Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bobby Abreu and pitches per plate appearance

Bobby Abreu is having a good season with the Angels, but he is losing his advantage is in one of his best offensive categories: Pitches/Plate Appearance. He was always at the very top of the league in how many pitches he saw every time at bat, but that is lessening now:

2002: 4.32 2nd ML
2003: 4.31 2nd
2004: 4.32 T-1st (Brad Wilkerson)
2005: 4.40 1st
2006: 4.46 1st
2007: 4.38 3rd
2008: 4.29 6th
2009: 4.15 14th

Regardless, his strategy at the plate is working, as he is hitting .316 with a .411 on-base percentage, which would be his best batting average since 2000.


  1. Not sure where your stats are from, but ESPN.com lists him as
    4.38 in 2007, not 4.28, and
    4.31 in 2003, not 4.37, and
    4.32 in 2002, not 4.23.

    Also, he was 6th in the majors last year, but 4th in his league, which is the tougher league overall. This year he's 19th in the majors but 8th in his league, and fairly close to 3rd. The difference between his current 4.16 pitches per PA and the 3rd place Chone Figgins at 4.19 is about 15 pitches, or around one pitch per week, all but negligible.

    Also, you have to look at who's on the list ahead of him. Younger players who happen to be extremely patient, like Youkilis (the Greek God of Walks), Swisher, Mauer and Shin-Soo Choo, have given him more competition in this area, and older guys like Jack Cust and Jim Thome, who have always been very patient hitters, don't have much left in their repertoire except patience and power.

    I don't think Abreu has lost much of his eye for the strike zone.

  2. Solid analysis. Thanks for pointing out those errors, I have corrected them.

    I agree he has not lost his eye at the plate, his walk percentage is up and he's hitting well. I thought it was an interesting trend in his career stats. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing, just a bit of a surprise considering his track record.

    He does look better just in his league, but he is way behind the ML leader (Jayson Werth, 4.52) and that hadn't happened before. Werth was probably better than even Abreu at this for a while, but rarely had enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title until recently.

    There do seem to be more young players that value this now, some of which probably comes from the Moneyball mentality.

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