100 Greatest Phillies: 10 – Bobby Abreu – Phillies Nation
100 Greatest Phillies

100 Greatest Phillies: 10 – Bobby Abreu

Bobby Abreu

Career w/Phillies: .303 AVG / 195 HR / 814 RBI / 254 SB

In 1997, the Phillies traded longtime shortstop Kevin Stocker to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In return, the Phils received outfielder Bob Abreu, a soon-to-be 24-year-old roster filler who performed invisibly for the Astros a year previously. Abreu was selected by the Rays in the expansion draft, but that same day Tampa thought they wouldn’t need a potential fifth outfielder candidate. Little did they know who Abreu would become. The Phils, however, would reap those benefits.

Abreu would run off a nine-year career where he’d break .300 six times. He’d break 100 runs six times. Somehow he’d break 100 runs batted in five more times as a Phillie. To be short, Abreu was a complete offensive machine. His specialty was getting on base. Only once during his Phillie career did he finish under .400 in OBP, and that was a .393 mark in 2001, still pretty good. That’s because the patient Abreu walked frequently — he averaged about 105 walks per season as a Phillie. Also a consistent hitter, he averaged close to 175 hits per year.

Abreu’s considerable power was at its best in 2001 (31 HR) and 2004 (30). That season might be his best — he earned his first of two All-Star berths, and a Silver Slugger while finishing third in the NL in steals with a career-high 40. The next season Abreu made a second consecutive All-Star team and rewarded Phillie fans with maybe his most memorable moment: Swatting more than 40 home runs in the Home Run Derby, setting a then-derby record.

Other memorable moments? Remember Abreu’s dribbler that beat Aaron Heilman and the Mets in April 2006? Or his game-winning inside-the-park home run in 2000 against the Giants — one of 15 game-winning inside-the-park homers in baseball history.

But that derby moment stands out because Abreu played for some bad teams. Only later in his Phillie career did he play on better teams, but Abreu’s three postseason opportunities came with different teams, and all were quick exits. In the field Abreu was mediocre, to say the least, but somehow earned a Gold Glove in 2005. There are also some who say the Phils only became a great team when they traded Abreu in 2006. Is it true? Hard to actually admit it, but to be blunt, Abreu was considered the team’s star late in his Phillie days. He could never be the go-to guy, but he was absolutely an offensive juggernaut. Two-time 30-30 player. Seven-time 20-20 player.

Comment: Argue about Abreu’s placement, but glance at those numbers. Simply awesome. Abreu was wildly consistent and produced a career arc that most players would salivate over. His power came as he hit his prime, yet his .300 average remained in tact. He could run, he could hit, he could score, he could play passable defense. Considering Abreu had his best years while Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Vladimir Guerrero and others tore up baseball, one might say Abreu will be looked upon as one of the great underrated players in baseball history. But even simpler: Abreu is absolutely one of the greatest Phillies in history. He opens the top 10.



  1. From Section 113

    March 17, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    One of my favorite Phills ever, I think this pick will tick some people off but Jimmy Rollins and Utley and Howard have not played as long as Abreu, just keep that in mind. They are better but they need to prove that over the same length Abreu has.

  2. Albert

    March 17, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Aberu’s numbers speak for themselves, but this is way to high of a placement for him. At some point you need to consider things outside of statistics. Abreu was definitely a great player for us but I would not include him in the top ten. I do admit that one can argue this placement based off statistics only, which is fine, but I would not place him here because he was never THAT guy for us. Its tough to explain, but I’m sure people will agree with me. With all that said I liked Abreu, and I hope he does well in LA this year.

  3. hamels' left hand

    March 17, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    ugh…we knew it was coming and it’s still tough to swallow, young Tim. sort of like that cleanse you have to drink in order to pass a drug test. that stuff is disgusting.

    he was great, I guess. I just can’t believe I’ve spent all my years rooting for a team where Bobby Freakin’ Abreu is the 10th best player of all time. Maybe I’m just mad at the Phils’ history….?

  4. David

    March 17, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Abreu was never the best player on the team and yet has been placed above all of his teammates. If this was a fantasy baseball list, I may agree.

  5. Steve

    March 17, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Tim, he played a half season more in Philly than Rollins has. But Rollins has 2 gold gloves (please no one bring up the fraud gold glove that Abreu won), an MVP award, and he led this team to a world series. Rollins also plays one of the most important positions on the field. Just comparing them side by side right now, you can’t say that Abreu was a better Phillie than Rollins. You just wanted to get a rise out of this.

  6. Griffin

    March 17, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Bobby Abreu is the poster boy for the old school “He’s not a winner, he’s not clutch” vs. the new school “look at that OBP!” argument.

  7. Good Night Joe Carter

    March 17, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    As hard as this may be to swallow for some, I think Tim’s placement is very defensible.

    Bobby Abreu is the all-time Phillies leaders in on-base percentage. I know he has a rap from many, including Howard Eskin, of being an empty stats kind of player. But stats are stats, and Bobby did get on base…a lot.

    I also must say that, at the time, his amazing performance in the Home Run Derby was a great moment, at least to me. For a fan whose teams hadn’t won anything…in years…it was nice to finally have someone win something.

  8. Michael Stubel

    March 17, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Looking back, Bobby Abreu had fantastic numbers for the Phillies. No doubt, he is one of the most talented and consistent hitters in the team history. Although I would place him slightly behind Rollins, I cannot argue with this placement too much.

    This is the “100 Greatest Phillies” not the “100 Greatest Teammates or Leaders.” And although we all value the 1980 and 2008 Championship squads and the players that made them tick, Abreu was a fabulous piece of the Phillies in the late 90s and the opening years of this decade.

    .303 AVG, nearly 200 HR, 200+ SB


  9. Chutley

    March 17, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    section 113 how are you gonna say that Rollins hasnt played as long as Abreu? Rollins deserves this spot

  10. Chuck P

    March 17, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Jim Bunning is a hall of famer and has his number retired as a Phillie (one of only 8 Phillies, excluding Jackie Robinson to have their number retired)… I could have stomached that.

    Sliding Billy Hamilton is a hall of famer… with the limited Phils in the hall of fame, that would have been alright with me.

    Sherry Magee played two more years and put up comparable numbers in a deadball era… top 10 would have been ok by me.

    Cy Williams… the only guy to hit 200 HR before Ruth did. Would have been ok with that selection, too.

    Jimmy Rollins has 3 AS, a SS, an MVP trophy and 2 gold gloves at the most valuable defensive position in baseabll… his numbers are comparable except for walks (Bobby A sure knows how to walk to first). Oh yeah, and that World Series trophy. I could have stomached that.

    Del Ennis, Curt Schilling, Gavvy Cravath…

    My anti-Abreu bias is obviously showing. I love the list and I have been very appreciative of all of the history that has been brought to life by presenting it… HOWEVER it is tough for me to sit back and hear you say that there aren’t 10 players in Philadelphia history better than Bobby Abreu… say what you want, he’s a loser. If he wasn’t, someone would have picked up the 35 year-old outfielder/DH for more than a 1 year $5 million deal.

  11. Jim

    March 17, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    I think the people that say “he wasnt a leader, and never won, and was never clutch” is actually the reason why he is not in the top 5. he had way better numbers than his whiteness and i assume that he has yet to make this list. why is he ahead of him, his leadership abilitiy.

  12. Woodman

    March 17, 2009 at 3:07 pm


  13. greeninil

    March 17, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    LA? Oh yeah – Los Angeles Angels Of Anahiem – GEEZ LOUISE! – good luck in Anahiem Bobby

  14. Jim

    March 17, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    For all the people who say rollins deserves this spot more.

    Abreu(w/ phillies) – 144
    Rollins – 99 OPS+

    That means, offensively speaking, abrue has played 50%(!) better than rollins. rollins , according to his ops, has been a below average (ill be it by 1 point) hitter in his career.

    mind you, rollins started off very slow, and has picked it up, give rollins some time and he may bump abreu from the top ten. he makes up for it defensivley, something abrue never did (though he had an arm)

    i think these stats speak for themselves

  15. Josh

    March 17, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    If you compare them, Abreu is miles ahead of Rollins offensively during his Phillies career. Check it out:



    He won’t be top 10 in another 10 years, he’ll be more like 14 or so. At the moment, I’m ok with this. The whole point of top 10(+) lists is to spark discussion anyway.

  16. Manny

    March 17, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Hey, at least he’s No.10 and not 7 or 8!

  17. David

    March 17, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    There is more to baseball than stats. Abreu was king of the meaningless stats. If you need a clutch hit, stolen base, or defense, Bobby was very lacking. He did know how to take a walk, even when they needed him to Hit in that situation. He is the posterboy for the late 90’s when we were a lousy team. It’s easier to get stats when the other teams are kicking the tar out of you.

  18. BurrGundy

    March 17, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Bobby Abreu deserves high placement on this list. He suffers from making the game look easy and perhaps he paces himself. He suffered a broken leg early in his career, but has been fairly injury-free most of his career. His stats are stunning and that is an important part of baseball. I believe he was largely run out of town by that idiot commentator Howard Eskin, who never liked Abreu and made a point of campaigning against him.

  19. Don M

    March 17, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Rollins is a Gold Glove player… who turned it on in meaningful games and carried this team to the postseason

    Abreu is good.. but like someone else said, this ain’t fantasy baseball.. but this is Tim’s list.. I happen to disagree with Abreu over Rollins

  20. Don M

    March 17, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    The problem with Abreu was that he’s a good player… not a great player, and he didn’t have a ton of talent around him all the time, though he did have Rollins, Rolen, Burrell, Thome, etc… at different points..

    When they needed him to be the #1 guy, he couldn’t do it.. he’d rather walk than drive in the winning run..

    Rollins, MVP, Gold GLoves (Abreu winning one was a joke), NL East crowns, World Series Champions… Rollins is HANDS DOWN a “Greater Phillie” than Abreu

  21. Kyle

    March 17, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Abreu was a good hitter and had legitimate arm strength in the outfield, however, those instances by the outfield wall at the end of his Phillie career still drive me crazy.

    The Phillies improved by subtracting his lackadaisical attitude and approach to the game when they traded him for next to nothing, If he was such a great player, where was his trade value? Giving him the designation of #10 has to mean he was a GREAT player even at the end of his Phillie career. Good riddance

  22. Kyle

    March 17, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    When they needed him to be the #1 guy, he couldn’t do it.. he’d rather walk than drive in the winning run..

    Well Said Don

    …that summarizes his attitude and phillie career

  23. Chuck P

    March 17, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Agree with everything you’re saying, Don. He’s never going to carry a team into the postseason… he doesn’t have that in him.

    If I had to come up with a pecking order of important characteristics for determining an all franchise list, it would probably look like this:
    1. Tenure 2. Personal accolades/historical importance 3. Championships 4. Cumulative Statistics 5. Intangibles 6. Average/Per year statistics

    Eskin is the king of all d-bags. I saw him at a Phillies game one time (lower level, right field) and he just seems so pompous… it was a great game and he got up and left in the 6th or 7th inning. I booed his ass… and I don’t usually do that (to normal fans… I have three kids so I understand that things happen) but I just couldn’t resist.

  24. James Kay

    March 17, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Salivating career arc “Old School vs New School” poster boy. Now that is artful. You can’t argue very affectively against the prolonged top tier offensive consistency. But it doesn’t feel right that an uninspirational player like Abreu is in the top 10. Most of the players mentioned in the Chuck P post should have placed higher than Abreu.

  25. NateB

    March 17, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    should have put him at #11… he doesn’t deserve top 10 and NOBODY will have guessed the complete top 10 list in order. great numbers with the phils, but never helped them compete.

  26. Chuck P

    March 17, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Here are some statistics… my anti-Abreu clearly getting the best of me… maybe this is a witch hunt…. it’s probably not a fair indication of the type of player he was but it validates my feelings in some way:
    Bobby Abreu’s career batting average in the 9th inning… .256
    Bobby Abreu’s career batting average in extra innings…. .237
    1 HR/32 AB’s in the 9th inning (career average: 1HR/27 AB’s)
    1 HR/38 AB’s in extra innings
    With 2 outs, his numbers are worse than they are with 0 and 1 out (.286 BA and .454 SLG… career numbers are .300 and .498)
    His worst months March/April (understandable) and September… inexcusable.
    His BA and power numbers against Mets and Braves (especially ATL) are lower than his career numbers.

  27. Greg V.

    March 17, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Abreu was good for getting hits when it didn’t matter! If the Phils were down 10-0, he’d hit a solo shot or hit a bases clearing double. When it counted he didnt’ hit and he was even a worse fielder. I don’t recall him being clutch at all! Is Kenny Lofton making the list too?

  28. Richie Allen

    March 17, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    No doubt his numbers put him in the top 10.
    But some players are not the important pieces that help you win games.And clearly Abreu was not a key piece.

    The proof is in this offseason’s outfield selection of Ibanez.If Abreu was so valuable,we would have had him here for less money.Even though he is a right feilder ,Im sure Werth could have played left.

    Abreu just wasnt a championship piece and the phils know it.

  29. KM

    March 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I totally forgot that Bobby wasn’t mentioned.

  30. Manny

    March 17, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    One more good year from Utley, Howard, and J-Roll, and all 3 of them should knock Abreu off the top 10!!

  31. Brett

    March 17, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    just about.

  32. Manny

    March 17, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Shane just got an RBI for team USA to put them in the lead 2-1 vs. Puerto Rico (elimination game!)

  33. Chuck P

    March 17, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    USA!!! USA!!! USA!!!

  34. Paul

    March 17, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    No flippin’ way. I don’t even think top 20. Current players Howard and Rollins will surpass Bobby bare effort- the last 3 years as a Phillies he stopped playing hard- that is why they gave him away. Better than HOF Bunning -no. He is not even better than Tony Taylor’s 2000 hits. Luzinski had a greater impact and those old time HOF- even Johnny Calison. Top 10 I’m afraid not.

  35. Rob

    March 17, 2009 at 8:53 pm


  36. From Section 113

    March 17, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Bobby Abreu was a 20/20 player for 7+ yrs. That’s beyond impressive.
    I stated before while he will be passed Abreu is in the top 10 of most offensive categories.

    ANd as for clutch, he was clutch up until that last yr or so. THe problem with Abreu is that he was thought of a prime leader and player when really he was just a great all around player and role player. He was not THAT guy and we look down on him for it but we shouldn’t. I mean neither was Pat Burrell BUT we all love him for helping us win, I totally believe if the Phills had Abreu here over Pat with our lineup, we could have won and we would have looked at Burrell and ABreu very differently.

    THough I love Abreu, Schilling was more important to this team than Abreu, those who think Schill isn’t a HOF are just foolin themselves.

  37. Joe O'Phillie

    March 17, 2009 at 9:39 pm


    Stat guy who cared about his stats. The best selfsih player in Phils history but cant be top 10 when we now have 2 world seies champs.

  38. David

    March 17, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Clutch?????????????? As stated, one of his biggest hits in a Phillies uniform was a dribbler to Aaron Heilman. The difference between abreu and burrell is that burrell would swing the bat with the game on the line. Abreu would walk and let the mike lieberthal end the game.

  39. Mark

    March 17, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    Man the day Bobby left the Phillies, I had a party at my house. Top ten, please….Not even a top 100. He was a piler and a horrible outfielder. Soft soft soft. Whatch out for the fence bobby.

  40. christopher

    March 17, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    let’s just call this list what it is at this point “100 Phillies with Best Career Team Stats & Randy Lerch”… because “100 Greatest Phillies” is very misleading with a list that slights so many actual greats but puts abreu in the top 10.

  41. Jay

    March 17, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    did not see that one coming

  42. Kevin Stocker

    March 18, 2009 at 12:00 am

    I stopped paying attention once my name popped up.

  43. MikeB

    March 18, 2009 at 3:42 am

    Abreu should be ranked between 20 and 30 somewhere for all the reasons previously stated above by those who do not agree with Tim’s rating.

  44. Jh

    March 18, 2009 at 4:30 am

    didnt rowand hit the dribbler down the 3rd base line vs. the heilman

  45. Jason B.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:41 am

    I think stat wise, Abreu deserves the top 10 nod. What makes him different from Rollins or Utley, isn’t his stats. When Utley loses, you can tell it doesn’t sit well with him. You can see in his eyes that he is bothered by any loss. Same with Jimmy. When Abreu lost, he would hop into his Red Ferrari, and drive 90mph up the turnpike, back to his Manhattan high rise. He didn’t care win or lose. Although I agree stat wise that Abreu is a top ten Phil, I wouldn’t have put him there. I would have put him at 11 just on principle alone.

  46. Jason B.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:43 am

    One other thing, look at picture of Abreu in 2000 and then look at him in 01, 02, and 03. I think he was taking his magic vitamins. He was always a consistent hitter, but his power numbers ballooned with his head.

  47. From Section 113

    March 18, 2009 at 7:31 am

    I just love how we can all hate on Abreu for not being “that guy”. While I agree whole heartedly and I DO think him leaving benefited or changed the team for the better, he is still deserving of being a top Philly. Maybe not top 10 of all time, but for position players, yes he is definitely a top all time Philly.

    However, we ALL LOVE Nails for taking his “vitamins” and leading us to a WS. He never stayed healthy for us and basically stole money at the end of his career because he never played, but he gets a pass.

    Me and many here on this board love Myers’ competitiveness but he’s a scum bag for beating a woman. I’ll always like him as a player, but he’s a scum bag. Daulton too, but hey they got us to a WS so they get a pass. Yet people on here say there’s more to a person than stats? Really? Do we believe Rose NEVER bet against the team he was on? Why? Because he old the truth so many times before to us? I don’t and there is no proof he didn’t bet against the Phills, and for as much and as long as he lied to us he needs to prove he’s telling the truth. I have seen drunks who can’t control themselves and do very dumb things and hurt people. I have seen the same with gamblers, I wouldn’t put it past him.

    Abreu constantly tried to get into scoring position to help this team out. Was he the greatest defensive player ever? Hell no! He’s afraid of walls. Ok. He had a good arm and enough speed to cover up everything else.

    Considering how conservative Bunning is in the Senate, I am sure there are a few of us, at least 50%, who would not be buddies and think highly different of the guy if we knew him. There’s more to players than just stats right?

    Burrell vetoed a possible trade to benefit this team, yet we love him because he won. He was such a dog at times and heard it from the phans, yet he get’s a pass, because he was here in ’08. I guess everyone on ’08/’80 should make up the top 50 and than any HOFers and then guys like Abreu, because I guess you are all right, stats don’t matter.

    If the technology and mass media was like it is now back then, I am sure our opinion of these guys would be vastly different. How much of an impact did Tugger have on us after his playing days in Philly? A ton, and I am sure that goes into judging him as well. Even if we don’t think it does, we still subconsciously do it.

    Well I’ll let you in on a secret, the reason why guys like Jeter/JRoll/Wright piss other fans off is because they are so special. They have the ability and gusto. If everyone played like them they wouldn’t be special. All I know is it takes a pretty damn good player to hit .300 for his career over the course of 13 seasons. A pretty damn good player, regardless of leadership or intangibles.

    Abreu’s stats with RISP are good. His OBP was VERY good. People got made he took too many walks. My GOD people how many times have we seen Burrel/Howard/even Jroll out of the leadoff spot not work the count one bit? Howard, the best power hitter in this franchises’ history, is booed here yet we get mad at Abreu because he put up stats? Some guys aren’t leaders. He was unfortunately a role player who put up, unfortunately for him, very good offensive numbers.

    Some players have the stats but not the intangibles, some have the intangibles but not the stats, some have both but can never stay healthy. Should we handicap everyone not affiliated with ’08/’08 because they never won?

    ***I think the biggest gripes about this list to me could have been corrected with just 2 things:

    1st make a cut off date. Pick the earliest HOF of the Phills, and any player around his time or after him are eligible.

    2nd, more importantly, NO CURRENT Philly should have been eligible. Burrel/Schilling yes, Howard/Utley/JRoll/ect NO. This would eliminate a ton of problems and allow us to better view where we could see these players be in terms of the franchise’s all time greatest. Also this would allow more flexibility with the list, even though it does exist as is, with the names in there it just creates more problems.

    If anything, I tended to group numbers together. I didn’t see player #33 better than #34, I just grouped the players by tens or fives. This was rather long response, sorry about that.

  48. Bret

    March 18, 2009 at 7:38 am

    This selection proves youre a stat geek and not a true evaluator of baseball talent. You rip Howard, but you love the stat machine Abreu. He goes to the Yankees and they miss the playoffs…..not conicidental.

  49. From Section 113

    March 18, 2009 at 7:40 am

    JASON B —> Yeah a guy whose power decreased after 31 and never topped out over 31 is a huge poster boy for roids but a loveable short stop with MVP and WS ring who hit nearly as many HRs in a 2 yr span (’06-’07) than in the 5 yrs preceeding it is clean as a whistle.

    14, 11, 8, 14, 12, 25, 30, 11
    17, 20, 25, 31, 20, 20, 30, 24, 15, 16, 20


  50. From Section 113

    March 18, 2009 at 7:46 am

    BRET —> the Yanks also made the playoffs with Abreu in ’06 & ’07.
    And he was a HUGE contributor to that team in ’06. Shows you are such a knowledgeable baseball fan I guess.

    I think Howard gets a bad rap actually. I have season tickets and he gets booed for striking out. Yet we get on him of he doesn’t hit a HR every day. WOnder why some people take roids I guess.

    I am actually not a stats lover at all, I call it how I see it. People liek to get on Abreu’s case but never dare knock Dykstra or Burrell anymore because they got us to a WS. I liked to Abreu not because I am a big stat geek but because he was so patient at the plate and he had a really nice fluid swing. It was a sweet swing.

  51. Tim Malcolm

    March 18, 2009 at 7:48 am

    Bret, you realize stats are good, correct? In fact, I might actually say they’re the best evaluators of talent, you know?

    By the way, Mike Schmidt was never a leader. You all gonna bitch about him being in the top 10?

  52. Tim Malcolm

    March 18, 2009 at 7:49 am

    Section 113: Best swing I’ve ever seen. But you know, I’ve only been alive for 24 years. So my opinion means little.

  53. Ed R.

    March 18, 2009 at 7:57 am

    You want new school? I’ll give you new school…

    Player 1:

    WAR (wins above replacement)–29.3

    Player 2:


    Player 3:


    Player 1: Rollins
    Player 2: Abreu
    Player 3: Luzinski

    Abreu’s way ahead, performance-wise. Now if you want to judge players by things other than performance–which is fine by me, to an extent, after all, we’re talking “Greatest Phillies” not “Best Stats”–than his perceived attitude problems are an issue. But come on, it’s not like he played on great teams. Is it his fault if he takes a walk and there’s nobody behind him who can drive him in?

    I’m also not a big fan of the idea that trading him was like lifting some sort of curse. If that’s true then what about Thome?

  54. From Section 113

    March 18, 2009 at 8:02 am

    ED—> Good stat…I mean stats are bad.
    I actually think signning Thome was HUGE for the franchise. It showed they would pony up money and that was the beginning of taking the team in the right direction. THough it hit a few bumps along the way (Garcia/Eaton/Millwood) we still got a ton of hope ou tof that signning.

  55. Chuck P

    March 18, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Bobby was indeniably talented…his swing is picturesque. His eye is one of the best in the game. I can’t put him in my top 10 because he lacks so much of the other stuff that makes a player special… I won’t do it. Hamels’ Left Hand made a good point… it might be because I’m so angry that a player like Bobby Abreu can even be considered. Say what you want, he’s not an all-franchise player on almost any other team.

  56. Don M

    March 18, 2009 at 8:25 am

    This pretty much sums up Bobby Abreu to me:

    “Baseball statistics are like a girl in a bikini. They show a lot, but not everything.” ~Toby Harrah, 1983

    or the more recent:
    “Statistics are like bikinis. They show a lot, but never everything.”
    –Lou Piniella

  57. Don M

    March 18, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Jayson Stark (does anyone NOT like Jayson Stark?)…he’s been loyal to the Phillies and Phillies’ fans over the years, and in 2007 he listed his Top 10- Most Overrated Players in Baseball (Active Players):

    1. Barry Zito
    2. JD Drew
    3. Andruw Jones
    4. Juan Pierre
    6. Brian Giles
    7. Alfonso Soriano
    8. Richie Sexson
    9. Bob Wickman
    10. Jeff Suppan

    On Bobby Abreu:
    “Boy, do people love arguing about this fellow. Who can blame them?
    The folks who only peruse Abreu’s numbers don’t just wonder what he’s doing on this list. They wonder when he’s getting inducted into the Hall of Fame. How multitalented is Bobby Abreu? Well, he does happen to be the only active player with a .300 career batting average, a .400 on-base percentage, 200 homers and 250 stolen bases. And his .909 career OPS tops the OPS of Sammy Sosa, Chase Utley, Derrek Lee and many, many, many other famed batsmiths out there.

    But there sure are a lot of people who watched him in Philadelphia who think Abreu is the poster boy for an unquantifiable division of the All-Overrated Team — players who mysteriously seem to be less than the sum of their spectacular numbers.

    When people battle me on this guy, I always sum it up this way: As great as Bobby Abreu can be, he lacks that all-important Derek Jeter gene. There is no voice in his head, screaming: “This ball has to be caught.” Or: “That runner on third has to be driven in.” In Philadelphia, where he was the centerpiece of the franchise, that one flaw showed up way too glaringly. Now, in New York, as the Yankees flounder, they’re getting aggravated over the same stuff. Funny how that happens. “

  58. From Section 113

    March 18, 2009 at 8:47 am

    DON M—> “When people battle me on this guy, I always sum it up this way: As great as Bobby Abreu can be, he lacks that all-important Derek Jeter gene. There is no voice in his head, screaming: “This ball has to be caught.” Or: “That runner on third has to be driven in.” In Philadelphia, where he was the centerpiece of the franchise, that one flaw showed up way too glaringly. Now, in New York, as the Yankees flounder, they’re getting aggravated over the same stuff. Funny how that happens. “”

    As an Abreu lover I agree for the most part, though I think he wasn’t as clutchless as we all think he was. Still my whole point is he wasn’t a center peice, we tried to make him one. For what he was, he was a spectacular player. There are currently 3 players in Philly…4 if Hamels can saty healthy (all home grown too) that will have much better careers than Abreu but his stats are undeniably impressive. Stats aren’t everything, but we also tend to make players out to be more than what they are. Sometimes they live up to that hype, sometimes they surpass it, and sometimes they fall short. Abeu was a very good player who fell short on the hype.

    A question to any of you: If there were no current Phills listed here, would you think differently on the placement of people like Abreu? Or at least not be as harsh on him? Granted some of you wanting to put him in the 30+ range is a little crazy, still I think the current rosters’ attachment is also interferring with some of our judgement, for better or worse.

  59. Don M

    March 18, 2009 at 8:58 am

    I just think that you need to look at what was the outcome of this person’s great play..

    Military Generals are GREAT if they lead their troops to victory… maybe they weren’t the best actual leaders, but if you got the job done, that to me is better than the guy that didn’t lead his troops home..

    a little of the wall there, but my point is that in Phillies History… Rollins should be viewed as “better” and “more productive” and whatever other words you want to use… Abreu is a better defender than people give him credit for, people knock him because he didn’t run into walls… but he was able to play everyday because he played “smart”

    Rollins plays everyday too, but he does every single thing you ask of him.. Abreu would have been a great leadoff hitter, but his RBIs would go down so he didn’t want to hit leadoff… but late in the game, when you needed those RBIs.. he would make sure to work that walk and get himself on base!!!

  60. Chuck P

    March 18, 2009 at 8:59 am

    I wouldn’t think differently… Jimmy Rollins was the only active Phillie that I considered above Abreu, right now… the other guys have a long way to go. Anything can happen in any given season… they could end up playing their entire careers somewhere else and that would change things dramatically, wouldn’t it? Right now, they’re all on track but Bobby’s 8 years of service as a Phillie is enough for me to rank him higher than them… HOWEVER… there were plenty of guys with solid years and personal accolades that I would rank higher than Abreu. Now, that could change when Abreu retires becuase, although he’s not a Phillie, he’s still an active player. Post retirement, his number (doubtedly) could be retired… his likeness could end up in Cooperstown… those things would change my opinion and would move him higher on my list. Those things matter… they carry a great amount of historical significance. Right now, Bobby still has work to do to make his case. And that’s my list… this is Tim’s and his placement is his prerogative.

  61. NJ

    March 18, 2009 at 8:59 am

    I think that’s a good point. Bobby Abreu has been a great player but lacks greatness which is what I think hurt him in free agency, seems clubs don’t really know how to value him especially since he was a very good outfielder in a time of some even better outfielders.

    Was really sad to see Bobby go when he was traded to the Yankees but it was one of those cases of addition by subtraction. He was the face of a Phillies team at a very disappointing time for the franchise and wasn’t one of those guys who made the guys around him better, that said he deserves to be held in the same breath as many great Phillies but personally I’m not sure I’d have had him up this high and a couple of dozen spots separated from Lieberthal who I think was undervalued just as much.

  62. Don M

    March 18, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Bobby Abreu… Cooperstown???? That’s the funniest joke I’ve heard all day so far, thanks!!

  63. NJ

    March 18, 2009 at 9:13 am

    The only way Bobby Abreu ends up in Cooperstown is if it turns out every outfielder ahead of him in the pecking order turns out to be juiced up and even then those guys dogs have a better chance. Abreu’s chances are slimmer than Moyer who will be in the conversation but is an extreme long-shot. Abreu’s would be on a par right now with Andruw Jones and boy that aint happening now.

  64. Chuck P

    March 18, 2009 at 9:25 am

    BY the numbers…

    Maybe everyone is familiar with Baseball reference… they have a couple of HOF monitors. They also list players comparable by age… Abreu is likened to a few HOF’ers and could be HOF’ers (notably, Earl Averill, George Brett and Dave Parker). His HOF monitor is 86 (where, over 100 apparently gets you in) and his HOF standards is 46 (where close to 50 gets you in). A few more good years and Abreu’s numbers will be HOF worthy.

  65. From Section 113

    March 18, 2009 at 9:36 am

    CHUCK P—> Fair, I don’t think he’s a HOF. But i get what you are saying.

    DON M—> I guess Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, Arod, Ryan Sandberg, Don Mattingly, Vlad are all horrible becasue they didn’t win the big one but guys like Chad Durbin, So Taguchi, and Matt Stairs are amazing? Championships help but they shouldn’t be the only factor.

    “Military Generals are GREAT if they lead their troops to victory… maybe they weren’t the best actual leaders, but if you got the job done, that to me is better than the guy that didn’t lead his troops home..”

    Really? Or is it because history is written by the winners and not by the losers? Is it because we are just happy with the outcome that we can just look over the faults? Remember, George Washington is basically to England what Benedict Arnold is to America.

    What did Abreu have when he was here? I mean everyone says he was never that guy but the franchise never did anything to help him until they got Thome. I mean he was here 6+ years before that. They let Schilling go/Rolen go/ they had an atrocious farm. Maybe he wasn’t our great hero like JRoll, but maybe it wasn’t because he was overrated, maybe because it was that he was a different type of player. It’s hard to lead when you aren’t a leader.

  66. NJ

    March 18, 2009 at 9:46 am

    Section 113- You can’t put Abreu in the same breat as Cobb or Williams or even A-Rod… Mattingly is more comparable but injuries crippled his chances of landing in the hall.

    Linking numbers can miss the plot, Abreu was near but not at the top of his era which has been a very stats friendly era for potentially HOFers. I don’t see how he’d even stand a chance against guys like Biggio, Bagwell or even Sosa and against guys not yet retired no chance against Vlad, Sheffy, Kent etc.

  67. Don M

    March 18, 2009 at 9:57 am

    It is hard to lead when you aren’t a leader… and how can you be cosidered an “All-Time Great” and “Not a Leader” at the same time?

    Hall Of Fame players are supposed to be the guys that are All-Stars, MVPs, Gold Glove, Triple Crown, etc.. players for about a decade…

    Bobby Abreu isn’t one of the best players of the past decade… his numbers say he’s good, but he’s not one of the great ones.

    Ty Cobb is a lifetime .366 hitter
    Ted Williams is a lifetime .344 hitter
    Ryne Sandberg hit .285, but was the best Offensive 2b for a decade
    Mattignly was great from like 1984-1989, not a Hall of Famer in my book
    Vladdy is a .323 hitter, and one of the best/cluth/most underrated players in baseball since his Rookie of the Year in 1997

    A-Rod is a great.. but you think he would be above say Derek Jeter on an All-Time Yankees list?

  68. From Section 113

    March 18, 2009 at 10:00 am

    NJ—> I am not arguing about Abreu and the HOF and comparing him to Cobb as a player. Don M said players who have won it, Gererals who have taking there team home so to speak, are thought of more highly. So if anything, he diminished Cobb, not me. All I said was you can’t hold Abreu to that as leaders like Cobb/Mattingly/Biggio who were actual leaders. All I was trying to do was list players who were/ar superior to Abreu and never won a ring. And we don’t knock them at all.

    By the way if people want to complain about Abreu not leading off where is the out cry about Biggio holding on to get 3,000 hits. That team needed to rebuild but couldn’t let him go. Just remember that there is more than 2 sides to every issue.

  69. From Section 113

    March 18, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Don M–>

    I like Abreu and can even agree that he got a long leash here in Philly, he was never that guy who won us anything, and for that it was disappointing, TRUST ME, I wanted him to get us to the playoffs so bad.

    But at the same time he put up stats that many can and will never do. How many franchises can say they had a player in his prime for 8 yrs and when that player retired he had a .300 avg/ .400 obp???? Not many that’s for sure.

    Also to be clear — I DON’T think Abreu is a HOFer. Unless he gets 3,000 (1,054 away) and keeps his avg around if not higher than .300. If he gets 3,000 hits but his avg falls to .270-.280 he shouldn’t be a HOFer.

  70. Don M

    March 18, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Any comparison between Ty Cobb and Bobby Abreu is ridiculous to begin with..

    my point was that, to me… an All-Star, Gold Glove, MVP type player in Rollins, who lead the team to the postseason, and the World Series

    Is more important in Phillies history than Bobby Abreu, who put up some nice stats for a few years, but didn’t ever want to carry the team on his shoulders

    Granted the World Series isn’t the final determining factor.. but I’d say they are about a toss-up.. and Rollins’ postseason success gives him the distinct edge over Abreu

  71. Don M

    March 18, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Abreu isn’t even close to a Biggio in my mind, multiple Gold Gloves (that were actually deserved) and All-Star appearances.

    but the main difference is that Biggio is the guy wanted the bat in his hands with the game on the line.. Abreu wanted to be standing on First Base already, having just improved his OBP% with that Ball-4.

  72. Bruce

    March 18, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Section 113 says~ “…more importantly, NO CURRENT Philly should have been eligible. Burrel/Schilling yes, Howard/Utley/JRoll/ect NO. This would eliminate a ton of problems and allow us to better view where we could see these players be in terms of the franchise’s all time greatest. Also this would allow more flexibility with the list, even though it does exist as is, with the names in there it just creates more problems. ”

    I made that argument to Tim a few times early on. However, while I’m in disagreement with MANY of his ranked choices, I’ll echo the same comment by several here that it’s Tim’s list. I don’t take this list seriously as some do but rather that I enjoy reading some historical notes on great players of several generations past. And I do appreciate that Tim has given much time and effort in research for this list. Obviously, as Tim mentioned his age (24) which one can consider it as a handicap (smile) in evaluating players as recently as 25 years ago, he has to rely on statistics and eyewitness accounts from writers of past. Tim is part of the sabermetrics community who believes they have the best method of accurate evaluation when comparing players of different eras. I won’t argue with their method inspite of reading certain articles by writers that suggest there are flaws (such as OPS vs OBP) in such evaluation. Sabermetrics is a welcome addition and there is a need for it but shouldn’t be consider the “bible” of all statistical methods.

    I would be redundant in pointing out other considerations (including the intangibles) as so many here expressed those thoughts. So let’s just respect and enjoy reading his notes on players of his choice and keep in mind his perspective as a fan.

  73. From Section 113

    March 18, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Biggio was pretty bad early in his career in the playoffs, Actually I believe except for that crazy series against Atl in 2005 and maybe 1 other yr, he was horrible in the playoffs.

    I’d be willing to bet that stat wise their “close and late” and RISP over their 8 yr primes are close.

    ALSO Biggio had Bagwell on his team. And for a couple years he had Alou, Bell, and Berkman. Who did Abreu have? Pat I will just look at strike 3 Burrell or maybe Scott I can’t wait to get out of here Rolen.

    And while I always liked Biggio, nothing pissed me off more when he dragged himself out there every year trying to creap closer to 3,000 hits while just being a shadow of his former self. Yeah he score 100 runs, but he couldn’t hit for avg anymore and slowed down a ton.

  74. Ed R.

    March 18, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Okay, I “borrowed” the following analysis of Abreu’s clutchness or lack thereof from here:


    And no, I don’t really care what Jayson Stark, Toby Harrah, and Lou Piniella have to say if it conflicts with the facts. One of the consistent themes in the rise of sabermetrics has been that smart guys who’ve been around baseball forever can be totally wrong when it comes to evaluating players. The numbers show that Abreu was a very good player, and that he didn’t fail in the clutch.

    This all goes back to an old problem. Not only in Philadelphia, but especially true in Philadelphia, is the fact that fans like players who look like they’re working hard and squeezing every last ounce out of their talent. Abreu never looked that way, so he ended up with a bad reputation.

    So he didn’t want to run into the wall? Big deal. Call me strange, but I like the idea of my best players staying healthy. Sure, I love and appreciate the Rowand-breaks-his-face story, but I didn’t love the aftermath when the team had to go without him because he was intent on showing his desire and toughness.

    So he wasn’t a leader? Again, big deal. Who could have been a leader with a sociopath like Bowa managing? And what was he supposed to do when Manuel came, turn into a leader all of a sudden? That’s what we bought Thome for, isn’t it? Also, how was he supposed to lead a team when management was already starting to show the disdain that would get him traded to the Yanks for a handful of non-magic beans? Also, does anyone believe that Jimmy Rollins is going to be led by anyone other than Jimmy Rollins? How was Abreu supposed to lead a team when a really prominent player like Rollins was clearly unwilling to listen to any good advice?

    I’m happy to agree that Abreu deserves to be knocked for not wanting to bat leadoff. That’s certainly selfish, and bad for the team. Let’s remember, though, that Rollins, who had a really crappy OBP, didn’t want to bat anywhere else.

    I noticed some people saying that Bobby Abreu isn’t clutch. I figured it would make sense to put some numbers behind it to see if it’s just a perception that caught on or if it’s true.

    Reader Bill already weighed in with Abreu’s September batting averages in a different post, so I’ll begin by expanding on that to include Abreu’s full AVG/OBP/SLG lines in recent Septembers.

    First, his career line: .303/.411/.512. Can’t complain about that.

    September 2005: .250/.395/.396
    September 2004: .326/.483/.500
    September 2003: .308/.432/.407
    September 2002: .366/.455/.591

    OK, it looks like his power numbers were way down this season and in ’03 in September. But when you’re looking at a sample of 100 at-bats each year, and he has alternated between an excellent and subpar SLG, is it really statistically significant? I don’t think so. Plus, with OBPs like that, it’s not as if he tanked.

    How about everyone’s favorite Close and Late stats? Close and Late refers to when the game is in the 7th inning or later and is a one run affair or tied.

    Close and Late ’05: .298/.422/.571
    Close and Late ’04: .255/.445/.412
    Close and Late ’03: .318/.423/.420
    Close and Late ’02: .303/.444/.495

    First off, no one can complain that Abreu wasn’t clutch in 2005 overall. He had a two-year run where his power numbers were down in late game situations, but does that really make him “unclutch?” Maybe Abreu focused on drawing a walk or hitting a single instead of going for the fences. His OBPs were all above his career average.

    Finally, let’s see where Abreu stands with runners in scoring position.

    RISP 2005: .303/.444/.500
    RISP 2004: .322/.432/.624
    RISP 2003: .361/.473/.574
    RISP 2002: .313/.441/.556

    He’s consistently destroyed pitchers in every way with runners in scoring position.

    Some analysts don’t believe clutch hitting even exists, and the inconsistencies in this one sample seem to support that. Regardless, there’s no clear conclusion that Bobby Abreu is “not clutch.”

  75. Don M

    March 18, 2009 at 11:53 am

    So Abreu is the most clutch “Non Team Leader” in Phillies history.. nice!

    Abreu has a minimal impact on Phillies history when compared to Jimmy Rollins.. and maybe that is a seperate list or something, but when I think of Great, I don’t think of Bobby Abreu

    Good, yea…. Very Good, yea… GREAT? No…

  76. Woodman

    March 18, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    ALL RANK HIGHER THAN ABREU: Ennis, Bunning, Magee, Hamilton, Luzinski, Gravath, Schilling, Callison, Cy Williams & Rollins.

  77. Rote

    March 18, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    you have absolutely killed the credibility of this site by putting abreu at #10.

  78. Memphis

    March 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    I tend to agree with Woodman and the Abreu skeptics. I do see Bobby as a very good, never great player. Never had “it”, never had buzz, never seemed to play with fire, never really connected with me as a fan. Put him in the Hall of Very Good. I respect the quiet producer thing about him, and I love the stats, but his utter lack of signature moments has to hurt him (aside from the HR Derby). I could see the argument for Top 20 (maybe just ahead of Burrell, 22, and Callison, 20); maybe Top 15 (hard to believe though); Top 10 you’re talking Phillies royalty, and I think that’s an awkward fit. It’s a shame he put up such monster numbers on bad teams (though by 2004, 2005, we were in contention). As Griffin said, through a modern lens (OBP, power/speed numbers, etc.), he certainly looks great compared to players from other eras, etc. He was not, however, a consistent league leader in anything however, never really a solid MVP candidate (vs. Cravath for example). Some years he popped up into the Top 5 in certain categories.

    Just looking at baseball-reference.com at the Abreu years… taking a look at OBP and OPS+ and any other noteworthy stats:

    1998, age 24, .409 OBP (1st on team), 136 OPS+ (2nd to Rolen’s 139)
    1999, age 25, .446 OBP (1st on team, 3rd in NL), 146 OPS+ (1st on team), 3rd in NL in BA, 5th in runs, 1st in triples
    2000, age 26, .416 OBP (1st on team), 143 OPS+ (1st on team)
    2001, age 27, .393 OBP (1st on team), 141 OPS+ (1st on team), 4th in the NL in doubles and steals, 3rd in walks
    2002, age 28, .413 OBP (1st on team), 151 OPS+ (1st on team, Burrell 146), 1st in doubles, this is his best OPS+ year, by comparison (the top 5 in the NL), Bonds: 268, Giles 177, Sosa 160, Guerrero 160, Edmonds 158
    2003, age 29, .409 OBP (1st on team, Thome .385), 136 OPS+ (2nd on team, Thome 154)
    2004, age 30, .428 OBP (1st on team, 5th in NL, Thome .396), 145 OPS+ (1st on team, Thome 144), 4th in NL in runs and doubles, 3rd in steals
    2005, age 31, .405 OBP (1st on team, ahead of Lofton, Burrell, and Utley), 126 OPS+ (4th on team, behind Burrell, Utley and half season of Howard)
    2006, age 32, half season, .427 OBP (1st on team, just ahead of Howard), 118 OPS+ (4th on team, behind Burrell, Utley and Howard)

    He was arguably the best offensive player on the Phillies for 7-8 seasons, certainly the 5 seasons before Thome arrived in 2003. But some of those teams were awful. That was just a regrettable, forgettable stretch of seasons. (Sort of like Ibanez’s production last year, a good thing in a tough situation or misleading?)

    Again, compared to other Phillies he played with, he’s a monster. Compared to other players in the NL at that time, he’s very good, but not a Top 5, Top 10 player. And you’d think he doesn’t have the longevity to rank high on career Phillie totals. But… 8th all-time in runs (tied with Del Ennis with 1000 fewer plate appearances). 7th in total bases. 3rd in doubles. 8th in HRs. 8th in RBI. 2nd in walks behind only Schmidt. 7th in steals. And modern sabermetric stats love him, too.

    I think this debate may speak to two things: (1) There just aren’t that many VERY GOOD offensive players in the team’s long history (again Burrell ranked 22, Callison 20), so it’s easy for a modern stat machine to sneak on to the all-time lists. And (2) his career Phillie numbers may not look as impressive in 5-10-15 years, so this is sort of a favorable point in time to rank Abreu.

    I do respect the numbers, but I’d rank 6-8 recently mentioned guys above him.

  79. ryan

    March 21, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    abreu in the top ten??????? i am officially not paying any attention to the rest of this list. i’m still mad about pete rose.

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  81. Bostwick

    August 23, 2009 at 1:45 am

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  82. Pingback: iSportacus » Blog Archive » Jayson Werth: A Poor Man’s Bobby Abreu

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