strong case for American League Rookie of the Year. However, since these streaks began, Abreu has catapulted himself into discussion for one of the league's best hitters and a dark horse for American League Most Valuable Player.
The first streak was an 18 game hit streak from June 15th to July 4th. Throughout this streak, Abreu slashed .338/.382/.718 to the tune of a 200 wRC. It was broken up on July 5th, when the Seattle Mariners came into town and King Felix Hernandez kept Abreu to an 0-for-4 hitting line. It's plausible the streak could have continued, but Robin Ventura chose to pinch run for Abreu during the late innings.
Since then, Abreu has started a new streak, which is currently at 21 games. During this period, Abreu's slash line has been .429/.490/.702 and a 223 wRC, with the Sox slugger showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, after last night's 3-for-3, hit by a pitch, and walk, Abreu has reached base in ten consecutive plate appearances.
As noted before, Abreu was well on his way to a Rookie of the Year before these streaks, in part to his gaudy power, which saw his isolated power sitting at .340. Yet, Abreu is showing he's more than just a slugger, transforming into an all-around great hitter.
I mentioned back in April Abreu possessed tremendous plate coverage and power to all fields; now, he's fine tuning his craft. The graphs below represents Abreu's line drives and ground balls per ball in play per pitch category.
We can see there's a clear divergence between the two into opposite directions. As we'd expect, the rise in line drives has resulted in fewer ground balls; in other words, a clear recipe of success for hitters. In Abreu's case, it could be even more so given his plate coverage and power to all fields, which could allow further utilize his power and continue being an offensive juggernaut.
It's safe to say Jose Abreu is locked in and the hottest hitter in baseball right now, with his AL-best 21-game hitting streak seven games shy of Carlos Lee's franchise record of 28, set in 2004. If he's still going after that, the sky's the limit. Hitting streaks are rare feats due to the amount of talent and lucked needed to sustain them. But given what Jose Abreu has shown us thus far, he's up to the challenge.
Anthony Joshi-Pawlowic is a contributing writer at Beyond the Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter at @AJP13237.