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Calling Out Bobby Abreu

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It breaks my baseball heart to write this, but I'm calling out Bobby Abreu. He's my favorite Phillie of the past several years; his jersey is the only baseball jersey I own; he's been a perennial anchor for my fantasy teams; and he's generally just plain awesome. So, it pains me to give the crazy Abreu haters ammunition, but it must be said: this year, barring a short stretch early in the year, he's been far from awesome; he's been downright mediocre.

We all know what happened to Abreu in May. He was the NL Player of the Month, as he hit 11 home runs, drove in 30, scored 22, and posted a beautiful .396/.535/.792 line. His OPS of 1.327 was Bonds-esque.

The month included an incredible 10 game stretch from May 8 through May 18 in which he hit a home run in each game except one (and in that one he missed by only a couple of feet), drove in 18, and had an unbelievable .559/.636/1.441 line for an OPS of 2.078. He was other-worldly in those 10 games.

Rational fans knew they couldn?t expect his performance in those 10 games or for the month of May to continue for the rest of the year, but they would have been reasonable to hope for a continuation of superb overall performance at a level that could put Abreu among the top MVP finishers at the end of the year. Unfortunately, his season without that hot streak has been far from it.

Here?s a chart comparing Abreu?s performance in May to the rest of the year:

           BA      OBA     Slug%   OPS
May             0.396   0.535   0.792   1.327
Non-May         0.261   0.372   0.409   0.781

His .781 OPS in his 109 non-May games would put him 83rd out of the 150 major leaguers who qualify for the batting title. We were expecting a year of Albert Pujols or Derek Lee and instead, outside of May, we?ve gotten Coco Crisp.

What?s even more telling, and even more disturbing, is Abreu?s performance for the year without those 10 games from May 8 through May 18.

                           BA      OBA     Slug%   OPS
Before May 8                    0.268   0.390   0.393   0.783
May 8 to May 18                 0.559   0.636   1.441   2.078
After May 18                    0.274   0.388   0.419   0.807
All but May 8 to May 18         0.272   0.388   0.413   0.801

The similarity in his numbers before May 8 and after May 18 are shocking. Essentially, for the 127 games that were not played in the middle of May, Abreu has shown a scarily consistent performance level of .272/.388/.413. His .801 OPS for those games puts him 67th out of the 150 qualifying major leaguers. Without that ten game stretch, he has been slightly better than Shea Hillenbrand and just worse than Jay Gibbons.

As a pure Abreu fan, I have to hope that this consistent .801 OPS outside of those 10 games in mid-May has not become his established performance level. As Phillies fans, we have to hope that, down the stretch, some semblance of the May Abreu shows up, not the Abreu who has taken the field the rest of the year.