Is Bobby Abreu Clutch?

I noticed some people saying that Bobby Abreu isn’t clutch.  I figured it would make sense to put some numbers behind it to see if it’s just a perception that caught on or if it’s true.


Reader Bill already weighed in with Abreu’s September batting averages in a different post, so I’ll begin by expanding on that to include Abreu’s full AVG/OBP/SLG lines in recent Septembers.

First, his career line:  .303/.411/.512.  Can’t complain about that.

September 2005: .250/.395/.396
September 2004: .326/.483/.500
September 2003: .308/.432/.407
September 2002: .366/.455/.591

OK, it looks like his power numbers were way down this season and in ’03 in September.  But when you’re looking at a sample of 100 at-bats each year, and he has alternated between an excellent and subpar SLG, is it really statistically significant?  I don’t think so.  Plus, with OBPs like that, it’s not as if he tanked.

How about everyone’s favorite Close and Late stats?  Close and Late refers to when the game is in the 7th inning or later and is a one run affair or tied.

Close and Late ’05:  .298/.422/.571
Close and Late ’04:  .255/.445/.412
Close and Late ’03:  .318/.423/.420
Close and Late ’02:  .303/.444/.495

First off, no one can complain that Abreu wasn’t clutch in 2005 overall.  He had a two-year run where his power numbers were down in late game situations, but does that really make him "unclutch?"  Maybe Abreu focused on drawing a walk or hitting a single instead of going for the fences.  His OBPs were all above his career average. 

Finally, let’s see where Abreu stands with runners in scoring position.

RISP 2005:  .303/.444/.500
RISP 2004:  .322/.432/.624
RISP 2003:  .361/.473/.574 
RISP 2002:  .313/.441/.556

He’s consistently destroyed pitchers in every way with runners in scoring position. 

Some analysts don’t believe clutch hitting even exists, and the inconsistencies in this one sample seem to support that.  Regardless, there’s no clear conclusion that Bobby Abreu is "not clutch."         


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