- LF, OF, RF, CF, DH
- March 11, 1974
- 210 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 9-01-1996 with HOU
- Allstar Selections:
- 2004 SS, 2005 GG
Bob Kelly "Bobby" Abreu (Spanish pronunciation: [aˈβɾeu], English: /əˈbreɪ.uː/; born March 11, 1974, in Turmero, Venezuela), nicknamed "El Comedulce" and also "La Luche", is a Major League Baseball left fielder for the Los Angeles Angels. Abreu is a two-time All-Star, and has won a Gold Glove Award and a Silver Slugger Award. He has led the league in games (twice), doubles, and triples. Through 2008, he was tenth among active ballplayers in on-base percentage (.405), and seventh in stolen bases (348).
Abreu played with the Leones del Caracas in the Venezuelan winter baseball league . He batted .283 and began to show gap power with 21 doubles and a league-record 17 triples. He also reached double figures in outfield assists for the third year in a row. After the campaign, he had rotator cuff surgery done on his right shoulder, which had periodically given him problems.
Abreu started his Major League career with the Houston Astros. He played only 74 games over two seasons. Left unprotected in the 1997 MLB Expansion Draft when Houston Astros decided to keep fellow Venezuelan outfielder Richard Hidalgo, Abreu was selected by the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but hours later he was traded to the Phillies for shortstop Kevin Stocker.
Despite the fact that both the Astros and Devil Rays deemed him expendable, Abreu firmly established himself as one of the most promising young hitters and strong-armed right fielders in the game.
In 1998, his first season with the Phillies, Abreu led his 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. His .446 career-high OBP was also third in the league. He also tied for the league lead in triples with 11.
In 2000, he was fourth in the league in triples (10), sixth in doubles (42), seventh in walks (100), and ninth in OBP (.416). Bobby 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).
Finally, in 2004, he got his first All-Star berth, being voted in as the National League All-Star Final Vote winner in online voting on MLB.com.
Abreu hit the first home run at the Phillies' brand new 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).
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.
At Comerica Park – a field normally considered a "pitcher's park" – 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 a year earlier. Abreu's longest homer was measured at 517', the third longest in Derby history. After his power numbers dipped considerably for the remainder of 2005, into 2006, there was considerable speculation that winning the Derby may have had a psychological impact on Abreu.
In 2005, pitches per plate appearance (4.39), number of pitches seen (3,159), and games played (162), and was second in walks (117) and times on base (291), fourth in sacrifice flies (8), fifth in intentional walks (15), seventh in runs (104), stolen bases (31), and OBP (.405), ninth in strikeouts (104), and tenth in RBIs (102).
New York 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 referred to the trade as "the Great Gillick Giveaway" and declared it "an unvarnished disaster." Surprisingly, the Phillies improved after the Abreu trade, and made a run for the National League wild card, only being eliminated on the second to last day of the season.
Abreu fit very well into the Yankees lineup. Abreu hit .297 with 15 home runs and 107 RBI in the 2006 season, and hit 0.330 with the Yankees. Abreu and 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%), and led the NL in percentage of pitches taken (66.2), and in walks per plate appearance (.181), third in batting average on balls in play (.375), 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. 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 Vazquez. 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
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 on in the season, Abreu hit .380 with 28 RBI in 26 games in July, and was named American League player of the month. Abreu is the first Angels player to reach those figures in batting average and RBI in one calendar month in 12 years. The last player to do so was 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 and moving the Angels right fielder onto an impressive list of baseball achievers. 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. The others are Barry Bonds, Craig Biggio, and Hall of Famers Joe Morgan, Rickey Henderson and Willie Mays.
Though Abreu stated that he enjoyed his season with the Angels and is credited with helping many of the team's younger players to improve their swings and patience at the plate, he turned down a two year, $16 million extension on his contract on October 15.
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. Abreu will be paid $9 million in 2010 and 2011, plus a $1 million buyout of a $9 million option for 2012 that could vest based on plate appearances, a total of $19 million guaranteed. He cited the Angel's manager, Mike Scoscia 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."
Abreu is famous for his plate discipline. In 2009, he led the American League in percent of pitches taken at 67.5%, while also having the fourth lowest percentage of swinging at the first pitch at 9.5%.
* 1996 Houston Astros Minor League Player of the Year
* 1999 Venezuelan Winter League All-Star OF
* 1999 Venezuelan Winter League Player of the Year
* 1999 Philadelphia Phillies Player of the Year
* 2000 Philadelphia Phillies Player of the Year
* 2001 Philadelphia Phillies Player of the Year
* 2004 NL Silver Slugger Award (OF)
* 2004 MLB All-Star
* 2005 NL Player of the Month (April)
* 2005 NL Gold Glove Award (OF)
* 2005 MLB All-Star
* 2005 Winner of the Home Run Derby at the MLB All-Star game. (41 home runs over 3 rounds)
* 2009 AL Player of the Month (July)
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.
Bobby was also the 2004 recipient of the Phillies Community Service award and the Phillies' representative for MLB's Roberto Clemente Award.
In 2008, Bobby 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.
Bobby 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, Bobby "began asking people to call him the same name as a way of honoring his father's memory."
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