Jose Abreu is scheduled to return to the lineup on June 2nd. Before landing on the DL about two weeks ago for tendinitis in his left ankle, Abreu was slashing .260/.312/.595 with a .900+ OPS and 15 homeruns in just 173 at-bats. He was averaging more fantasy points per day than any other 1B in the bigs and 5th most of any hitter with at least 50 at-bats this year. However, if you’re counting on him to continue carrying your fantasy team for the remainder of the season like he did for the first month and a half, you should be slightly worried.
There have been seven hitters to suffer tendinitis in their lower half since 2010. Four (C. Utley, R. Sweeney, M. Bradley, T. Buck) had either no sample of games before or after the injury. Last season, Melky Cabrera and Kyle Blanks each suffered tendinitis in their left lower half as a right-handed hitter, the same scenario Abreu’s experiencing. Neither player hit a single homerun after returning from the injury. Cabrera’s numbers stayed virtually the same. Blanks, who more accurately represents Abreu’s game, suffered a .200+ drop in SLG% and .272 drop in OPS. Not a good sign.
If you’re looking for optimism, Andy Dirks in 2012 experienced just a slight decrease in power and underwent just a .048 drop in SLG% after returning from his injury. He was a left-handed hitter though. Interesting note: each of the three examples injured their front foot.
There doesn’t seem to be a large enough sample-size to guarantee a decrease in performance, but it’s almost guaranteed that Abreu will not be averaging an 11.5 AB/HR rate anymore. Abreu should continue as one of the league’s top power hitters, but don’t depend on him to be your team’s top player anymore.