Bobby Abreu

Bobby Abreu
Right fielder
Born: (1974-03-11) March 11, 1974
Turmero, Aragua State, Venezuela
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 1, 1996, for the Houston Astros
Last MLB appearance
September 28, 2014, for the New York Mets
MLB statistics
Batting average .291
Hits 2,470
Home runs 288
Runs batted in 1,363
Stolen bases 400
Career highlights and awards

Bob Kelly "Bobby" Abreu (/əˈbr./; Spanish: [boβ aˈβɾeu]; born March 11, 1974), nicknamed "El Comedulce" and also "La Leche", is a former Venezuelan professional baseball outfielder. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers, and New York Mets.

Abreu is a two-time All-Star, and has won a Rawlings Gold Glove Award and a Silver Slugger Award. He has been a single-season league leader in games played (twice), doubles, and triples. Through 2014, he led active ballplayers in doubles (565), walks (1,456), and outfield assists (136), was fifth in runs scored (1,441) and in stolen bases (399), seventh in extra base hits (911) and on-base percentage (.396), and tenth in runs batted in (1,349).[1]


Houston Astros

Abreu was signed as an amateur free agent by the Houston Astros on August 21, 1990. He was the Astros Minor League Player of the Year in 1996 and made his Major League debut on September 1, 1996, against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was announced as a pinch hitter but did not get to bat because he was subsequently pinch hit for himself with Mike Simms.[2] He had his first official at-bat the following day against the St. Louis Cardinals when he flied out to left field as a pinch hitter in the top of the 6th.[3] After a few more appearances as a pinch hitter or late inning defensive replacement, he made his first start in left field against the Colorado Rockies on September 6, going hitless in four at-bats with 2 strikeouts.[4] Abreu's first Major League hit was a single to right field as a pinch hitter against Bobby Jones of the New York Mets on September 24.[5] He finished his first season with 5 hits in 22 at-bats. He hit his first two home runs in the same game on April 28, 1997, against Jamey Wright and Steve Reed of the Colorado Rockies.[6] He played in 59 games for the Astros in 1997, hitting .250 with 3 homers.

Left unprotected in the 1997 MLB Expansion Draft when the Astros decided to keep fellow Venezuelan outfielder Richard Hidalgo, Abreu was selected by the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays, only to be dealt hours later to the Phillies for shortstop Kevin Stocker,[7] a trade regarded among the worst in MLB history[8]

Philadelphia Phillies

Abreu batting for the Philadelphia Phillies.

1998–2003 seasons

In 1998, his first season with the Phillies, Abreu led the team with a .312 batting average and collected 17 home runs, 74 RBI, and 19 stolen bases in 151 games, with 271 putouts and 17 assists in right field.

In 1999, he made a brief run at the batting title. His .335 career-high average that season ranked third in the National League and was the highest posted by a Phillies player since outfielder Tony González hit .339 in 1967.[7] His .446 career-high OBP was third in the league and he tied for the league lead in triples with 11.

In 2000, he finished fourth in the league in triples (10), sixth in doubles (42), seventh in walks (100), and ninth in OBP (.416). Abreu became the first Phillie outfielder since Greg Luzinski with back-to-back 20 homer seasons.

In 2001, Abreu led the NL in games played (162), and was third in walks (106), fourth in stolen bases (36) and doubles (48), and eighth in runs (118) and sacrifice flies (9). He also hit a career-high 31 home runs and had a career-high 110 RBI.

In 2002, he led the league in doubles (50), and was sixth in walks (104), seventh in stolen bases (31) and intentional walks (13), eighth in OBP (.413), ninth in hits (176), and tenth in runs (102).

In 2003, Abreu was fourth in the league in walks (109), seventh in sacrifice flies (7), eighth in OBP (.409), and ninth in stolen bases (22).

2004 season

In 2004, Abreu got his first All-Star berth, being voted in as the National League All-Star Final Vote winner in online voting on[9]

Abreu hit the first home run at Citizens Bank Park on Opening Day, April 12, 2004. He finished the season with a .301 average, 30 home runs, and 105 RBI, and ranked among the National League top five in five offensive categories: runs (fourth, 118) -- the third time in 6 years that he scored 118 runs, doubles (fourth, 47), stolen bases (third, 40—a career high), walks (second, 127—a career high) and on-base percentage (fifth, .428). In 2004, Abreu also led the Major Leagues in pitches-per-plate-appearance (4.32) and number of pitches seen (3,077), was eighth highest in the league in total bases (312), and posted the league's tenth-best OPS (.971).

2005 season

In May, Abreu was honored as the Player of the Month in the National League, after he hit .396 and 11 home runs. He also led the NL for the month in slugging average (.792), on-base percentage (.535), and walks (30) and was tied for the league lead with 30 RBI. He became the first player in Major League history to hit at least one home run in nine out of ten team games.

He was voted a starter in the NL outfield for the All-Star Game, finishing second in fan voting, behind St. Louis Cardinals Jim Edmonds. Prior to the All-Star Game at Comerica Park in Detroit, Abreu won the Home Run Derby as he set records with 24 home runs in a single round (since broken by Josh Hamilton in 2008), and 41 overall, topping Miguel Tejada's previous marks of 15 and 27 set one year earlier. Abreu's longest homer was measured at 517 feet, the third longest in Derby history.

New York Yankees

2006 season

Abreu with the Yankees.

On July 30, 2006, Abreu was traded along with Cory Lidle to the New York Yankees for minor league shortstop C. J. Henry (a 2005 first-round draft pick), left-hander Matt Smith (a seven-year minor league veteran), catcher Jesus Sanchez, and right-hander Carlos Monasterios—all low-level prospects in the Yankee organization. Philadelphia Daily News columnist Bill Conlin called the trade "the Great Gillick Giveaway" and declared it "an unvarnished disaster." The Phillies actually improved after the Abreu trade and made a run for the National League wild card, only to be eliminated on the second to last day of the season.

Abreu fit well into the Yankees lineup. He batted .297 with 15 home runs and 107 RBI in the 2006 season. The Yankees ran away with the AL East division title by mid-September 2006, but were eliminated by the Detroit Tigers in the 2006 American League Division Series.

In 2006, Abreu led the major leagues in walks (124), pitches per plate appearance (4.45), and number of pitches seen (3,056), and was second in the major leagues in percent of plate appearances that were walks (18.5%),[10] and led the AL in percentage of pitches taken (66.2), and in walks per plate appearance (.181), third in batting average on balls in play (.375),[10] eighth in on-base percentage (.424), 18th in stolen bases (30), and 19th in doubles (41).

On September 12, 2006, Abreu drove in six runs in the first inning of the Yankees' 12–4 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Abreu began the 9-run inning by homering with Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter on base, then concluded it with a bases-loaded double that scored Hideki Matsui, Melky Cabrera and Jeter.[11] The six RBIs tied Gil McDougald's 55-year franchise record for most in one inning (McDougald batted in six runs in one inning in 1951, his rookie season). Alex Rodriguez broke the record shared by Abreu and McDougald by driving in seven runs in the sixth inning of 2009 regular season finale, also against Tampa Bay.

2007 and 2008 seasons

After getting off to a slow start in (2007), Abreu finished the season strong putting up 101 RBI, 16 home runs and a .283 batting average. In 2007, Abreu was second in the AL in runs (123), third in pitches per plate appearance (4.38), ninth in games (158) and times on base (258), and tenth in walks (84) and plate appearances (699).

Abreu hit a walk-off double on July 9, 2008. On September 18, Abreu hit 2 home runs and had 6 RBI in a game versus the Chicago White Sox and Javier Vázquez. He finished the season with a .296 average, 20 home runs, and 100 RBI. He had the last stolen base in the original Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2008.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

2009 season

On February 12, 2009, Abreu signed a $5 million, one-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and was expected to play left field. However, after Vladimir Guerrero was moved to DH due to injury, Abreu saw more action at his natural position in right field.

After struggling early in the season, Abreu hit .380 with 28 RBI in 26 games in July and was named American League player of the month. Abreu became the first Angels player to reach those figures in batting average and RBI in one calendar month since Tim Salmon, who hit .390 with 32 RBI in 27 games in July 1997.

On August 6, Abreu led off the fifth inning with a solo home run off Chicago White Sox pitcher John Danks, giving him 250 homers in his career. Abreu became one of only six players in major league history to collect 250 home runs, 2,000 hits, 1,000 runs, 1,000 runs batted in, 1,000 walks and 300 stolen bases. In 2009, he led the AL in errors by an outfielder, with 8.[12]

Though Abreu stated that he enjoyed his season with the Angels and was credited with helping many of the team's younger players to improve their swings and patience at the plate,[13] he turned down a two-year, $16 million extension on his contract on October 15.[14]

2010–2012 seasons

On November 5, 2009, the first day eligible players could file for free agency, Abreu accepted a two-year deal with the Angels, with a club option for 2012.[15] He cited the Angels manager, Mike Scioscia as one of the reasons, saying "He's one of those managers that lets you play the game, and he gives you big support." He also noted the organization publicly recognized his career achievements and consistently delivered opportunities to succeed in the postseason, saying, "This is a team that gives you an opportunity always to be in the playoffs. This time, my first time with them, I was very close to getting to the World Series, so why not stay? Of course you want a team that is going to give you opportunities to be in the World Series and win the World Series. I don't want to take a chance with someone else."[16]

During the 2011–2012 offseason, the New York Yankees proposed a trade to the Angels that would have sent starting pitcher A. J. Burnett to Anaheim for Abreu. Abreu would have become the Yankees' regular designated hitter, but Burnett vetoed the trade. On February 20, 2012, Burnett was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Yankees signed Raúl Ibañez to be the DH. Abreu was already annoyed that he wouldn't be playing every day for the Angels, and when he learned what Burnett had done, he ordered Angels' management to either play him every day as the designated hitter or trade him. Another proposed trade, which would have sent Abreu to the Cleveland Indians for Lou Marson, fell through.[17] Abreu was released by the Angels on April 27, 2012 and replaced on the roster by future Rookie of the Year and MVP Award winner Mike Trout.[18]

Los Angeles Dodgers

Abreu as a member of the L.A. Dodgers

On May 4, 2012, Abreu signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.[19] He was designated for assignment on August 1, 2012. Abreu cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to AAA Albuquerque. He had 6 hits in his 17 at-bats for the Isotopes before rejoining the Dodgers as a September call-up, spending the last month of the season as a pinch hitter. He played in 92 games with the Dodgers, hitting .246.

Second stint with Phillies

After sitting out the 2013 season, Abreu participated in the 2013–14 Venezuelan Winter League and logged a .322 batting average in 180 plate appearances with Leones del Caracas. On January 21, 2014, Abreu signed a minor league contract with the Phillies.[20] He was released before the season on March 27.

New York Mets

Bobby Abreu batting for the New York Mets in 2014

On March 31, 2014, Abreu signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets.[21] On April 21, the Mets promoted Abreu from the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s, after trading Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates.[22] He was designated for assignment on August 4 and officially released on August 10.[23][24] However, just four days later on August 14, the Mets re-signed Abreu to another minor league contract.[25] He was called back up to the majors on September 9, 2014. Abreu announced his retirement from baseball on September 26.[26] He singled in his final at-bat on September 28.[27]

Batting style

Abreu was noted for his plate discipline.[28][29] In 2009, he led the American League in percent of pitches taken at 67.5%,[30] while also having the fourth lowest percentage of swinging at the first pitch at 9.5%.[31]


Personal life

Abreu dated former Miss Universe Alicia Machado; the couple later split, calling off their engagement.[32][33]

In the community

Abreu was involved in many events in the Philadelphia and Delaware Valley communities. In 2001, he was the Honorary Chairman for the American Red Cross Blood Drive.

Abreu bought $10,000 worth of tickets to most Friday night games for children in his "Abreu's Amigos" organization during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. In this program, the children got jerseys, coupons for concessions, and chances to meet Abreu on the field during batting practice.

Abreu was the 2004 recipient of the Phillies Community Service award and the Phillies' representative for MLB's Roberto Clemente Award.

In 2008, Abreu made a contribution to the Police Athletic League of New York City through his Abreu's Finest charity wine to provide boys and girls with recreational, educational, cultural and social programs.

Abreu is known as "El Comedulce" in Venezuela. The name translates roughly to "the candy-eater", which had been his father Nelson Abreu's nickname. Following Nelson's death, Abreu "began asking people to call him the same name as a way of honoring his father's memory."[34]

See also


  1. "Bobby Abreu statistics and history". Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  2. "September 1, 1996 Astros vs. Pirates box score". September 1, 1996. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  3. "September 2, 1996 Astros vs. Cardinals box score". September 2, 1996. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  4. "September 6, 1996 Rockies at Astros box score". September 6, 1996. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  5. "September 24, 1996 Mets at Astros box score". September 24, 1996. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  6. "April 28, 1997 Rockies at Astros box score". April 28, 1997. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  7. 1 2 "Player Profiles Bobby Abreu". Retrieved September 12, 2008.
  9. "Matsui, Abreu win Final Vote". Retrieved September 12, 2008.
  10. 1 2 "Major League Leaderboards » 2006 » Batters » Advanced Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball". October 7, 1992. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  11. "Retrosheet Boxscore: New York Yankees 12, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4". September 12, 2006. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  12. "Yearly League Leaders & Records for Errors Committed as OF". Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  13. Bollinger, Rhett. Abreu surpasses Angels' expectations, Major League Baseball. Published October 9, 2009. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  14. Heyman, Jon. Bobby Abreu turns down 2-year, $16M offer from Los Angeles Angels, Sports Illustrated. Published October 15, 2009. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  15. Spencer, Lyle (November 5, 2009. Retrieved November 5, 2009). "Angels agree to two-year deal with veteran Bobby Abreu". Major League Baseball. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  16. "Abreu re-signs with Angels". Associated Press. November 5, 2009. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  17. Plunkett, Bill (April 27, 2012). "Angels add Trout; release Abreu". Orange County Register. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  18. DiGiovanna, Mike (April 27, 2012). "Angels release Bobby Abreu, call up Mike Trout after 3-2 loss". Los Angeles Times.
  19. "Dodgers sign veteran outfielder Abreu". May 24, 2013. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  20. Bobby Abreu returns to Phillies
  21. "Mets sign Bobby Abreu – HardballTalk". Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  22. Mike Vorkunov, New Jersey Star-Ledger, After year off, Bobby Abreu Returns to Baseball and Major Leagues with Mets, April 24, 2014
  23. "Mets cut slumping Abreu, calling up OF Nieuwenhuis". Associated Press. August 4, 2014. Retrieved August 5, 2014.
  24. "Minor Moves: Falu, Mills, Abreu, Kalish, Herrmann". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  25. "Mets Re-Sign Bobby Abreu". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  26. "Mets OF Bobby Abreu announces retirement". Associated Press. September 26, 2014. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  27. "Mets' Bobby Abreu ends career with single against Astros". Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  28. Axisa, Mike (April 21, 2014). "Mets call up Bobby Abreu to bolster bench". CBS Sports. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  29. Jaffe, Jay (April 21, 2014). "Veterans Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi resurface for another look". Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  30. James, Bill. The Bill James Handbook. ACTA. p. 418.
  31. James, Bill. The Bill James Handbook. ACTA. p. 421.
  32. Sanchez, Jesse (June 12, 2006). [Phillies' Abreu often underrated in the United States Phillies' Abreu often underrated in the United States] Check |url= value (help). Retrieved October 1, 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  33. Berardino, Mike (May 15, 2005). "Mom, this homer is for you". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  34. "Bobby sweet by any name". New York Daily News. August 11, 2006. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved August 30, 2007.

External links

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Preceded by
Mike Schmidt Most Valuable Player
Succeeded by
Pat Burrell & Chase Utley
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Derrek Lee
National League Player of the Month
May 2005
Succeeded by
Andruw Jones
Preceded by
B. J. Upton
American League Player of the Month
July 2009
Succeeded by
Kendry Morales
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