Rany Jazayerli wrote a terrific article on Bobby Abreu yesterday over at Baseball Prospectus (registration required). Jazayerli contends that not only is Abreu the most over-looked star in the game today, but that he's on putting together a Hall of Fame career (Abreu is this generation's Rock Raines). Course, I know that I've not been alone in being a big Abreu fan--Joe Sheehan has raved about him for years. But it is nice to finally see a thorough appreciation of Philadelphia's durable right fielder. (I used to dream that Abreu would replace Paulie O in right field. Aaahh, so much for that.)
Here's the bit that struck a chord with me:
The main reasons why Abreu is so underrated are that rather than having one recognizable skill, he makes his game contributions in a variety of ways; and that rather than having an outlier MVP-caliber season surrounded by a series of lower-quality campaigns, he settles for giving the same MVP-candidate performance, year after year.
So the things that make him so underrated are the same reasons why, if anything, we should appreciate him even more.
I couldn't agree more. Reminds me of what Bill James once wrote about Bernie Williams:
[Williams is] So steady and unwavering he goes unnoticed…If a player is accomplished in three, four, five areas, it is harder to recognize the breadth of his total accomplishment. Williams spreads his accomplishment all over the statistical map. He hits doubles and home runs, he draws walks, he hits for a high average, he runs well, he plays a key defensive position, and he bats from both sides of the plate…He tends to be overlooked in the discussions of the best players because his talent isn’t isolated in one area—it’s everywhere.
Let's hope Abreu remains healthy and continues to have a wonderful career.