Keane observations about life, politics and sports.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Is Bobby Abreu a Future Baseball Hall of Famer?

Bobby Abreu is not a knock your socks off with amazing statistics type of Hall of Fame baseball player. It is easy to dismiss his case for enshrinement. He's never lead the league in any major offensive category. He hits for some power but doesn't have the totals to compete with the power numbers of his generation. He runs the bases well, but stolen bases don't get you in the Hall unless you're setting records. What Abreu brings to the conversation is incredible consistency and reliability. Ask a manager what they want from their players and pretty high on the list will be to know the player will always be available to play and will give predictably good performance. Since he became a full time player in 1994, Abreu has played more than 150 games every year. His 162 game average is Runs 103, Homers 21, RBI 97, SB 28, and BB 103. That is very valuable performance for a team to know they can count on. His career On-Base Percentage is a stellar .400 meaning he reaches base four out of every ten plate appearances. People may read this and laugh at the notion of Abreu as a Hall of Famer. To them I'd say consider Tony Gwynn. Gwynn was a first ballot Hall of Famer, but Abreu has actually provided more offensive value to his teams. The difference is in Bases of Balls (BB). Gwynn while garnering over 3,000 hits only drew 434 walks. By contrast, Abreu has already walked 1,387 times. That disparity is why Abreu has already scored more runs in his career than Gwynn. The object of the game is to score more runs than your opposition.

Abreu draws too many walks to reach any of the supposedly magic numbers like 3,000 hits. It is impossible to predict how players will age. Having said that, if Abreu can remain healthy and produce a couple more good seasons he will merit very serious consideration. He could finish with 300+ homers, 400+ SB's, 1,500 Runs, 1,400 RBI, and close to 600 doubles. Add them all up and you've had one heck of a career.



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