Phillies Sign Young, Exciting Venezuelan Winter Ball Prospect


Baseball America has yet to get back to me on how high in the Top 100 he will rank. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia, meet your new top Prospect. At the bright, young age of 40, Bobby Abreu (pronounced uh-bray-you), a Venezuelan native, has been absolutely raking this Winter, playing for Leones de Caracas.

That is, until the Phillies signed him Tuesday afternoon.

In 15 postseason games for Leones, he’s batted .464/.549/1.214, with 8 HR. In this exclusive scouting report I’ve discovered, he’s projected to have average or above average skills in all major tools. He’s a potential impact player once fully developed.

The numbers speak for themselves, and his signing has sent Phillies writers across the internet into a mad frenzy, rewriting and reorganizing the tops of their precious organizational prospect lists.

All this leads to one obvious question: “Just how many blank lines below Abreu should I place Maikel Franco? 5? 10? 50??”

He’s apparently so developed already that he’ll be competing for a bench spot in Spring Training – but given his lack of experience I don’t put too much stock into that.

Also pursued by the Mets and Indians, Abreu ultimately decided on the World Series-favorite Phillies because:

…Huh? “Years in Philly?”

*frantic typing*

…Well, then.

Apparently, Bobby Abreu is a two-time All-Star who played in Philadelphia for nine years (1998-2006). In 1353 games with the team, he hit .303/.416/.513 with 195 HR and 254 SB.

I’m also being told he was the face of the franchise for multiple years and has the second-highest OPS in team history.

That’s all awesome – but that was 8 seasons ago at the most recent. He’s 40 now, but you can feel slightly better knowing he’s still doing things like this:

Given his stellar performance so far this Winter, and that he was getting on-base in the MLB at a .350 clip as recently as 2012, he’s yet another smart, low risk depth signing for the Phillies.

In fact, including his full winter ball season numbers (.322/.416/.461 in 180 ABs), his OBP hasn’t dipped below .350 for a full year since 1997.

I know counting winter ball numbers is imperfect, but the point is that in as a pinch-hitter, he’d still get on-base at a better rate than anyone currently penciled in on the bench.

Since there’s currently a dearth of internal left-handed bench options, Abreu actually has a very good chance of making the roster opening day. A likely bench includes Kevin Frandsen, Freddy Galvis/Reid Brignac, Abreu, Darin Ruf/John Mayberry, and Wil Nieves.

Even better, it’s another one of those minor league deals, with an invite to Spring Training. So basically, no skin off of the Phillies’ back if it doesn’t work out in camp.

There’s zero downside; they should be handing these out like candy – Hell, bring in Michael Jack if you want and see how he does.

Wait. WAIT. RUBEN – I’ve got a GREAT idea.