Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bobby Abreu

Bobby Abreu has produced a lot of interesting numbers in his career, and this is a prime example. He is a throwback in many ways, in this case he is more like some of the great players of the 1920's than anyone playing today.

Since 2003, he has had 5 seasons of at least 100 RBI and 20 or fewer HR (2003, 2006-09). This season, he has 15 HR and 102 RBI, and with one day to go, I'll go out on a limb and say he'll finish with less than 21 home runs this year too.

Since 2003, while Bobby Abreu has had 5 of these seasons, the rest of the league has combined to produce 6:

2003: Hideki Matsui, Edgar Renteria
2006: J.D. Drew, Michael Young, Ryan Zimmerman
2007: Jeff Francoeur

There have been 57 combined seasons since 1955 (besides Abreu), and 8 other players had more than 1 season (Rusty Greer, Bill Buckner, Ted Simmons, Joe Torre, Kirby Puckett, Minnie Minoso, Paul O'Neill, Thurman Munson)

With 5, Abreu is the ML leader going back to 1934. It happened a lot during the 1920's, with Hall of Famers Harry Heilmann and Goose Goslin the all-time leaders with 8. Heilmann's seasons were from 1921-1929 and Goslin from 1925-1934.

7 players have had 7 seasons, none of which were after 1939. They are all well-known (and Hall of Famers): Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Pie Traynor, Al Simmons, Tony Lazzeri, Charlie Gehringer and Joe Cronin. 2 players had 6 seasons, both early 20th century: Hall of Famer Sam Crawford (the all time leader in triples) and Bobby Veach. Crawford once had 120 RBI and 5 HR, in 1910, which was at the height of the dead ball era.

This is also the 4th season in a row that Abreu has done this. When was the last time anyone did that? Charlie Gehringer from 1931-1936.

This is just one component of Abreu's career, but it is an interesting one. I have nothing against home run hitters, but it is good to see someone who can consistently drive in runs even if they don't hit a lot of home runs. There have been 221 combined seasons of 100 RBI since 2003 (244 from 1960-1980), and Abreu is basically by himself in this category.

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