Walks keep some hitters fantasy-relevant
July, 7, 2011
By Eric Karabell | ESPN Insider
I admit to being an unabashed fan of what Los Angeles Angels outfielder/designated hitter Bobby Abreu remains able to do at the plate. (In the field, of course, is quite another matter.) Abreu is 37 years old and although he's not nearly as productive as he used to be in his Philadelphia Phillies days, he still walks, still runs and still warrants a place in pretty much every fantasy league. One of the leagues in which I enjoy Abreu uses on-base percentage as a category, and few are as consistent year after year as this fellow.
Abreu drew a pair of walks on Wednesday and scored a run. Although he's clearly in decline, on pace for the worst power and run scoring numbers of his career, and is relatively useless against lefty pitchers, he's also sixth in baseball in walks and should end up with more than 20 stolen bases, which he's done every year since 1999. We pay for consistency, too. In an effort to show blog readers that it's not simply about the home runs -- though we all love Joey Bats -- the fact is Abreu's plate discipline remains outstanding even in advancing years and despite the fact pitchers know he's probably not taking them deep too often. He's fantasy's No. 40 outfielder on the Player Rater. Considering he was a 15th-round choice in ESPN average live drafts, it works for me.
Victor Decolongon/Getty ImagesBobby Abreu's great eye at the plate still makes him valuable, even if the power production is way down.