NY Sports Dog: Abreu Likely Heading West

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Abreu Likely Heading West

Numerous reports, including this one from the LA Times, have Bobby Abreu headed to the Angels before the start of spring training this weekend.

According to the article:

Recent reports have indicated that he would be willing to settle for a one-year deal in the $7-million range.

"We'd still like a multi-year deal, but if he doesn't get what he wants, he'll be fine with a one-year deal," Greenberg said. "Then, he could re-establish his market value and hope for better luck next year. He might be faced with that."

As I sit here pondering Abreu while looking at his stats, there's certainly an appeal for the guy, especially in this lower price range.

That said, he turns 35 next month, and I liked what we got out of Fernando Tatis and Daniel Murphy last year.

By way of comparison, Bobby Abreu had an OPS+ of 120 last year. Fernando Tatis had an OPS+ of 123.

And for my loyal readers who remember this piece, there is absolutely a way to platoon Tatis and Murphy and get fantastic production.

Let's look at Tatis and Murphy and see if the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Fernando Tatis, RH Hitter, 2008:

vs RH: 167 AB, .287 BA, .353 OBP, .527 Slg, .880 OPS, 10 HR, 28 RBI
vs LH: 106 AB, .311 BA, .393 OBP, .415 Slg, .809 OPS, 1 HR, 19 RBI

Daniel Murphy
, LH Hitter, 2008:

vs RH: 121 AB, .306 BA, .391 OBP, .455 Slg, .846 OPS, 1 HR, 14 RBI
vs LH: 10 AB, .400 BA, .462 OBP, .700 Slg, 1.162 OPS, 1 HR, 3 RBI

Right away we see one issue--Tatis hit righty's and lefty's with almost equal effectiveness, but his power is down against lefty's. When you view his career splits, the numbers are equal. In other words--he doesn't fit the mold.

So let's dig a bit deeper, and look at both players home and away stats:


H: 143 AB, .350 BA, .409 OBP, .545 Slg, .954 OPS
130 AB, .238 BA, .327 OBP, .415 Slg, .742 OPS


H: 67 AB,
.284 BA, .380 OBP, .463 Slg, .842 OPS
64 AB, .344 BA, .417 OBP, .484 Slg, .901 OPS

Tatis thrived at Shea and Murphy thrived on the road. We'll have a new park in 2009, so we'll have to see if this was more psychological than anything else.

One last key to these player's differences--type of pitcher.

Each fared well against average and finesse pitchers, but against power pitchers, Murphy, with his short stroke, has an enormous edge.

73 AB, .229 BA, .297 OBP, .361 Slg, .658 OPS
Murphy: 35 AB,
.314 BA, .467 OBP, .543 Slg, 1.010 OPS
This obviously isn't a traditional platoon, but it can be a very good one. Play Murphy vs any power pitcher, regardless of what side of the rubber they throw from, and keep a close eye on both guys' home and away splits.

So forward we move...another player checked off the list.

Is Omar doing the right thing here? Is he playing his cards close to the vest in hopes of finding lightning in a bottle, or perhaps waiting out a mid-season deal?

Call me overly optimistic, but losing out on Bobby Abreu doesn't seem like a very big deal right now.
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