Dispelling The Fantasy “Negatives” Of Bobby Abreu

I have to ask, why do people continuously undervalue Bobby Abreu?  Exactly what does he have to do to prove that what he does year-in and year-out is for real?  He moved out to Los Angeles last season and once again performed like a top outfielder:

563 At Bats
.293 Batting Average (165 Hits)
15 Home Runs
103 RBI
96 Runs
30 Stolen Bases
.390 On Base Percentage
.435 Slugging Percentage
.338 Batting Average on Balls in Play

I know, he’s 36-years old, so that means he’s a lock to regress from his current performance.  Well, what exactly has he done to make us think that he’s ready to regress?  While he no longer is a 30 home run hitter, that’s about the only statistic that you can point to that has severely fallen off, and even that is a stretch.

He’s only had two seasons where he has hit 30+ home runs.  Over the past four seasons he’s been between 15-20 home runs.  While this isn’t an elite number, given the rest of his production it surely is acceptable.

Since 1999 his worst season in the stolen base department was 22, which he’s done twice.  He’s had six seasons of at least 30 stolen bases, including last season, at 35-years old.  There is just no reason to think that, even at his age, he can’t continue to steal bases.

OK, so maybe his age isn’t a problem, but the Angels line-up just isn’t what it once was.  Surely, with Chone Figgins and Vladimir Guerrero playing elsewhere, there’s little chance of Abreu again approaching a 100/100 line, right?

Well, no, that’s just not right.  Since 1999 Abreu has scored at least 96 runs or more.  With Kendry Morales, Torii Hunter and Hideki Matsui hitting behind him, the opportunities to score will continue and getting on base is certainly not the problem.  For his career he’s posted a walk rate of 14.9% of the time and a .299 average (he hasn’t hit below .286 since 1998).  Needless to say, he’ll be on base more than enough for the big bats to drive him in.

As for the RBI, he just always seems to find a way.  Since 2001 he’s driven in at least 100 every season except 2002 (85).  The loss of Figgins will hurt, but Howie Kendrick has the potential to be a solid leadoff hitter.  Throw in the potential of Erick Aybar at the bottom of the order and Abreu could see ample opportunities for RBI.

Is he a lock in that regard?  No, he’s not.  That’s the one concern that I see as somewhat valid, but I wouldn’t expect him to regress down to the 70s, either.  I would think 85 is likely a lock, with 100 a very realistic possibility.  Is that really something to be upset about?

Without those concerns, let’s take a look at what I’d expect from him in 2010:

.290 (174-600), 14 HR, 95 RBI, 95 R, 25 SB, .343 BABIP, .394 OBP, .433 SLG

The OBP may seem high, but he’s at .404 for his career, so it is a very realistic mark.  The bottom line is that Abreu is one of the most consistent players in the game and that has extreme value for fantasy owners.  It doesn’t matter what team he’s on.  It doesn’t matter who is around him.  The guy simply produces every single season.

There’s no reason to shy away from him because of his age or his supporting cast.  He should just continue to plod along and get the job done as always.  To me, that makes him one of the top outfielders in the game (click here to see where he fits in my most recent rankings).

What are your thoughts?  Is Abreu someone you are high on?  If not, why do you avoid him?

If you would like to see a free preview of the Rotoprofessor 2010 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide (available for just $5) now including a Top 50 Prospects for 2010 List, click here.

For some 2010 projections, click here.  Among those we’ve already covered include:

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

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