The Phillies Nation Top 100: #11 Bobby Abreu

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, February 19, 2014 06:00 PM | Comments: 31
Features, History, Phillies Nation Top 100 - 2014

The Phillies Nation Top 100 continues today with #11. Our mission is to assess the Top 100 Phillies players of all time using impact to the Phillies, individual achievement, team achievement, traditional stats, and analytics as our criteria. The list was compiled by Ian Riccaboni and Pat Gallen with input from the rest of the Phillies Nation staff. 

From this point forward, each weekday, we will reveal two Phillies from the PN Top 100 in separate posts. To view the players listed thus far, please click here. To view the 2008 iteration of the list of Greatest Phillies of All Time as compiled by Tim Malcolm, please click here.

Please check back tomorrow morning for #10.

#11 – Bobby Abreu

Years: 1998-2006, Present

.303/.416/.513, 195 HR, 254 SB in 5885 PA

Previous Rank: 10 (-1)

fWAR Phillies Rank: 6th among position players, 9th among Phillies

Signature Moment: Hit 41 total home runs, including 24 first-round homers, to win the 2005 Home Run Derby

Back-to-Back All-Star Selections (2004-2005), Won Silver Slugger (2004), Won Gold Glove (2005)

For someone who ranks fourth in team history in doubles, 11th in home runs, ninth in runs scored, tenth in RBI, seventh in steals, third in BB%, 24th in batting average, ranks 9th in SLG, leads all Phillies with 1500 or more PA in OBP after 1910, and ranks second in OPS under the same criteria, Bobby Abreu gets very little respect from Phillie fans.

Acquired from the Devil Rays for Kevin Stocker in one of the greatest trades in Phillies history, Abreu won the starting right field job out of camp in 1998 and never looked back, hitting .312/.409/.497 in his first full season in the Majors. Arguably, Abreu’s best season with the Phillies came in 2004 when he hit 30 HR and stole 40 bags while hitting .301/.428/.544. Abreu led the league in doubles in 2002 and triples in 1999 and was top 10 in OBP in every year he was with the Phillies aside from 2001.

Abreu was traded with pitcher Cory Lidle on July 30, 2006 for what amounted to reliever Matt Smith and some prospects that did not pan out. Abreu’s time in Philly ended with no World Series rings, or even playoff runs, to show for it but he certainly made an impact on the Phillies all-time leader boards. Abreu’s stats hold up comparatively well as well for his time: from 1998 through 2006, Abreu led all Major League right fielders in fWAR , plate appearances, runs, steals, BB%, and ranked 11th in homers, sixth in RBI, 11th in BA, third in OBP, 11th in SLG, and eighth in OPS. Abreu’s consistent well-above-average play also puts him fifth among all Major Leaguers in WAR from 1998 through 2006.

Abreu has returned to the Phillies organization on a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training in 2014 one year removed from last playing in the Majors. Abreu’s Hall of Fame case is an interesting one, a man who did so many things right but never was a true standout in any one category. He resides 114th all-time in bWAR, 77th all-time in OBP, 80th in runs scored, 22nd in walks, 74th in steals, 51st in total times on base, and is 13th overall in Major League history in Baseball Reference’s Power/Speed numbers. Hopefully, Abreu has some of that power and/or speed left in the tank for 2014.

Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 839 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

  • Posts: 0 Bart Shart

    Hopefully Bobby will add to those impressive numbers this year. I wish him bundles of success and he may really benefit from a platoon. Gotta be optimistic

  • Posts: 0 mudmin

    Funny how his signature moment was blamed for his sudden decrease in power. He was so underappreciated here, maybe we should make it a point not to rag on him this time around.

  • Posts: 0 Jay Edwards

    How he won a Gold Glove I’ll never understand.

  • Posts: 0 c. schreiber

    He’s #11!!!!! Christ sake…..

  • Posts: 0 SirAlden

    This is the Stupidest Myopic Ranking I have ever seen. He was traded away on purpose. He does not deserve to even be in the top 50. Over Chuck Klein? Dick Allen? Jim Bunning? Ryan Howard?

    Abreu was the ultimate stat padder. Never risked his body to catch anything. Time after time watching peacefully as singles and doubles dropped in. Top 11 in all Phillies History? You should be ashamed, ASHAMED, of yourself.

    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      I agree with the first three words.

      • Posts: 0 wbramh


    • Posts: 0 Mike B

      Sounds like you’re entitled to a full refund.

  • Posts: 0 mudmin

    Yeah…I think this really points out the fault in using (x)War over a career to explain a player’s value.

    I think that just as we have to really explain the word “Valuable” in the MVP debating, “Greatest” really needs some ‘splaining too.

    While I think Bobby was undervalued by the fans during his first time here, I agree that he probably shouldn’t be at least top 25 as far as “Greatest” Phillies.

    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Just curious — what was so distasteful about him as to outweigh all the value he added on the field?

  • Posts: 1059 betasigmadeltashag

    Avatar of betasigmadeltashag

    Here is the perfect point on how advanced stats and saber-metrics fails when it comes to some players. Abreu was an above average player on a bad team. There is no way he should be in the top 50 not to mention top 15.
    He in no way is a HOFer. There has to be something to say about him being traded for what turned out to be nothing. The team started winning. And as far as the Gold Glove the voters must have never seen him play. He may not have a lot of errors, but he rarly made a play and an average arm. And no disrespect to a walk is as good as a hit mantra in some situations you need to swing the bat especially on a bad team.

    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      If someone wants to say they didn’t like Abreu for whatever reason, and argue that temperament or off-the-field behavior should also be taken into account, that’s fine. But it doesn’t help credibility to discount what he did on the field. While he was a below average fielder, he was well above average on the bases. And there are only 4 or 5, at most 6, better hitters in Phillies history.

      And did the Phillies start winning because Abreu left, or did it have something to do with Rollins, Howard, Utley, and Hamels all coming into their prime at the same time?

      • Posts: 0 Betasigmadeltashag

        My point was that sometimes there is more to how a team reacts and succeeds other than stats. None of us were the club house but some reports at the time seemed as if he was not the best teammate. And that should be takin into account when rating a player in an organization.

      • Posts: 452 Ian Riccaboni

        Avatar of Ian Riccaboni


        - Curt Schilling and Scott Rolen were also reportedly “bad teammates” yet they both have World Series rings.

        - The Phillies payroll each of the years following Abreu’s departure, Jimmy Rollins had an MVP season, Utley should have gotten more consideration for an MVP, and Cole Hamels did all he needed to do to win them a World Series. Also, Jayson Werth was the second most valuable outfielder from 2007 through 2010 in the NL according to fWAR. Their young players got better, they spent more money, and Werth was an incredible payoff to a low-risk gamble.

      • Posts: 0 Vinnie

        Abreau was ranked #10 on the 2008 list, without the use of advanced metrics. He is ranked #11 with them. I would say he has very good numbers.

        I noticed that Rollins and Utley have not been mentioned yet. Not sure how it will end up, but I’m sure #1 and #2 will not change.

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr

    I liked Abreu when he was here. I was slightly surprised top 15 but its no biggie to me. Im just confused as to why they picked him up. I know its a invite to Spring training deal but…

  • Posts: 0 wbramh

    Seems like I just made this point a day or two ago but it never ceases to amaze how some people, when given anonymity on the Internet, direct words like “stupid” at others as if they’re having a conversation with a paint can rather than another human being… even over an opinion about a #%$& game.

    Have we really devolved into a nation of boorish and masked bullies?
    “Shame” is an applicable word here but directed at the wrong person.

    I have an opinion on Abreu at #11 but frankly, I’m too sickened to share it, now.
    Perhaps it’s time we all used our real names on the Web to see if that doesn’t recapture a modicum of civility.

    End of sermon.

    • Posts: 3073 Chuck A.

      Avatar of Chuck A.

      Ok….I’ll come clean. My real name is Chuck A. But you can just call me Chuck. The “A” is just there to differentiate myself from a few other Chucks that sometimes post on here. Oh, also….the “A” IS the first letter of my last name…which is also real.

      Just wanted to set the record straight for the sake of your argument/suggestion…which is a pretty good one I might add.

      Go Phillies 2014!

      • Posts: 0 c. schreiber

        Thank you Chuck A. I understand trying to seperate all the “chucks” on here as I too am a Chuck. In fact, a Chuck A(middle Name) so that’s why I’m on here with my first initial and LAST name. I’m not afraid to show my name Wbramh!!! What’s yours?

  • Posts: 0 Sandy Durso

    Abreu is a great example of two things.
    1. How stats can give you a false impression of a players value
    2. The concept of addition by subtraction.

    Abreu was a gutless, slouch who dragged the whole team down with his lackluster attitude and play. Did he have offensive talent? The numbers prove without doubt that he did, but what the numbers don’t show are intangibles such as his ability in big situations to actively look for a walk as opposed to putting the ball in play or his complete unwillingness to exert himself to track down a fly ball that was not hit directly to him.
    But I think the biggest failure of Abreu was his failure to be a positive leader and mentor to younger teammates in the club house. His selfish and lackluster attitude was like a cancer to the entire team spreading itself out until it poisoned each and every other player and aspect of the team. I don’t care who the Phillies traded him for. The moment they were rid of him was the moment the team took on an entirely different outlook and began to win. True they did not make the playoffs that season but the second half of the season after Abreu was gone they performed a lot better. The change in the club house with new leaders such a Chase Utley carried into the following season and began the Phillies run of division championships and of course their eventual World Series win.
    Now in 2014 the cancer is back.

    • Posts: 0 Don M @DonM409

      This is satire, right??

      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        Unfortunately it appears there’s a segment of the fanbase that bought into this stuff. Imagine knowing so much about a person just by watching them from a distance, or on TV. Truly amazing.

      • Posts: 0 Don M @DonM409

        schmenkman …. I think Abreu suffers from the same disease that JD Drew had in that the game comes so easy to them it looks like they aren’t hustling … I remember a Phillies game at Camden Yards when Abreu hit a bloop into the OF … saw the defender was intending to let it drop, and he turned it into a double … his numbers are incredible. His biggest fault was being on a team that wasn’t ready to utilize his talent. He was the best player on a bad team.

    • Posts: 0 Dave

      When was the last time you were in the clubhouse to make a judgement about anyone…. Stats don’t lie.

  • Posts: 0 Sandy Durso

    Just another quick memory I have to share . My oldest son is now 20 and growing up we would go to Phillies games and to minor league games. We were at a Camden Riversharks game one night and an outfielder with the name Abreu was playing( I think it was Bobby Abreu’s cousin but I am not sure. My son who was under 10 at that time asked me if the player was related to Bobby Abreu to which I replied I wasn’t sure. No sooner had I said that then a fly ball was hit to the man who proceeded to let it drop right in front of him without any effort to catch it. My son turned to me and said “Yep he’s related”. From the mouths of babes

    • Posts: 0 Dave

      Tell your kid I want 50 bucks on pump 2…. Super unleaded…. Then tell him I said to stop daydreaming about the time he tried to catch a fly ball.

  • Posts: 0 c. schreiber

    Since he’s the #11 rated Phillie of All Time than I guess I’ll take the Vegas line of 35-1 on the P’s winning it all. With a guy who’s rated better than the outfielders who were listed before him I’m betting my house. Now if RAJ can only resign Jim Bunning, Steve Carlton and Richie Ashburn we’ll be a shoo-in.

  • Posts: 3073 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Well, being ashamed aside….Mr. Sir Alden DOES make a valid point about him being in front of Klein, Howard, Allen and Bunning.

  • Posts: 0 Greg

    What a stupid response.

    I agree with everything SirAlden says besides the top 50 part…and the below posters about how we started WINNING once he was traded him. David Dellucci was a better player for us that season. He’s had a great career, he probably deserves top 30, but a top 11 Phillie? Har har har. One of the most overrated Phillies ever. Dude only ever cared about his stats. The reason he made no errors is because he never dove for balls. Never. That gold glove was just the icing on the cake of his overratedness.

    The reason he deserves top 30 is because he was the walk king. 7 straight 100 walk seasons. Combine that with his speed and power, damn good player. But better Phillie than Ryan Howard? Please.

  • Posts: 0 wbramh

    Always good to show deference to true royalty.

  • Posts: 0 Dave

    Ian … I think your report is right on. I would have put Rolen a little higher because of his defense.

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