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Bobby Be Berry, Berry Good
2005-03-18 04:49
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

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.

Comments
2005-03-18 06:34:42
1.   Chris
Abreu is one of my favorite players. On my trip to the new park last year, one of the first games of the season, he got booed for striking out with men on base and for allowing hits to fall anywhere in right field. I hope he stays with the Phils for a long time and in the twilight of his career is thought of as an Edgar Martinez-type, as in, "this guy's been good for 18 years and never complained about anything, while his his flashier teammates who we were so into whined their way off the team."
2005-03-18 07:05:31
2.   Murray
Tim Raines is highly comparable to Abreu in terms of talent, but nobody ever thought Raines was hurting his team. Then again, Raines never played for the Phillies.

Just think: the Phillies traded Kevin Stocker to get Abreu.

2005-03-18 07:09:51
3.   Ben
I joined a fantasy league this year, and though I didn't get Abreu in the draft, I've been going back and forth with another player to get him. Funny enough I'm trying to give her Rolen for Abreu, small world. What impressed me so much about Abreu was his consistency. Really incredible over the past five or so years. always 150 plus games, great average, lots of walks, steals, some power, I say some only in relation to league averages these days. I'm not sure about him defensively since I don't really care fantasy-wise and I don't get to watch him much. And the funny thing about his consistency is that it isn't just end-noted. The guy hits around .300 all year long, not too many slumps. Very impressive.
2005-03-18 07:45:26
4.   Chris
Good point re: consistency. I think he's missed only 12 games in the last four years. Abreu is one of those rare players who walks and steals and hits singles, doubles, triples, and homers. I dig that.

Murray, I see Stocker x. Abreu ranks 20th over on Mike's lopsided trade list, and Mike thinks it could be in the top ten in a couple of years.
2005-03-18 08:15:17
5.   Murray
I'm not exactly sure, but the Abreu/Stocker trade happened immediately after the expansion draft, and I think there was some sort of pre-arrangement between Tampa and Philly. If anybody knows the details, I'm interested.
2005-03-18 09:38:49
6.   Cliff Corcoran
Cat's out of the bag, aye? I'd been meaning to write a "Most Underrated Player in the Game: Bobby Abreu" post for a while. It's been a rainy day subject but my rainy days have required far too much time bailing out the basement (to completely overextend the metaphor).

Anyway. Amen. Abreu is criminally underappreciated. I seem to remember that the most underrated player in the game was once believed to be Garret Anderson. The problem is Anderson can't hold a candle to Abreu. It almost demeans Abreu to make the comparison.

I really must write about this at some point.

2005-03-18 11:01:07
7.   Mike Carminati
Maybe if he goes in the Hall, the fans in Philly will finally appreciate him.

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