10/09/09 9:00 PM ET
Abreu surpasses Angels' expectations
Veteran proving to be offseason's biggest bargain
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
The only question was whether Abreu could continue to produce at age 35 despite leaving hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium for the spacious Big A.Abreu, though, answered those questions and proved to arguably be the biggest offseason bargain by posting another monster year with a .293 batting average, a .390 on-base percentage, 15 home runs, 103 RBIs, 96 runs scored and 30 stolen bases. But now the question is whether Abreu will be back for an encore next season with the Angels -- and yet the right fielder thinks he has an answer to that question.
"Of course I want to be back," Abreu said before Game 2 of the American League Division Series on Friday. "I've had good times over here with this organization, the team, the manager, the owners and the fans, too. They treat me very well over here. I think they really appreciate the job that I've been doing all year round."The Angels certainly appreciated the job he did in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Red Sox, as he drew four walks to tie the Division Series record set by David Ortiz in 2007.
|Chone Figgins, LAA||3,072||729||4.21|
|Brian Roberts, BAL||2,901||717||4.05|
|Dustin Pedroia, BOS||2823||714||3.95|
|Curtis Granderson, DET||2812||710||3.96|
|Bobby Abreu, LAA||2800||667||4.20|
Abreu saw 25 pitches on the night, including 18 from starter Jon Lester, to wear down the Red Sox's pitching staff in the Angels' 5-0 win.And as strange as his batting line was with four walks in four plate appearances, it was the second time he's done it this season (vs. the Royals on May 10). That's why his patience in Game 1 didn't surprise anyone, considering he drew 94 walks on the season to finish tied for third in the American League. "It's what Bobby has been doing all year -- taking pitches and getting on base," catcher Jeff Mathis said. "He got Jon's pitch count up there, and it was huge." Angels manager Mike Scioscia echoed Mathis' statements but added that walks aren't the only part of Abreu's game. "For our whole season, Bobby set a tone that I think has done more than what his numbers show," Scioscia said. "He's brought some great numbers to us. The on-base percentage, hitting, runners in scoring position, the amount of runs he's scored, the amount he's driven in, the way he's run the bases -- he's brought a lot."
Abreu's also brought a patient approach to the entire Angels lineup that ranked last in the AL in pitches seen last year before finishing tied for fourth in pitches seen in the AL.The new approach certainly worked for the Angels, who went from a free-swinging bunch to a more patient team that finished second in runs scored in the Majors this year. And Scioscia thinks Abreu is a big part of that. "I think there's some spillover to other players," Scioscia said. "I think that over the course of the season we had a lot of guys that were around Bobby that had terrific seasons, and that's not an accident." So, while Abreu has proved to be a big reason why the Angels have had so much success this season, he still has one major goal left -- to win the first World Series title in his 14-year career. "I wanted to be on a team that gave me an opportunity to win the World Series," Abreu said. "And that's why I picked the Angels."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.