Astros News

Houston Astros: Examining former players Hall of Fame cases

Houston Astros closer Billy Wagner pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the ninth inning, 26 June 2001, in Phoenix. The Astros won 10-7. AFP PHOTO/Mike FIALA (Photo by Mike FIALA / AFP) (Photo by MIKE FIALA/AFP via Getty Images)
Houston Astros closer Billy Wagner pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the ninth inning, 26 June 2001, in Phoenix. The Astros won 10-7. AFP PHOTO/Mike FIALA (Photo by Mike FIALA / AFP) (Photo by MIKE FIALA/AFP via Getty Images) /
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14 Apr 1997: Outfielder Bob Abreu of the Houston Astros swings at the ball during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Astros won the game 4-2.
14 Apr 1997: Outfielder Bob Abreu of the Houston Astros swings at the ball during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Astros won the game 4-2. /

Bobby Abreu

One of the best all-around players of his era, Bobby Abreu appeared in only 74 games with the Astros at the beginning of his career, hitting .248/.325/.362 with three homers. Then came the expansion draft in November 1997, and the Astros elected to protect Richard Hidalgo and leave Abreu open to the draft. He was selected by Tampa Bay and promptly traded to the Phillies.

While Hidalgo had a couple of excellent seasons in Houston, the team’s decision to choose him over Abreu proved to be the wrong one. Abreu immediately became an impact player in Philadelphia, doing just about everything well. He hit for average, drew plenty of walks, hit a lot of doubles, stole bases, hit home runs and drove in runners. He also won a Gold Glove for good measure.

He totaled 60.2 career WAR, per Baseball-Reference, tallying career marks of .291/.395/.475 with 2,470 hits, 574 doubles, 288 homers, 1,363 RBIs, 400 stolen bases and 1,476 walks. In his prime, which lasted more than a decade, you could always pencil him in for a .300 average, .400 on-base percentage, 40 doubles, 20 homers, 100 RBIs and 25 steals. Not many players could do all that.

The main knock against him is that while he was good at pretty much everything, he never really rose to the level of an MVP-type player. While Abreu received MVP consideration in seven different seasons, his highest finish was 12th. He only made two All-Star teams and won just one Silver Slugger, so he’s lacking in the hardware department.

Still, you don’t come across too many five-tool players like this. His WAR total is higher than Ichiro, Mike Piazza, Vladimir Guerrero and Willie Stargell. His 574 doubles are tied for 25th all time, and he’s one of only two players to have that many doubles, 400 stolen bases, 250 homers and a career batting average of .290 or better. The other is Barry Bonds.

As for his chances, Abreu barely managed to stay on the ballot, appearing on 5.5 percent of ballots last year. This time, in his second year of eligibility, he’s appeared on 15.7 percent of public ballots as of the time of this writing, per Ryan Thibodaux’s tracker. This is a good sign for his candidacy, but if he’s going to make it to Cooperstown, it will take him a few more years.

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