ABREU, BOBBY  
 
Image of    Nickname:   N/A Position:   RF
Home: Maracay, Venezuela Team:   Retired
Height: 6' 0" Bats:   L
Weight: 225 Throws:   R
DOB: 3/11/1974 Agent: Peter and Ed Greenberg
Birth City: Aragua, Venezuela Draft: 1990 - Astros - Free agent - Out of Venezuela
Uniform #: N/A  
 
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
1991 GCL Astros   56 183 21 55 7 3 0 20 10   17 27     .301
1992 SAL ASHEVILLE     480 81 140 21 4 8 48 15   63 79     .292
1993 FSL OSCEOLA     474 62 134 21 17 5 55 10   51 90     .283
1994 TL JACKSON     400 61 121 25 9 16 73 12   42 81     .303
1995 PCL TUCSON     415 72 126 24 17 10 75 16   67 120     .304
1996 PCL TUCSON     484 86 138 14 16 13 68 24   83 111     .285
1996 NL ASTROS $109.00 15 22 1 5 1 0 0 1 0   2 3     .227
1997 NL ASTROS $150.00 59 188 22 47 10 2 3 26 7   21 48     .250
1997 AA NEW ORLEANS     194 25 52 9 4 2 22 7           .268
1998 NL PHILLIES $180.00 151 497 68 155 29 6 17 74 19   84 133     .312
1999 NL PHILLIES $400.00 152 546 118 183 35 11 20 93 27   109 113     .335
2000 NL PHILLIES $2,933.00 154 576 103 182 42 10 25 79 28   100 116     .316
2001 NL PHILLIES $4,983.00 162 588 118 170 48 4 31 110 36   106 137     .289
2002 NL PHILLIES $6,000.00 157 572 102 176 50 6 20 85 31   104 117     .308
2003 NL PHILLIES $9,100.00 158 577 99 173 35 1 20 101 22   109 126     .300
2004 NL PHILLIES $10,600.00 159 574 119 173 47 1 30 105 40   127 116     .301
2005 NL PHILLIES $13,100.00 162 588 104 168 37 1 24 102 31   117 134     .286
2006 NL PHILLIES $13,500.00 98 339 61 94 25 2 8 65 20 4 91 86 .427 .434 .277
2006 AL YANKEES   58 209 37 69 16 0 7 42 10 2 33 52 .419 .507 .330
2007 AL YANKEES $15,600.00 158 605 123 171 40 5 16 101 25 8 84 115 .369 .445 .283
2008 AL YANKEES $16,000.00 156 609 100 180 39 4 20 100 22 11 73 109 .371 .471 .296
2009 AL ANGELS $5,000.00 152 563 96 165 29 3 15 103 30 8 94 113 .390 .435 .293
2010 AL ANGELS $9,000.00 154 573 88 146 41 1 20 78 24 10 87 132 .352 .435 .255
2011 AL ANGELS $9,000.00 142 502 54 127 30 1 8 60 21 5 78 113 .353 .365 .253
2012 NL ANGELS $9,000.00 8 24 1 5 3 0 0 5 0 0 2 5 .259 .333 .208
2012 NL DODGERS   92 195 28 48 8 1 3 19 6 2 35 51 .361 .344 .246
2012 PCL ALBUQUERQUE   5 17 2 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 4 .450 .412 .353
2013 - did not play                                
2014 NL METS   78 133 12 33 9 0 1 14 1 0 20 21 .342 .338 .248
2014 PCL LAS VEGAS   26 75 11 27 8 0 1 18 0 0 16 14 .473 .507 .360
PERSONAL:

GREW UP IN VENEZUELA

  • Bobby grew up near Maracay, a town located two hours from the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. The rain forest flourishes there, with white-face monkeys, tapirs, and anteaters.

  • When Abreu first reported to the Houston Astros' academy there in the late 1980s, he was 14 years old, weighed 127 pounds and liked to hack as much as Guerrero.

    "Every young Latin player is a free swinger," said Andres Reiner, who ran the academy. "Bobby was no different."

    Abreu remembers the day he started to refine his game: May 1, 1997, Astros versus Expos at Olympic Stadium, and Craig Biggio led off the fourth inning with a double off Pedro Martinez. Abreu, batting second, followed with a fly ball to left on a 1-and-2 count. After the inning, Biggio approached Abreu—then in his first full season in the bigs—and told him that he should have been more selective, at least hit a ground ball to the right side.

    "Since then," Abreu says, "it's been automatic." (Lee Jenkins-Sports Illustrated-October 19, 2009)

  • His father died in 1993, when Bobby was 19 years old. As the oldest child, he became the bread-winner for the family, and still is. Abreu grew up with three brothers and two sisters in a home without a phone. Food was always there, even if shoes sometimes weren't. But his memory is not of being poor.

    "It was just different than life in the United States," he says. People walked or rode a bicycle. Bobby started working at age 12, crating fruit at the local supermarket and later loaded trucks, all for a pittance doled to him in bolivars, the local currency.

  •  
  • He played soccer and basketball, and mostly baseball, which he learned in the street with no glove and a small rubber ball. His father, Nelson, loved baseball. Davey Concepcion, the former Cincinnati Reds star shortstop, owned a farm near the Abreus. Nelson Abreu was confined to a wheelchair. His biggest joy was watching Major League games from the United States on television.

  • Bobby's Dad never got to see the dream come true of his son playing in the majors. He went to Cuba for an operation two days before Christmas in 1992. The hope was that he would walk again. Instead, three ulcers exploded in his chest and he died. "It's so sad to think about," Bob said. "He was alone. We didn't have that kind of money to send the whole family to Cuba. They called and told us he had died. He was a nice person. He would have been so proud."

  •  
  • At one time, Bob knew only three words of English: hi, goodbye, and toilet. Since arriving in the United States from Venezuela, Bob has used TV to master the English language. Action movies and sports highlights are his favorites. "I watch television too much," Abreu said, laughing. "I watch HBO, because they have good movies. I also like to watch SportsCenter and it's helping me pick things up in English."

    He now speaks quite fluently.

  • His father named him Bob Kelly Abreu after former Major League outfielder Pat Kelly.

  • Bob's younger brothers, Dennis and Nielsen are two shortstops that scouts predict my be better than Bob in a few years. They are both in the Chicago Cubs' organization.

  • In 1995, Bob led all of the minor leagues in triples. And he led the PCL for the second year in a row (for triples) in 1996.

  • After the 1998 season, Abreu won the Venezuelan League batting title with a .419 average—highest in league history. And he was second in stolen bases (13).

  •  
  • Each month, Bobby, who is single, sends money home to his mother, Agueda. After the 1998 season, he took his mother and two sisters to Disney World for 15 days. After the 1999 season, a trip to the Amazon region was the choice.

    "You can go there and play with anacondas," Abreu said, his eyes bright with excitement. "This is a dream," he said of his life in the Majors.

  • Abreu said his best friend on the Phillies is infielder Alex Arias.

  • Abreu has become a real hero in Venezuela, flashing his bright smile on commercials for Pepsi and InterBank.

    BENCHINGS IN 2000

  • In 2000, then-Phillies manager Terry Francona benched Abreu for two games in June for arriving late to the ballpark. Some found it too convenient that the two games Abreu missed were against the Mets' Mike Hampton and Al Leiter, two of the toughest lefties in baseball.

    Abreu alienated several teammates with his chronic tardiness and what is perceived as a selfish attitude. Former Phillie Ron Gant really gave Abreu an earful. Other teammates also felt Abreu is not always prepared to play and is easily distracted during games.

  •  
  • Abreu was benched again September 15, 2000 for being late to the clubhouse. Players were required to be there by 3:30 p.m. At 3:45, then-Phillies manager Terry Francona took Abreu's name off the starting lineup.

    "Whether I'm here or whether he's on a different team, one of the things I'd like to accomplish is to get him to have more respect for his teammates," Francona said.

    Abreu arrived at 3:55. "Caught in traffic," he said.

    When notified he'd been taken out of the lineup, Bobby was obviously upset, pulling on his socks very forcefully and shaking his head. His voice was tinged with anger. "Things happen in traffic, and it's not my fault. But everybody can take it the way they want to," he said.

  • Bobby claimed he muscled up during the offseason before 2003 spring training, saying his bulked-up frame was the result of a lot of hard work in the weight room. But before 2004 spring training started, Abreu admitted that he was not in shape when camp opened in 2003. He changed that in 2004.

  • Fans have been harsh on Abreu over the years for his sometimes lackadaisical play and occasional defensive lapses. Former Phillies Manager Larry Bowa said that's a matter of perception. It was that way with Mike Schmidt.

  •  
    "I don't think he was lazy," Bowa said. "I think he had the same demeanor as Schmidt. He had so much natural ability, it sometimes looked like he isn't trying. I think (Abreu's) getting better jumps on balls. I think he's taking more pride in that part of the game."

    Bowa cited Abreu's maturation, and his ability to not take bad at-bats into right field with him, which sometimes cost him.

  • Bobby has an easygoing manner, an upbeat and outgoing personality that, with his ability to speak English and Spanish, make him a good guy in a clubhouse.

  • When Abreu joined the Mets in late April 2014 after signing at the end of Spring Training, many were skeptical of what he could provide the team in the twilight of his career. But, Abreu has proven to be a valuable asset both on and off the field in the Mets' first half.

    He was hitting and filling in when needed for a struggling Chris Young and injured Eric Young Jr. in June 2014.  "He doesn't just talk about the preparation to be an off-the-bench player; he talks about hitting period," said Mets manager Terry Collins. "He talks about the discipline at the plate, he talks about situational hitting."

  •  

    Younger players Ruben Tejada, Juan Lagares, and even Kirk Nieuwenhuis have benefited from Abreu's hitting expertise and knowledge of the game, and the improvements recently are showing off. "I like to have him explain the little things and try to learn a lot from him," said Tejada.

    "[I] just tell them about what they can do in special situations in the game, how they can get a good approach at the plate, a game plan, so they can develop it to the game," said Abreu. "I think it's going to help them [for] the future. Ruben's starting to do better. ... Now he's more consistent at the plate. Lagares is going to be an All-Star, no doubt. So I'm just giving them simple advice to make them be better players than they already are." As for his ability to still produce as a 40-year-old, Abreu is just glad his advice is being backed up on the field.

    "One way is to talk and another way is to execute," he said. "But [I'm] doing both, so they understand what it's all about." (Kring-Schreifels - mlb.com - 7/12/14)


    TRANSACTION REPORT

  • 1990: He was signed by the Astros out of high school in Venezuela.

  • November 1997: The Devil Rays picked Abreu as their third pick in the Expansion Draft. But later that night, they traded Bobby to the Phillies for infielder Kevin Stocker. (Editor's note: Big mistake.)

  • January 18, 2000: Bobby signed a three-year, $14.25 million contract with the Phillies.

  •  
  • February 2002: Abreu signed a five-year, $64 million contract with the Phillies. A team option could make the deal worth $78 million.

  • July 30, 2006: The Yankees sent shortstop C.J. Henry, pitchers Matt Smith and Carlos Monasterios and catcher Jesus Sanchez to the Phillies, acquiring Abreu and P Cory Lidle.

    Abreu visited New York during the holidays late in 2005 and loved the atmosphere so much that he bought a condo on the Upper East Side. It was mainly for an investment, but when the Phillies dealt him to the Yankees, Bobby moved right in.

  • November 2, 2007: The Yankees picked up the $16 million option on Abreu for the 2008 season.

  • October 30, 2008: Abreu filed for free agency.

  • February 11, 2009: Bobby signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the Angels. Abreu can also earn another $1 million in incentives. (That was far below the three-year, $48-million deal Abreu was reportedly seeking after filing for free agency . . . and a bargain for the Angels.)

  • November 5, 2009: Abreu signed a two-year, $19 million contract with the Angels. The pact calls for $9 million for 2010 and 2011, with an option for 2012 or a $1 million buyout.

  • April 27, 2012: The Angels released Bobby.

  • May 4, 2012: Abreu signed with the Dodgers.

    August 1, 2012: The Dodgers released Bobby.

  •  
  • January 21, 2014: Abreu received a look by the Phillies in Spring Training, after being out of the game for a year.

  • February 16, 2014:  Bobby signed a Minor League contract with the Phillies, which is worth $800,000 if he makes the big league roster.

    But on March 26, 2014, Abreu was told he would not make the Opening Day roster.

  • March 31, 2014: The Mets signed Abreu to a Minor League contract.

    August 5, 2014: The Mets designated Bobby for assignment. Then he chose to stay with the organization, accepting assignment to Triple-A Las Vegas.

  • September 26, 2014: Abreu announced he was retiring from the game, at age 40.

  •  
     
    BATTING:

    • Abreu is pronounced Ah-BRAY-oo.
    • He is one of the most patient hitters in the game, rarely swinging at any pitch not in the strike zone.

      He sees a lot of pitches per at-bat, more than most anyone in the game
      . He really does draw walks! A pitcher can make a lot of good pitches on Bobby, yet he will still walk.

      Bobby Abreu gives you a great at-bat (almost) every time he comes to the plate
      .

    • When he was growing up in Venezuela, Bobby didn't idolize Tony Armas or Andres Galarraga. His biggest hero was Roberto Alomar, another fellow-countryman. And he idolized him to the point he copied his stance, lefthanded stroke, the way Robbie paws the dirt, and every single other idiosyncrasy in the batter's box.

    • Abreu has one of the best and purest lefthanded swings in baseball. He's like a Tony Gwynn with power. He has solid hitting instincts, is a pure, natural hitter, and has one of the best and most fluid swings in the game -- a real thing of beauty. The ball jumps off his bat.

    • Bob can pull the ball and go the other way but has trouble with the hard stuff inside and breaking pitches out of the strike zone. But Abreu has a quick bat with a short stroke and shows good discipline and a good eye at the plate.

    • He's got a natural lefthanded hitting stroke and is a classic natural lefty hitter that hits all kinds of pitches well. He stays back on the ball. It's fun to watch him hit. He's got a sweet swing and the ability to adjust and turn on some balls.

    • Some seasons Bob has hit lefthanded pitchers better than righties, which is significant because he's lefthanded. But he has no power against southpaws.

    • Abreu has the look. The way he carries himself, he looks like a Big Leaguer. He has strong wrists, a very fast bat, and is aggressive at the plate.

    • "I really like triples," Bob says. "You hardly ever see me stop at second. My goal is third, and that's where I'm headed. I believe my speed begins when I round first base."

      He has outstanding gap power to left-center and right-center field
      .

    • Abreu makes adjustments from at-bat to at-bat.

    • As the Yankees' No. 3 hitter, Abreu has earned a reputation as a patient hitter who is capable of working deep counts and helping to tire pitchers.

    • Abreu's main offensive specialty—grinding out at-bats—also has to be seen consistently to be appreciated. In 2008 Abreu swung at the first pitch a major league-low 7.9 percent of the time. He also saw an average of 4.29 pitches per plate appearances, making him the third most selective hitterin the game, behind Nick Swisher and Jack Cust.

      The hitters behind Bobby in the order appreciate his selectivity because it allws them to see every weapon in a pitcher's arsenal
      . Opposing pitchers dislike facing him because he makes the work so hard.  And hard core baseball types appreciate his skill-set, also. They'd just like to see him cut loose and take a rip at a 3-2 fastball that's a hair outside the zone once in a while.

      HIGH BATTING AVERAGE AND HIGH OBP

    • In 1998, he led the Major Leagues with a .427 batting average with runners in scoring position.

    • In 1999, his .446 on-base percentage was third in the NL.

      And his batting average (
      .335, third-best in the NL) was the highest by a Phillie since Tony Gonzalez hit .339 in 1967.

    • On August 20, 2000, for the first time in his career, Abreu hit leadoff. The Phillies felt it could be a great thing. Bobby has a high on-base percentage and runs the bases with a distinctive flair, going from first-to-third as well as anyone not named Rafael Furcal.

    • Abreu is always in the top 10 in most pitches seen per at-bat. In 2000, Abreu saw more pitches (2,833) than any other player in the National League except Sammy Sosa (2,877). And Bobby was fourth in the NL with 10 triples, 7th with 100 walks, and ninth with a .416 on-base percentage. Bobby only hit .243 against lefties, but .339 off righthanders.

    • You won't see Abreu leading off any more. He just does not want to bat leadoff. He is uncomfortable in that role.

    • In 2002, Bobby became the first Phillies hitter in 105 years to have 40 or more doubles in three consecutive seasons. Ed Delahanty was the last to do it, in 1895-1897.

    • Bobby maintains that home runs just happen. When he is going good, he hits many line drives, especially to the gaps. He is also a patient hitter with tremendous plate discipline. Those strengths—the gap power and the patience—were reflected in his statistics.

      In 2002, he led the National League with 50 doubles and ranked sixth with 104 walks
      .

      20-20 EVERY YEAR

    • Only Mays, a couple of Bonds, and Abreu: On July 16, 2004, Abreu became only the fourth player in history to have 20-home runs and 20-stolen bases in at least six straight seasons. The other three: Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, and Bobby Bonds.

    • The 2008 season was Abreu's eighth season in a row of at least 20 homers and 20 stolen bases. He also reached 100 RBI for the sixth straight season. And Bobby's 4.29 pitches per plate appearance with the Yankees in 2008 ranked as the fourth-most in the major leagues, and he did not swing at 630 of 684 first pitches.

      His 87 hits with two strikes were most in the Majors
      .

      "I just know the strike zone better," Abreu said
      . "I have an idea of where the pitch is going to land, and I don't get panicked with two strikes. I've always been that way, since the minor leagues. I don't know why. It's something you can't teach."

    • Only three players in Major League history have reached the 20-homers and 20-steals mark at least nine times in their career. Barry Bonds did it 10 times, and so did his father Bobby. And in 2010, Abreu joined them.

    • On June 7, 2009: Bobby got the 2,000th hit of his career. He became the fifth Venezuelan-born player to reach 2,000 hits in the major leagues, joining fellow countrymen Luis Aparicio, Andres Galarraga, Omar Vizquel and Davey Concepcion.

      And a couple of months later in 2009, when Abreu got his 250th home run, he was one of only six players in major league history with 250 homers, 2,000 hits, 1,000 runs, 1,000 runs batted in, 1,000 walks and 300 stolen bases
      .

      The others are Barry Bonds, Craig Biggio, Joe Morgan, Rickey Henderson and Willie Mays
      .

    • Bobby is generous with advice to his teammates, telling them what he sees as far as tendencies with a pitcher. And he really helped several of the young Angels hitters in 2009, giving them tips on how to be more patient. And Torii Hunter, a veteran, says that Abreu gave him advice on swinging only at pitches in his zone within the strike zone.

    • Abreu gets a whole lot of RBI without hitting home runs, and while walking a lot—94 walks in 2009 with 103 RBI. 

      Since 1936, only John Olerud in 2000 and Abreu have had so many runs batted in with so few homers and so many walks
      .

      Abreu also did it in 2006
      .

    • .5in"='""' lfo1;='""' level1='""' l0='""' auto;='""' 0in='""' list='""' normal;='""' 10pt;='""'>As of the start of the 2015 season, Bobby's career Major League stats were: .291 batting average, 288 home runs with 1,363 RBI's in 8,480 at-bats.
     
     
    FIELDING:

    • Abreu had some problems on defense when he played at old Veteran's Stadium in Philadelphia. But at the new Citizens Bank Park, with its swirling winds that turn fly balls into adventures, Abreu's defense became an asset.
    • Abreu credits grass/natural surfaces for keeping his knees and back in better condition—which allows him to take more chances, including tracking balls to the fence.

      "I can go to the fence with no problem because I'm seeing the ball better and have a better feel for where the ball is going to be," he said.

    • He used to play shortstop. But his hands are too stiff and his throwing motion too long for the infield.

  • He is pretty good defensively in right field, with enough arm and speed to be an asset. His range is just average for the position, however. He pursued fly balls near the wall awkwardly, when the Phillies played at The Vet. But he was more aggressive at Citizens Bank Park.

  • In 1998, Abreu led all right fielders with 17 assists.

    And in 2000, his 13 assists were fourth in the NL, and tops among right fielders.

  • In 2000, Bobby led Major League right fielders with 354 chances.

  • Some people said that Abreu didn't play the strange caroms at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia with enough anticipation. Further, his lack of communication with the infielders allowed too many balls to drop in shallow right.

  •  
    "A guy like Bobby makes it look so easy that people perceive that the guy's not trying," Larry Bowa said. "It was that way with Schmitty [Mike Schmidt]. Bobby's playing better than I've ever seen him."

  • In 2005, Abreu won his first Rawlings Gold Glove. Abreu finished third among NL right fielders with a .986 fielding percentage, behind Arizona's Shawn Green and San Diego's Brian Giles.

  • Abreu has an accurate arm. While his range is now above-average, Bobby does not have great range—just very good range.

    And the one consistent knock on his game—Bobby does not throw his body at outfield walls—belies his workmanlike nature. He is a heads-up player, and he knows how to play the game.

  •  
     
    RUNNING:

    • Bobby's one of the game's better baserunners. He's good for 20-30 stolen bases a year. (Editor's note: He has had 20+ steals every year from 1999–2010. And in 2010, he was 36 years old.)
    • Once he gets rolling, he is an excellent runner. And he can really turn on the speed between first and third base. No one is better at going from home to third base.

    • The Phillies coaching staff says Abreu has an innate gift for running the bases, rarely losing stride when he touches the bags. 
     
    CAREER INJURY REPORT:

    • May 1994: Abreu suffered a slight rotator-cuff tear that kept him in a DH role while he recovered. He started playing some outfield again in July.
    • May-July 1, 1997: Abreu went on the D.L. with a fracture to the hook of the hamate bone in his right wrist. Surgery was required.

    • October 1999: Bobby had arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow. He had suffered with pain during almost the entire season, and had loose bodies removed.

    • February 2002: He had an emergency appendectomy while on vacation in Caracas in his native Venezuela.

    • February 26-March 19, 2007: Abreu missed about three weeks of spring training exhibition games with a strained right oblique. He suffered the injury during batting practice.

  • August 13-28, 2012: Bobby was on the D.L. at Albuquerque with a sprained right ankle.
  •  
     
     
    Last Updated 10/7/2014 11:00:00 AM. All contents © 2000 by Player Profiles. All rights reserved.