Bob Kelly Abreu
(El Come Dulce)
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 200 lb.
- High School Liceo Aragua
- Debut September 1, 1996
- Final Game September 28, 2014
- Born March 11, 1974 in Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela
Bobby Abreu is a solid future Hall of Fame candidate. He was one of the most gifted players in the major leagues during his lengthy 18-year career, possessing ample power, speed and a superb batting eye. He was extremely durable and hit over .300 six times; had 20 or more stolen bases fourteen times; 100 or more RBI nine times; over 20 homers nine times; over 100 walks twelve times; an OBP of more than .400 ten times, and a career OBP of nearly 40 percent. On the downside, however, he topped 100 strikeouts in fourteen of those years. In the field he was a steady, though unspectacular, performer. Abreu had two 30/30 seasons (the first member of the Philadelphia Phillies to do so), - and seven consecutive 20/20 seasons. Despite his superior talent and outstanding statistics, he was (curiously) only a two-time All-Star selection.
Abreu was signed by the Houston Astros in 1990 and was with the organization until 1997. He topped the Pacific Coast League in triples two years in a row at Tucson in 1995 and 1996. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays with the sixth pick in the expansion draft. Abreu never played for the Devil Rays though because before the draft the Devil Rays and Phillies worked out a deal. When the Devil Rays picked Abreu, the Phillies sent shortstop Kevin Stocker to them. Stocker never panned out, mostly due to injuries, and was out of the big leagues after 2000. Abreu promptly went on to shine in Philadelphia for nearly a decade.
Abreu began to build a national following after starting in the 2005 All-Star Game and winning the Home Run Derby with a (then) record 41 total home runs; a record 24 coming in the 1st round. He beat Detroit Tigers' catcher Ivan Rodriguez in the finals.
Abreu never endeared himself to Philadelphia Phillies fans because he often took called third strikes, especially in clutch situations, a downside of his patience at the plate, and did not appear to care enough about playing right field since he did not throw himself into the wall like former Phillie Lenny "Nails" Dykstra or center fielder Aaron Rowand. Abreu's reasoning was that he did not want to be injured, and it worked since he rarely requested days off and played nearly all of the team's games during his stay in Philly.
Abreu was the only player in 2000 to be in double figures in doubles, triples, homers and stolen bases. In 2002, he played 18 games in center field and looked more comfortable there than in right. He was kept in right field due to his powerful throwing arm and in fact won a Gold Glove there in 2005. That made him only the second Phillies outfielder to win the Gold Glove Award, the other being Garry Maddox.
On July 30, 2006, he was pulled from the lineup as rumors spread that he had been traded to the New York Yankees. The rumors were true, as Abreu was involved in a six-player trade, saying "To play with those guys - Jeter, A-Rod and Giambi and those guys - it's going to make me feel good". While his power and average were down in 2006, he led the Major Leagues with 124 walks between his two teams. He was the Yankees' regular right fielder for his entire tenure in pinstripes, from July 2006 until the end of the 2008 season. He was an excellent and consistent hitter during that period, hitting between .283 and .330 with an excellent OBP and decent power. He hit 20 homers in 2008 and topped 100 RBI in both 2007 and 2008, while hitting 39 and 40 doubles. Although his throwing arm remained feared, his mobility on defense diminished during that period. After the 2008 season, he became a free agent and the Yankees chose not to re-sign him in order to free up some money to go after other big name free agent prizes. When the dust settled, Abreu signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, where he was slated to replace some of the production of Mark Teixeira, who had himself just signed with the Yankees.
Abreu played for the Venezuelan national team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, where he was the team's starting right fielder. With the Angels in 2009, he had an excellent first season when he hit .293 with 15 homers, scoring 96 runs and driving in 103 as the team's starting right fielder. He fell to .255 and .253 in full-time play in 2010 and 2011. He was still highly productive the first year, belting 41 doubles and 20 homers while scoring 88 runs, but the second year, he hit only 8 homers and scored 54 runs while being moved to the designated hitter spot following the acquisition of OF Vernon Wells in the offseason. Still, because of his excellent batting eye which resulted in 78 walks, his OPS+ was 104, and he was 21 for 26 in stolen bases attempts at age 37. The Angels were looking for more production, and with the signing of 1B Albert Pujols to a huge contract, the return of Kendrys Morales from injury, and top prospect Mike Trout chomping at the bit, Abreu was squeezed out of a starting position in 2012. There were attempts to trade him during spring training, but there were no takers given he had a year left on his contract and was due $9 million. He started the season with the Angels but received little playing time. He was batting .208 in a mere 24 at-bats when the Angels, off to a terrible start in spite of all the spending, bit the bullet and released him on April 27th in order to call up Trout, swallowing the rest of his contract. He didn't stay unemployed for long however, as the crosstown Los Angeles Dodgers signed him on May 3rd. He played 70 games for the Dodgers, hitting .251 with 2 homers and 17 RBI in 179 at-bats. But when the team acquired Shane Victorino in a trade on July 31st, he once again became supernumerary and was designated for assignment.
After not playing in 2013, Abreu was very good for the Leones del Caracas in the 2013-2014 Venezuelan League, earning a minor league contract and an invitation to spring training with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2014. He failed to make the team but was signed by the New York Mets as spring training ended. Sent to the AAA Las Vegas 51s, he hit .395 in 15 games to earn a promotion back to the Show on April 21st, taking the place of Andrew Brown. He was hitting .238 with 1 homer and 14 RBI when the Mets handed him his release on August 4th; it's not that he was playing that poorly, but with the Mets out of contention again, there was little point in playing him at the detriment of younger players like Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who was brought up to take his place. He was hitless in his last 22 at-bats as a pinch-hitter after a hot start. Not a quitter, Abreu accepted an assignment to the AAA Las Vegas 51s, where he hit .360 with 18 RBIs in 26 games, prompting the Mets to call him back after his team was eliminated from the Pacific Coast League playoffs. With a few days left in the season, he announced on September 26th that he would retire at the end of the year.
He primarily wore number 53 during his career. His brother Nelson Abreu played professionally from 1994 to 2001. His other brother, Dennis Abreu, also played professionally, as did another brother, Nielsen Abreu, who played in the minors from 2000 to 2002.
- 2-time NL All-Star (2004 & 2005)
- NL Gold Glove Winner (2005)
- NL Silver Slugger Award Winner (2004)
- NL Doubles Leader (2002)
- NL Triples Leader (1999)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 9 (1999-2005, 2008 & 2010)
- 30-Home Run Seasons: 2 (2001 & 2004)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 8 (1999-2002, 2004, 2005, 2007 & 2008)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 8 (2001 & 2003-2009)
- Consecutive seasons, 150 or more games, career, 13 (tied)
- Bill Baer: "Bobby Abreu's 2005 Home Run Derby", in 100 Things Phillies Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, Triumph Books, Chicago, IL, 2012, pp. 43-46. ISBN 978-1600786785
- Mike Berardino: "Ready for Prime Time: Bobby Abreu Has a Lead Role in New York as the Yankees Chase another Championship", South Florida Sun-Sentinel, October 3, 2006, pp. C1-. 
- Jeff Berlinicke: "Phillies' Star Bobby Abreu Deserves Greater Recognition", Baseball Digest, Volume 64, Number 5, July 2005, pp. 42-.
- Jonathan Bernhardt: "Looking For One Last Shot", Sports on Earth, April 2, 2014. 
- Don Bostrom: "Sweet Swing: The Phillies' Bobby Abreu, He of the Perfect Swing, Might Be the Best Major League Player No One Has Heard Of", The Morning Call, Allentown, PA, April 2, 2000, pp. S05-. 
- Pete Caldera: "Searching for Bobby Abreu: Renowned Patience at Plate of Yankees' Right Fielder is Missing", The Record, Hackensack, NJ, May 15, 2007, pp. S01-.
- Paul Hagen: "Bobby Ababeruth: Phillies' Abreu Master Blaster in Home Run Derby", Philadelphia Daily News, July 12, 2005, pp. 70-.
- Lee Jenkins: "They Walk The Walk: Bobby Abreu Has Taught the Angels that Patience at the Plate is a Great Virtue - and it Will Serve them Well in the ALCS", Sports Illustrated, Volume 111, Number 15, October 19, 2009, pp. 48-. 
- Rob Maaddi: "Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle Head to Bronx", The Associated Press News Service, July 31, 2006. 
- Jeff Pearlman: "Thoroughbred Phillie: Bobby Abreu Has Always Had the Tools to Be a Star, But This Year Philadelphia's Rightfielder Has the Attitude to Go with Them", Sports Illustrated, Volume 95, Number 4, July 30, 2001, pp. 40-43. 
- Jim Salisbury: "Phils' Bobby Abreu Silences His Doubters", Baseball Digest, Volume 61, Number 6, June 2002, pp. 46-48.
- Jim Salisbury: "How Good Was He? Some Philadelphia Fans Thought Bobby Abreu was Underappreciated. Others Thought he Was Overrated. So as His Phillies Era Has Ended, the Question Remains...", The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 6, 2006, pp. D07-. 
- Jesse Yomtov: "Baseball Hall of Fame countdown: Bobby Abreu deserves a much closer look", USA Today, January 6, 2020.