Buster Olney thinks so.
This all came about from a conversation I had with a friend of mine about Bobby Abreu’s importance to the Yankees. Here is how it went down:
Me: Bobby Abreu is tied for 5th in MLB (and 3rd in the AL) with 106 runs scored.
Me: so? there is more to baseball than homeruns…
AH: Yes, and A LOT more than runs scored!!!!!!!!!!!
Me: so you are telling me that brandon phillips is more important than ichiro?
AH: Did I say that?? All I said is you get waaaaaay too excited about the Runs scored category. If memory serves me correctly, I believe Abreu was 0-4 yesterday with 2 K’s and looked foolish at the plate. As I always say, he’s a decent little player, should be batting in the 6 hole.
Me: well how about this:
– more RBI than David Wright (who might win MVP), Carlos Beltran, Chase Utley, (your boy) Albert Pujols, Hideki Matsui, Travis Hafner and (your other boy) Andruw Jones
– more hits than Jorge Posada, Chase Utley, Chipper Jones, Justin Morneau and Todd Helton
– more stolen bases than Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Gary Sheffield, Carlos Beltran, and Alfonso Soriano
Let the #4 guy hit home runs, #3 should be about scoring or knocking runs in however they can.
AH: I think 75% of the players you mentioned have spent significant time on the DL this year.
All I have to say is enjoy rooting for Abreu next year when he’s playing for the Houston Astros!! He is a national league player, compared by you to almost all NL players.
Me: “almost all” = 8 out of 15 were national league players.
AH: OK….well every AL player you mentioned is a signficantly better player than Abreu so what does that say?
It says he’s lucky to have A-Rod hitting behind him, nothing else! Bobby gets that 2-out nobody on single that goes off the second basemen’s glove and then A-Rod hits one 600 feet.
Way to score than run, Bobby!!
Me: my argument is that those players are not better…the stats back that up.
but i assume you will respond with “but they are just stats, not really how he plays.” i don’t know how else to evaluate at that point.
AH: All I am saying is put all 15 of those players in front of A-Rod and they will have a higher avg, more HRs, more runs, more doubles, and a better fielding % than Abreu. Bobby wins walks, steals and triples.
Me: he’s just never been the home run hitter that you keep saying he should be…he’s hit 30 home runs twice is his entire career…there was no reason to think he was going to come into new york and hit 40 every year he was here. his game is to get on base, steal a few bases knock in some runs and score a lot and that is exactly what he has been doing. though he is not good defensively, he is able to make some up with his arm strength.
AH: 16 home runs, Andrew! The right field wall is 314 feet! I know he’s not a pull hitter but he should have at least 25 homers playing half his games at yankee stadium. He had 8 all last year in philly which is about as pathetic as it gets. He’s just such an unexciting player who shows no emotion, I just don’t know how anyone can love him.
Me: he is not a home run hitter and has never been a dominant one…not sure why that is so awful to accept. if he hit 40 in philly and then 16 here, i would understand the frustration.
AH: If he’s not a HR hitter and also not an avg. hitter (.287 is decent, nothing better than that), then you are saying he is great at walking and scoring runs.
Again, a perfect fit for the 6 hole!
Me: he hit .330 for the yankees last year, obviously the average isn’t where he wants it to be. but you are still over-valuing home runs for a #3 hitter.
AH: You love the research…see how many #3 hitters in the AL have less than 16 HRs! I bet it’s less than 5.
Me: Just missed:
David Ortiz: 28
Jim Thome: 26
Gary Sheffield: 24
Vladimir Guerrero: 22
Travis Hafner: 21
Jose Guillen: 19
Nick Swisher: 19
Vernon Wells: 16
Bobby Abreu: 16
Michael Cuddyer: 13
Nick Markakis: 13
Carl Crawford: 11
Michael Young: 7
Ross Gload: 7
AH: OK, now let’s check games played for Cuddyer, Markakis, Crawford, Young and Gload…
No way Crawford and Gload have been hitting 3rd all year and I bet neither have Markakis or Young. This is good, this is the point I have been trying to prove all year.
Me: No reason to look at Gload, everyone on that team is horrible.
Markakis has played in 142 games this year, which is every game the Orioles have played. He has hit 3rd in 110 of the 142 (78%).
Crawford has played in 138 games (97% of their games) and has his 3rd in 71, which is the most of any spot in the lineup for him.
Young has played in 138 games as well, which is 97% of the total games for the Rangers. He has hit 3rd in 86 games, more than any other spot.
Cuddyer has played in 125 games, a majority in the cleanup hole…usually it’s Mauer, which doesn’t help your point either with his 5 home runs in 93 games.
Of the list, Abreu is 4th in RBI, first in runs, 6th in hits, 2nd in stolen bases and 8th in average. How does this prove what you’ve been saying all year?
AH: You have proven my point because all of those hitters with less HRs than Abreu are not true #3 hitters (by true I mean they hit 3rd at least 75% of the time). Markakis is the only one. So wipe out Gload, Crawford, Young and Cuddyer and Bobby Abreu has the second least HRs of all #3 hitters in the American League.
My point was that Abreu was probably in the bottom 5 in HR of all AL #3 hitters…he is actually the second worst, even worse than I even thought! We were talking about HRs and you still bring up runs scored, steals and hits. I was only talking about HRs, which he is second to last in.
Me: Abreu has hit 3rd 70% of the time this year…so that would mean he is not a true #3 hitter by your definition and should not be compared to David Ortiz, Gary Sheffield, etc.
AH: Haha, maybe that’s because he sucked so bad for a while that Torre hit him 8th!!! And how can you seriously compare him to Papi and Sheff?!?! You just love giving this bum credit!!
Me: You asked for a comparison to other #3 hitters, which include David Ortiz and Gary Sheffield. All I am saying is that you have to look beyond home runs, which you keep coming back to. also, if you “wipe out Gload, Crawford, Young and Cuddyer” compared to Abreu then you are not including all #3 hitters in the American League…then it’s only 9 others. If there is someone you’d rather use, just say so.
AH: I couldn’t disagree anymore. I want to discuss HRs and you keep bringing up walks and steals and runs scored! You keep changing the subject which is a strong indicator that you agree the guy has NO POWER.
Let’s just wait for him to go 2-20 in the ALDS and then you’ll be on ‘Ship Bobby Out of Town’ bandwagon! I have a sneaking suspicion that come playoff time he’s not gonna be taking so many pitches. I sent our email thread to my buddy who is a die hard Phillies fan to see what his opinions are on the Venezuelan OBP dynamo!!
I actually think he’d be a better #2 hitter, bat Jeter third. But I know Torre likes to split up the righty and lefty bats.
Me: I’ve been arguing that he is a better all around player than you give him credit for, which is why I have been trying to focus less on the home runs. I think you overvalue home runs for a #3 hitter. I believe the cleanup hitter should be the one knocking in runs with homers, not the #3 guy.
And if home runs are so important in the #3 spot, why would Jeter be better off there than Abreu?
AH: I only like Jeter 3rd and Abreu 2nd because of Abreu’s eye.
I am fairly certain that you only like him because he’s on your fantasy team and you have a hard time deciphering between fantasy value and real-world clutch play. Will he be a Yankee next year? No. Why? Because he’s not worth whatever his next contract will be and the Yankees know that. Let some NL team give him way too much money and I bet he’s out of the league in 2-3 years.
He is a table setter, not a run producer. Yes, his RBI numbers are solid this year but that is only a product of the lineup he is in and his runs are so high only because of A-Rod.
I admit, I am very hard-headed when it comes to this guy because after a 3-month extended slump he officially became “dead to me.” To my own credit, I did like him last year. I think Cashman choosing him over Sheff left a bad taste in my mouth that will never go away.
Me: Sheffield will never play a full season again for his career, that is something I can’t stand for.
And there is absolutely no way that Abreu is out of the game in 3 years…he is going to be around for a very long time. There will always be a place for people who hits close to 20 home runs and steals more than 20 bases a year.
And you seem to contradict yourself a little saying the only reason he has RBIs is because guys get on in front of him and yet he only scores runs because of the guy behind him. Clearly he needs to be getting hits to get RBIs and he has to be getting on base to score runs. Where is A-Rod on the RBI list without Abreu’s 100 runs?
AH: I have a very hard time giving him any credit, you are right. He’s a scrappy player who will do anything to get on base. Solid hits are not usually the way he gets on but I guess it doesn’t matter how hard you hit the ball if you’re standing on first base. Very curious to see if he steps up come playoff time. I am not optimistic.
Me: he hit .330+ last year in the playoffs.
if there is anyone who will be ridiculed during playoff time, it’s arod.
AH’s Dad (out of no where): it’s time for me to intervene. adam has had it in for Booby A. since he was 3 years old. The man is a major contributor and he has all the numbers to provide it. This foolishness must cease immediately!
AH’s Friend: I think that I could score just as many runs as Abreu hitting third for the Yankees. Clearly I dont watch as many Yankee games as you, but I’d have to assume that he is getting a few pitches to hit because everybody knows he is no threat to go deep. What he gets in steals isn’t worth what he’s lacking in awareness on the bases. He was constantly falling asleep on the bases in Philly, getting thrown out at 3rd, etc. He’s awful in the field. He has zero emotion which sucks the life out of teams. He will never be a leader, and never work hard. That’s why he couldnt play here. He played well when he got traded last year because he was too big of a p*ssy to be the man here and justify his contract. Once he went to NY and just had to be a good supporting player, he decided to try again. He sucks.
AH: A real Philly fan who knows what a bum the Venezuelan is!
Me: It’s a completely different argument, obviously he was not well liked in Philly, that’s why they got rid of him…my guess is that they would rather have Abreu than Burrell. I could have told you what he said before he said it.
And he is right, he is a good supporting player, which is why he is good again.
i think you are also forgetting that abreu has almost 100 RBI with johnny damon hitting in the leadoff spot for most games…not easy to get many RBI when your leadoff hitter is below .260!
AH: Damon has been much better in the second half.
Me: .258 is still .258