PHILS INSIDER

Is Bobby Abreu a Hall of Famer? Phillies state their case

PHILS INSIDER

The Phillies are pushing for one of their Wall of Famers to be elected to the Hall of Fame — the big one in Cooperstown, New York.

Bobby Abreu appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time last year and garnered just 5.5 percent of the vote, barely reaching the minimum 5 percent to remain on the ballot for a second year.

The Hall of Fame's 2021 class will be announced on January 26 and Abreu has a long way to go if he's ever going to reach the necessary 75 percent needed for election by voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

The Phillies are doing their part to promote Abreu's candidacy. On Monday, the team's baseball communications department released a communique that carries the headline: "Bobby Abreu worthy of enshrinement in Cooperstown." The detailed and well-researched document lists Abreu's career accomplishments and compares him to a number of players already in the Hall of Fame.

Abreu "accrued career statistics in many categories on par with or superior to nearly every one of the 26 players ever elected to the Hall of Fame as a right fielder," the document stated.

Abreu played 18 seasons in the majors, including 8½ with the Phillies.

The club builds much of its case for Abreu around his 12 peak seasons, from 1998 to 2009. According to the club, during that span, Abreu ranked first in games played (1,877), second in walks (1,231) and doubles (472), third (tie) in stolen bases (341), sixth in extra-base hits (779), seventh in hits (2,059), eighth in RBI (1,160), eighth in Baseball-Reference.com's Wins Above Replacement stat (57.3) and 11th in on-base percentage (.406). 

 

The club pointed out that from 1998 to 2005, Abreu's WAR was 45.2, higher than Vladimir Guerrero (44.3), Chipper Jones (43.8), Derek Jeter (40.6), Ivan Rodriguez (37.4), Jeff Bagwell (36.8), Larry Walker (35.9) and every other Hall of Famer who played in that span. Abreu's career WAR of 60.2 is higher than 11 Hall of Fame right fielders, including Guerrero (59.5), Enos Slaughter (57.0) and Chuck Klein (46.0).

Among 26 Hall of Fame right fielders, Babe Ruth ranks No. 1 in career on-base percentage at .474. Abreu would be seventh on that list at .395. He would be third in stolen bases (400), third behind Hank Aaron (624) and Paul Waner (604) in doubles (574) and 10th in extra-base hits (921). He would be 11th in OPS (.870) and runs scored (1,453) and 12th in home runs (288) and RBIs (1,363).

Some other notes on Abreu's career produced by the Phillies:

• Only seven players have recorded at least 900 career extra-base hits and 400 stolen bases: Abreu, Barry Bonds and Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Craig Biggio, Honus Wagner, and Paul Molitor.

• No player has had as many seasons with at least 60 extra-base hits and 20 steals than Abreu's nine. Bonds is the only other player with eight, and Ed Delahanty (7) and Willie Mays (6) are the only Hall of Famers with more than five. 

• In 2004, Abreu became the only player in major league history to record at least 75 extra-base hits, 100 RBIs, 125 walks and 40 stolen bases in a single season.

• He recorded nine seasons with at least 20 home runs, eight with at least 100 runs scored, eight with at least 100 RBI, eight with a .400 OBP or better, eight with at least 100 walks and six with a .300 batting average or better.

• Defensively, Abreu's 136 outfield assists are fourth among all outfielders to debut in the last 30 years (since 1991), trailing only Carlos Beltran (143), Kenny Lofton (142) and Walker (140). From 1998-2009, Abreu's 120 outfield assists led all outfielders and were six more than Guerrero.

In his 8½ seasons with the Phillies, Abreu hit .303 with a .416 on-base percentage and a .513 slugging percentage. He hit 195 home runs and drove in 814 runs with the Phils. He ranks third in club history in walks (947), OPS (.928) and on-base percentage (.416). He was honored with a spot on the Phillies' Wall of Fame in the summer of 2019.

Leading up to his first appearance on the ballot last year, Abreu's Hall of Fame chances figured to benefit from new statistical perspectives and the advanced metrics that many voters now use in determining a candidate's worthiness. However, when the votes were tabulated, Abreu received just 22 of 397, barely enough to stay on the ballot. Maybe with a push from the Phillies, Abreu will see his vote total rise this year. He can stay on the ballot for eight more years after this year's election, provided he gets at least five percent of the vote. 

Several other players with Phillies ties are on the ballot, including Curt Schilling. He received 70 percent of the vote last year, falling just 20 votes shy of election, and seems to be a good bet to make it this year. Schilling is in his ninth year on the ballot.

 

Scott Rolen made good progress, jumping from 17 percent to 35 percent last year. He's on the ballot for the fourth time.

Billy Wagner received 31.7 percent of the vote in his fifth year on the ballot last year.

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