Just How They Drew It Up

A poster on Sons of Sam Horn excerpted a piece of an interview Theo Epstein gave on WBCN, Boston's new all-sports radio station. Of special note is that one of the radio cohosts is Tony Massarotti, whose position on J.D. Drew has been unenlightened, at best.

Epstein was unusually confrontational in defending Drew, basically saying that the Boston sports media is well behind the times in how it looks at ballplayers. Of course, we know this. But how often does a general manager say it?

For example:

"Sometimes you get stuck evaluating players through home runs and RBIs, and it's not the way I think most clubs do it these days."

Then, when one of the cohosts (sorry, I don't know whether it was Felger or Mazz) brings up Drew's runs and RBI totals and suggests Drew's high OPS "doesn't always lead to run production":

"That's not true. In RBIs, yes. Based on his skill set, he's always going to have underwhelming RBI totals. I couldn't care less. When you're putting together a winning team, that honestly doesn't matter. … Runs scored, you couldn't be more wrong. … J.D. scores a ton of runs, and the reason he scores a ton of runs is because he does the single most important thing you can do as in baseball as an offensive player — and that's not make outs. …

"You guys can talk about RBIs if you want. We ignore them in the front office."

By the way, Epstein wasn't quite right about Drew having the highest second-half OPS among all outfielders in baseball, as he states at the beginning of the interview – his .948 mark is best among right fielders but "just" third among all outfielders, behind Matt Holliday and Jason Bay.

Drew also has the third-highest OPS among right fielders for the entire season and eighth-highest among all qualified outfielders. Meanwhile his UZR/150 is second-highest among all right fielders in baseball. With Justin Upton, Drew has a strong case for being baseball's best right fielder for the second year in a row.

72 comments… add one

  • > the single most important thing you can do .. not make outs
    Yes.

    attackgerbil October 1, 2009, 11:49 am
  • not sure why you feel the need to make yet another post about the value of drew to the sox paul, since we beat this to death not long ago…i understand theo’s need to defend his acquisition to the media, but his memory may be a bit selective…or mine is ;) but i recall that drew was signed, for what some thought was “big” money, with little or no interest from teams other than the sox, because he was supposed to provide them with some additional power, that is, homeruns and rbi’s…i don’t remember anything said about him scoring runs or walking a lot…he had shown that he was capable of 30/100…in ’04 he hit 31 hr and 93 rbi, with an ops of over 1.0…while it hasn’t worked out that way, at least to the satisfaction of the press and some fans, drew has added value in other ways: getting on base, and scoring runs…his average won’t compete for a batting title, but he seems to walk a lot, giving him the OPS that is probably disproportionate to his BA…his detractors may be focusing on the fact that in ’09 he’s striking out about 1 out of every 4 at bats, perhaps contradicting the notion that he makes the most of every at bat…but, it doesn’t look like he hurts them defensively either…big upgrade over trot…it kind of reminds me of when the yanks got abreau…we thought, great, here comes a big hr and rbi king, but what we got was a guy who walks and plays terrible defense…oh sure, he contributed by getting on base, and he did drive in over 100 in his 2 full seasons with us, but most were hoping his hr stroke would return, so not everyone got what they hoped for…the only real disappointment for me though was the bad defense…we didn’t need another dh…so, some in boston don’t feel you got what you expected with drew, although you and theo make a good argument that it still turned out ok anyway…

    dc October 1, 2009, 12:34 pm
  • I would say Choo (CLE) might have him beat, given the similar OPS but much more playing time (140 PA), but Drew is certainly in the conversation.
    Drew’s biggest weakness has always been his health, and simply not playing significantly hurts a player’s value.
    This year might be Drew’s best with the Sox, though. Very solid numbers and okay playing time. Two years left on that deal, though. Still, not a bad signing by any means, especially for the Sox who can certainly afford him.

    AndrewYF October 1, 2009, 1:12 pm
  • I think most of the people who expected “HR’s and RBI’s”, dc, were the media. In the 5 seasons before coming to Boston he averaged 20 HR and 65 RBI a season. But his OPS+ over that span was 134.
    The media exaggerated what was expected from Drew, while Theo knew exactly what he was getting. Drew is here for his plate discipline and OBP, and those are two things he has delivered on.

    Atheose October 1, 2009, 1:20 pm
  • ” especially for the Sox who can certainly afford him.”
    Just barely andrew, the sox are no yankees afterall…

    sam-YF October 1, 2009, 1:45 pm
  • he was supposed to provide them with some additional power, that is, homeruns and rbi’s.
    Neither of which actually measures power, as opposed to say… slugging percentage.
    In 2007, AL-average slugging was .435. Drew obviously had a disappointing year, what with his son’s illness and surgery, and was below average, .423.
    In 2008, however, league average was again .435, and Drew slugged .519.
    This year, league average is .444, and Drew is slugging .508.
    Drew has slugged .480 in a Red Sox uniform — significantly higher the past two years — while the league average has been below .440.
    So, yes, he actually has provided quite a bit of power, along with his excellent on-base skills, solid baserunning, and terrific defense.
    I know I’m beating a horse we killed a long time ago in discussing Drew again, but I found this interview fascinating regardless of player. I’ve never heard a GM tell the media, “The measures you use to write and talk about players are wrong.”

    Paul SF October 1, 2009, 2:22 pm
  • > GM tell the media
    That’s exactly why I like this story, that Theo tried to communicate the concept that there is only one “static” in offense: creating an out.

    attackgerbil October 1, 2009, 2:52 pm
  • Now imagine if Cashman would just come out and clear Jeter…”Range is not a stat we use when evaluating our SS’s.” A man can dream…

    John - YF October 1, 2009, 2:59 pm
  • Did Theo gloss over the fact that ‘not making outs’ can also be done fantastically well while on the DL? To my mind, that’s most people’s issue with Drew – he has good rate stats, but he doesn’t play often enough, so they’re less valuable.

    AndrewYF October 1, 2009, 3:01 pm
  • > while on the DL
    Yeah, good point, but he played in 136 so far this season.

    attackgerbil October 1, 2009, 3:21 pm
  • ‘not making outs’ can also be done fantastically well while on the DL
    Drew’s had exactly one DL stint in three years with the Red Sox. Of the 20 playing months the Red Sox have had (including Octobers) so far, Drew has been healthy in 18.5 of them. He’s appeared in 80 percent of the team’s games, and he’s averaged 500 plate appearances per season.
    Yes, not playing does degrade the season-long value of the stats you compile when you do play. But Drew has played well enough often enough to mitigate that argument for now. We’ll see for the next two years as he ages, but he seems to have quite a ways to fall from one of the top — if not the top — right fielders in baseball.

    Paul SF October 1, 2009, 3:32 pm
  • Quite a ways to fall? So JD Drew is unquestionably the top RF in all of baseball, bar none, no one’s even close, etc.?
    That’s more than a bit hyperbolic. Even this year, you could make the argument that Choo, Werth, and Hawpe have been just as good, if not better, solely because they have significantly more playing time.
    Drew also played in just over 100 games last year.
    Look, he’s been one of the better RFers in the game this year, but he’s not unquestionably the best. And he certainly wasn’t unquestionably the best last year either. And it’s primarily due to his playing time, which, while not bad, is certainly not good.
    Tony Massarotti does have it wrong, but you Paul are at the exact opposite of the spectrum.

    AndrewYF October 1, 2009, 3:43 pm
  • Isn’t the opposite end of the spectrum from wrong — right?

    rootbeerfloat October 1, 2009, 3:54 pm
  • No, ‘right’ is usually green. Paul is red and Tony is violet.

    AndrewYF October 1, 2009, 3:58 pm
  • > unquestionably the top RF in all of baseball, bar none, no one’s even close
    No doubt he is one of the top over the last couple seasons, but I don’t think it ever was the point to say he is _the best_. Personally, I’d vote Ichiro, but that’s because I have an unreasonable obsession with speedy outfielders with strong arms.

    attackgerbil October 1, 2009, 4:20 pm
  • In general I have been pretty pleased with JD Drew’s production as a member of the Red Sox. There was a period when he first arrived where all a pitcher had to do was throw him sliders down and away and he would whiff on 3 straight pitches, and he had a disturbing number of weak grounders to 2nd, but I think he has really put in a lot of work since he got here and become an extremely solid hitter.
    However, one thing I do not buy into is that he is paid the proper amount. It’s true that there are a lot of bad contracts out there and a lot of overpaid players. When you look in relativity to some of those (coughcoughZitocough) Drew looks like a bargain. However, would you honestly be able to say, and defend, that Drew is worth millions more to the Sox than: Beckett, Lester, Pedroia, Youklis, and Lowell?
    I’m sorry, but he is overpaid — and I am a pretty staunch defender of his when people say he sucks. I do not care what fangraphs says. The numbers are nice and pretty, but at the end of the day look at Drew in relativity to other players on the same team.

    Ethan-SF October 1, 2009, 4:40 pm
  • Aaand just like that, JD Drew has a minor shoulder injury and will be sitting the next couple of days.

    AndrewYF October 1, 2009, 4:41 pm
  • “I’m listening to what yer sayin’ but I only hear what I want to.” — the most true thing I have ever heard anyone say about themselves at any time ever. I could learn about myself from that, if I were paying attention.

    attackgerbil October 1, 2009, 4:49 pm
  • Only because there is no other baseball news to amuse me…. if the Rockies sweep the Dodgers, LA will be the first team in history to be one win away from clinching for 9 days and NOT win the title. Go Rox!

    rootbeerfloat October 1, 2009, 6:49 pm
  • I don’t really care what the Sox pay anyone when looking at performance, after the fact. I am curious about contract negotiations and valuations on their own terms, particularly when players are in the process of signing or being courted. I am concerned about contract length and position logjams, as well. Those are all mostly separate discussions from what Paul is discussing in this thread, which is the words of Theo Epstein and why assessments of JD Drew are typically completely misguided, and we see some of it in this comment thread as well. This whole “he’s overpaid” stuff, or “Lester is worth more” is simply off-topic. Paul’s post is about the misEvaluation of JD Drew, and the fallacy that his “lack of production” is, in fact, a “lack of production”. It isn’t. People “in the know” still have no clue how to “value” Drew, and this comment thread shows that it isn’t just Massarotti who is lacking these skills.
    JD Drew fascinates me because of this. He proves the point that a load of people have lyin’ eyes.

    SF October 1, 2009, 7:49 pm
  • Rockies clinch a playoff spot… let the “Rocktober” ads begin.

    Atheose October 1, 2009, 7:55 pm
  • me: “he was supposed to provide them with some additional power, that is, homeruns and rbi’s.”
    Paul: “Neither of which actually measures power, as opposed to say… slugging percentage.”
    but, they are more sexy…it was the media questioning his value, right?….
    “…it isn’t just Massarotti who is lacking these skills….”
    as one who has the skills, you have to admit that i got the skills, right sf?…check out what i posted right out of the chute…i praised drew, but suggested that his value may have been derived differently than theo and others originally envisioned…i’m good…

    dc October 1, 2009, 8:24 pm
  • and another thing, while i’m still defending drew, what was theo going to say?…this guy isn’t what i thought he was, i missed the mark, but lucked out anyway, even though he only plays 80% of our games…nah, that wasn’t going to happen…

    dc October 1, 2009, 8:32 pm
  • Hey look, they won, and much more importantly, Lester seemed okay.

    Devine October 1, 2009, 10:14 pm
  • would you honestly be able to say, and defend, that Drew is worth millions more to the Sox than: Beckett, Lester, Pedroia, Youklis, and Lowell?
    I’m genuinely confused by this argument. Dustin Pedroia makes $1.5 million this season. Are you arguing J.D. Drew should be paid baseball’s minimum wage? Drew was a free agent; Pedroia is far from it. Simply looking at a player’s salary in comparison to other players without factoring in the context of when and how they were acquired is simply not very relevant. Baseball is set up to cheat players early and reward them late. So free agents will always look overpaid compared to promising young stars. The inclusion of Lowell also befuddles me, given that Drew actually is worth millions more than Mike.
    So JD Drew is unquestionably the top RF in all of baseball, bar none, no one’s even close, etc.?
    Now that you’ve finished pummeling that strawman, Andrew, let’s discuss what I actually said: he seems to have quite a ways to fall from [being] one of the top — if not the top — right fielders in baseball.
    I have cited two statistics for my argument, which is two more than you have cited for yours. They are both flawed statistics, but one of them — OPS — actually undervalues Drew because on-base percentage is more important than OPS gives it credit for.
    I’ll simply repeat what I cited earlier:
    Drew also has the third-highest OPS among right fielders for the entire season and eighth-highest among all qualified outfielders. Meanwhile his UZR/150 is second-highest among all right fielders in baseball.
    So by one offensive measure that undervalues his primary skill set, J.D. Drew is the third-best; by one defensive measure, J.D. Drew is the second-best. There is no single player above him in both measures. And this is the second year in a row this has happened. This strikes me, then, as a good case that J.D. Drew is one of the best — if not the best — right fielders in baseball today.
    Now, Justin Upton is mighty close in both categories. You mentioned Choo, Werth and Hawpe. Here’s where they all rank with Drew in a couple different categories, and you tell me at the end whether I was being hyperbolic to say Drew is one of the best right fielders in baseball.
    OPS
    1. Justin Upton, .913
    2. J.D. Drew, .898
    3. Brad Hawpe, .897
    5. Jayson Werth, .881
    6. Shin-Soo Choo, .880
    OPS+
    1. Justin Upton, 131
    2. Brad Hawpe, 128
    4. Shin-Soo Choo, 128
    5. Jayson Werth, 127
    7. J.D. Drew, 127
    wOBA
    1. Justin Upton, .393
    2. Shin-Soo Choo, .388
    3. J.D. Drew, .383
    4. Brad Hawpe, .382
    5. Jayson Werth, .381
    Range Runs Above Avg
    (1. Ichiro Suzuki, 11.5)
    2. J.D. Drew, 10.3
    5. Justin Upton, 5.9
    8. Jayson Werth, 0.0
    10. Shin-Soo Choo, -2.1
    15. Brad Hawpe, -13.2
    Arm Runs Above Avg
    5. Justin Upton, 4.1
    6. Jayson Werth, 3.3
    11. Shin-Soo Choo, -0.9
    12. J.D. Drew, -1.9
    (13. Ichiro Suzuki, -2.2)
    19. Brad Hawpe, -6.7
    UZR/150
    (1. Nelson Cruz, 10.0)
    2. J.D. Drew, 9.7
    3. Justin Upton, 7.8
    (4. Ichiro Suzuki, 7.0)
    6. Jayson Werth, 4.5
    10. Shin-Soo Choo, -2.2
    19. Brad Hawpe, -19.8
    These numbers tell me two things:
    1. Justin Upton is the best offensive right fielder in baseball, with Drew essentially tied with three others for second.
    2. If J.D. Drew is not baseball’s best defensive right fielder (with the appropriate heap of salt single-season defensive stats must be taken with), there is no clear candidate to surpass him — maybe Ichiro, maybe Cruz. Of our five, Upton is second, Werth third, with the other two unimpressive (or, in Hawpe’s case, inexcusably brutal) in the field.
    Andrew, we can argue the legitimacy of the stats, whether defensive stats are worth anything at all outside of a three-season sample, etc. But, again, these are now six more stats bolstering Drew’s case as “one of the top” right fielders in the game than you have provided to bolster your case that such an assertion is hyperbolic.

    Paul SF October 1, 2009, 11:34 pm
  • Hey Boras, you need a guy compiling dossiers? Call Paul!
    Great work, compadre.

    SF October 2, 2009, 6:52 am
  • Pwned.

    Atheose October 2, 2009, 7:09 am
  • Gee talk about pummeling a strawman. I guess one should never say anything critical about Drew here at all! Andrew’s counterpoints didnt seem over the top to me.

    sam-YF October 2, 2009, 8:29 am
  • Paul, you still completely ignored the fact that JD Drew, the past two years, has appeared in only 76% of the games the Red Sox played. Why are you ignoring the much less productive players who took his place?
    Your argument of rate stats would be much more legitimate if you included, say, Joey Gathright and Rocco Baldelli’s numbers, to account for the large amount of time that JD Drew missed.
    I agree with you that had Drew actually played full seasons the past two years, he would be the top RF in baseball for those two years.
    But, he hasn’t. So, he isn’t.

    AndrewYF October 2, 2009, 8:29 am
  • i was just saying that this was not “just how they drew it up” as paul’s clever title to the post suggests, or as theo would want us and his detractors in the media to believe…in drew’s last year in LA, he drove in exactly 100 runs, he scored 84 runs, walked 89 times, and ops’d .891…his numbers are fairly similar, with some deviations here and there, for his 3 years in boston, with one glaring exception: rbi…he’s averaged mid-60’s: 64, 64, and 66, with ’08 shortened due to injury…that’s a dramatic dropoff for a guy who proved he could not only score runs but drive them in…in this case, theo is actually trying to make us believe that while drew has scored and ops’d in line with his last year in LA, the deterioration [by 35%] of his ability to push his teammates across home plate [the other half of the run production equation] is somehow irrelevant…all this time i thought leaving runners in scoring position was not a good thing…i respect theo for what he’s accomplished in boston, and i know why you guys hold him in such high esteem, but i think he’s pulling the old bait and switch on us this time…there are so many stats for offense and defense these days that we can always find a way to rationalize our like or dislike of a particular player…or for a gm to defend his player moves…

    dc October 2, 2009, 8:37 am
  • I really think it’s telling that Paul can only use rate stats to show Drew’s productivity.
    VORP, really, is the ideal statistic to use here, at least for offense.
    Offensively, this year, JD Drew ranks 11th out of all RFers in VORP with 30.8 points. Shin-soo Choo ranks first with 51.2 points. Ichiro is a close second with 50.2.
    Last year, JD Drew ranked 10th, with 32.5 points. Impressive, yes, given that he played in only 109 games, but it did indeed limit his total offensive production. Ichiro that year ranked 8th with 34.4, Choo 11th with 32.3.
    Here’s a link to 2008’s results: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=314917
    Even if we take defensive statistics at face value, they can’t make up for that gap in offensive production.
    Drew is a quality RFer, but clearly nowhere near the ‘best in the game’.

    AndrewYF October 2, 2009, 8:40 am
  • “JD Drew fascinates me because of this. He proves the point that a load of people have lyin’ eyes.”
    The weird thing to me is that Drew, aesthetically speaking, has a very nice looking game, at least to my eyes. Really, who has a better swing than him on the Sox? He’s also a graceful fielder, takes good routes to the ball, rarely looks off-balance out there.
    “Pwned.”
    I dislike this term a lot, especially given the context. I think Andrew has made legitimate arguments against Drew’s value. It’s a cliche, but staying healthy is a skill set. Drew has had some unlucky breaks and also has had assorted health issues. When he doesn’t play, his value as a player is affected.
    “Even if we take defensive statistics at face value, they can’t make up for that gap in offensive production.”
    It depends on how great Drew is in the field. I’d imagine his fielding, combined with others’ poor fielding, could push him up quite a bit on the list.

    Nick-YF October 2, 2009, 8:58 am
  • in the discussion of best right fielders and value, how ’bout this guy?
    this guy: 82 runs, 29 hr, 82 rbi, 93 walks, ops .870, salary $5.3m
    drew: 82 runs, 22 hr, 66 rbi, 82 walks, ops .898, salary $14m

    dc October 2, 2009, 9:19 am
  • Drew has Swisher beat this year, even playing in 10 fewer games.
    Yes, most everyone would prefer to have Swisher and his contract situation over Drew and his contract situation, but Swisher is making less money and is 28, while Drew is making Damon and Matsui money for two more years, and is 33.
    This isn’t about value, it’s about production. Value means (or should mean) much less to teams like the Yankees and Red Sox.

    AndrewYF October 2, 2009, 9:35 am
  • “…Drew has Swisher beat this year, even playing in 10 fewer games….”
    how?
    “…This isn’t about value, it’s about production. …”
    so where in that line of stats does drew demonstrate more production?…
    “…Value means (or should mean) much less to teams like the Yankees and Red Sox….”
    point taken, but why then does it constantly resurface here and elsewhere as a topic of heated debate?…in this particular instance, and maybe only for this year, the yanks appear to be getting more bang for their buck…i’d say that’s important…even the yankees don’t have unlimited resources, so having a guy like swisher for a “bargain” is a good thing…

    dc October 2, 2009, 10:05 am
  • Treating defense as if it doesn’t matter when Drew is possibly the best defensive right fielder in the game is helpful for your case, but not exactly helpful at determining the truth. You clearly place little value on defense, which is why you argued Hawpe is a better right fielder, even though he’s actually the worst right fielder in baseball.
    WAR, which considers both playing time and defense, has Drew ranked fifth, behind Ichiro, Upton, Choo and Werth. After Ichiro and Upton, the next three — Choo, Werth and Drew are all within a half-win of each other, which Fangraphs says means they’re essentially tied.
    So even accounting for playing time, Drew is, by this measure, tied for the third-best right fielder in baseball, and second in the American League. I remain comfortable with my statement that J.D. Drew is one of the best right fielders in the game.

    Paul SF October 2, 2009, 10:13 am
  • Andrew’s counterpoints didnt seem over the top to me.
    You mean the part where he argued against Drew being “unquestionably” the top right fielder in the game even though I made no such claim didn’t seem over the top to you? Good to know.

    Paul SF October 2, 2009, 10:15 am
  • Paul,
    Your quote “We’ll see for the next two years as he ages, but he seems to have quite a ways to fall from one of the top — if not the top — right fielders in baseball.”
    So there you do say he could be THE top RF in all of baseball. (I dont know how to use italics to highlight the part of interest) Just because you didnt bold this part of the statement when you re-quoted it, it still remains party of the statement. If you want to focus on the fact that Andrew used the word “unquestionably” to distort your position to a degree be my guest. I think that you are exaggerating his position here as well. I was also referring to the other arguments that he had made in the course of this thread most of which you dont seem to agree with. Im not sure why you are so particularly prickly on this issue of JD Drew and I really dont feel too strongly about him either way but I do think there is room for discussion on both sites.

    sam-YF October 2, 2009, 10:35 am
  • “…I remain comfortable with my statement that J.D. Drew is one of the best right fielders in the game….”
    you should because he is…
    i conveniently left out defense in my swisher comparison, because the quotes you pulled from theo did not discuss defense…drew is much better defensively, while swisher is average at best…offensively though, for the stats that seem to be important to theo anyway, they aren’t too far apart…for me, rbi is part of run production, so i included it, and swisher has a clear advantage…i’ll drop the whole swisher thing now…it’s not that important to me…i just offered it up as food for thought that cherry-picking stats, even if it’s theo, is lame…it’s hurts his credibility as a connoisseur of stats to ignore certain relevant data in favor of those that support his argument…kind of like what i did with swisher by leaving out defense…it was convenient at the time…if i were drew, i’d be salivating about his next contract year…theo has all but assured him he’ll remain one of the top compensated rf’s in the game… ;)

    dc October 2, 2009, 10:36 am
  • his numbers are fairly similar, with some deviations here and there, for his 3 years in boston, with one glaring exception: rbi…he’s averaged mid-60’s: 64, 64, and 66
    Lol at using RBI’s to measure a player’s value.

    Atheose October 2, 2009, 10:41 am
  • i just offered it up as food for thought that cherry-picking stats, even if it’s theo, is lame…it’s hurts his credibility as a connoisseur of stats to ignore certain relevant data in favor of those that support his argument.
    I don’t get this. What stats did Theo cherry pick? He said specifically that the organization does not consider RBI relevant to determining a player’s value. That’s not cherry picking any more than ignoring wins when determining a pitcher’s value, or ignoring the temperature when discussing how much precipitation an area receives. Ignoring irrelevant data is something I personally am glad the Sox front office does.
    So there you do say he could be THE top RF in all of baseball.
    True. He’s probably not, but the fact that he’s been one of the best two years in a row means he could be (without looking at what company he was in last year). Your summary is accurate, unlike Andrew’s summary, which was: So JD Drew is unquestionably the top RF in all of baseball, bar none, no one’s even close, etc.?
    That was clearly a strawman, as Andrew went on to knock down an argument that Drew is “unquestionably the top RF in baseball, bar none,” which no one — except Andrew — has made.

    Paul SF October 2, 2009, 11:59 am
  • I did intentionally misconstrue Paul’s point, and for that I apologize. But I think it’s pretty clear that JD Drew is certainly not the top RFer in all of baseball (that title, as SF stated before, plainly goes to Ichiro). It’s not a ‘probably not’, it’s a ‘definitely not’.
    What is probable is that Drew is up there, although there is a chance that he is not, because defensive statistics are very unreliable. What we do know for a fact is that JD Drew, over the past two seasons, has been the 10th or 11th -most valuable RFer with the bat. While that is above-average, it’s nothing spectacular, and I’m fairly certain that people who talk down JD Drew’s production are completely ignoring the fielding aspect and focusing on the bat. And, while their focus on RBIs is misguided and wrong, it is still a symptom of the fact that Drew simply doesn’t play enough to produce runs at a rate that would put him as one of the top RFers in the game with his bat.

    AndrewYF October 2, 2009, 12:35 pm
  • come on ath…way to take what i said totally out of context…rbi’s are a component of runs scored…if baseball wins and losses were directly determined by vorp’s, and warp’s, and ops, and candy and nuts, instead of runs scored, you’d have an argument…runs are scored via 2 components: guys getting on base, and other guys driving them in, but i guess you and theo are saying that rbi’s, that is, leaving runners on base, whether in scoring position or not, is irrelevant…I hadn’t heard that one before…leave it up to small ball, or the real big boppers to clean up, or maybe nobody’s on when drew comes up, so he doesn’t have the chances to drive in runs…i don’t know, and i don’t have the energy to look it up…look, i’ve already conceded in a couple of variations that drew is a very good outfielder, and worthy of paul‘s praise…his on base and runs scored are in line for him, and he’s among the leaders defensively, but his rbi totals [the other run scoring component] are way off what might have been expected, that’s all…in other words, his total production is down overall…i think the sox expected more power from him than what they‘re getting, and glossing over it by pretending it’s not important now is not fooling me…add to that he strikes out 25% of the time in ’09, has only played in 80% of the games since he’s been in boston, and you get the skepticism from the media guys and some fans…i didn’t say i agreed with it necessarily, i’m just trying to offer up a devil’s advocate explanation for paul who can’t understand why everyone doesn’t have the same perception of drew as him, and theo, and you apparently…not sure why you want to antagonize me about an opinion i have that happens to be reasonable…
    baseball 101: i looked up vorp in wikipedia because i’m not as well versed in stats-speak as you guys are…guess what they said:
    “Baseball is a zero-sum game; in other words, one team can only win if another loses. A team wins by scoring more runs than its opponent.
    It follows, then, that a contribution of any runs helps a team toward a win, no matter how small the contribution.”
    andrew already did the vorp analysis for us…theo focused on scoring runs and not making outs paul…he didn’t want to talk about driving in runs because it wasn’t convenient…while he declared that drew scores “tons of runs”, he neglected to say that his run total is nearly identical for the past 4 years, and is in fact the same this year as it was the year he drove in 100…any way you look at it, he has accounted for fewer runs being scored, as a direct result of his effort…i don’t know if he makes up for it by pushing runners into scoring position for the batters coming up behind him, but that would be interesting…
    like any stat, rbi in isolation is at best an incomplete view, but to declare it is irrelevant, along the lines of a pitcher’s wins and losses, and not worthy of consideration is to deny that the entire process of scoring runs is important to winning games…

    dc October 2, 2009, 12:53 pm
  • I highly recommend this thread at SoSH, which is an internal debate amongst Sox fans over JD (it’s not a Sox-Yanks thing with Drew!).
    http://tinyurl.com/yel7gx5
    I linked to the thread at a post that has a great analogy, but the thread itself is fascinating. Reading with a critical eye is important, there is both bombast in there as well as juicy data.
    JD, to me, is a wonderful ballplayer, and is a traditional ball-watcher’s nightmare, as far as I can tell. With Drew the Red Sox seem to have fully embraced the anti-traditional, and this has paid tremendous dividends (WS Championship, one game from a WS, and another playoff appearance). It’s not all ascribable to Drew, by any means, I don’t want to hyperbolize, but it should be clear at this point that Drew has been a major contributor, despite what people see when they look in the RBI column. I think that is Theo’s point, in the end.

    SF October 2, 2009, 1:11 pm
  • “…With Drew the Red Sox seem to have fully embraced the anti-traditional, and this has paid tremendous dividends (WS Championship, one game from a WS, and another playoff appearance). …”
    that’s understood sf, but you can’t have a whole team of guys with less than 70 rbi, unless every guy on the roster hits that mark…somebody’s gotta knock ‘em in…it’s like bowling…you set up the pins, then you knock ‘em down to score…you have 4 guys who are at or sniffing 100 rbi on your team this year…i wonder if those 4 guys think it’s irrelevant…i’ll say it again, drew’s detractors thought he would do more of that…i don’t know that theo ever set different expectations along those lines…that makes the line of questioning quite reasonable…

    dc October 2, 2009, 1:21 pm
  • but you can’t have a whole team of guys with less than 70 rbi,
    Sure you could, and you’d be a damn good team. And if they all played nearly league-best defense it would be a fantastic team (depending on the pitching, of course).
    14 position players each driving in 55 runs would be ninth in the majors or better in runs scored. That would be unlikely to happen, obviously, but it sums up the fallacy of the statement.

    SF October 2, 2009, 1:33 pm
  • For what it’s worth, over his career 15% of runners on base during Drew’s at-bats have scored during that at-bat. While he’s played with the Red Sox, it’s been 14%.
    The MLB average is 14%.
    Meanwhile, based on that Bill James “Runs Created Per Game” stat, Drew averaged 7.6 runs per game in the 8 years before Boston, and 6.9 since.
    One more! If you had 9 players just like Red Sox-era JD Drew, they’d have a projected win% (assuming they had average pitching and defense) of .636. So, you know, not too bad.

    Rex Manning Day October 2, 2009, 2:07 pm
  • at people who talk down JD Drew’s production are completely ignoring the fielding aspect and focusing on the bat. And, while their focus on RBIs is misguided and wrong, it is still a symptom of the fact that Drew simply doesn’t play enough to produce runs at a rate that would put him as one of the top RFers in the game with his bat.
    I don’t disagree at all. My point this whole time has been that Drew is underrated somewhat on offense because his primary skill set is still largely overlooked, and is completely underrated on defense because his range is so good that he doesn’t really ever make the spectacular plays (because he doesn’t need to). Overall, he’s a complete-package right fielder, moreso than most in the game. Obviously, he’d provide even more value if he did not need occasional rest for his balky back or hamstrings, or if he had not had the ruptured disk that sidelined him for September 2008, but the value he provides is still incredible, and I think that’s largely overlooked among the media and a certain subset of the fanbase.
    Anyway, I’m glad we were able to reach some common ground on this.
    you can’t have a whole team of guys with less than 70 rbi
    Maybe not, but there’s a statistic — Offensive Winning Percentage — that tries to measure how many games a team would win with nine of a given player in the lineup (given average pitching and defense). For J.D. Drew, the number is .658, or between 106 and 107 games. So, pretty safe to assume that if the Sox had a team full of J.D. Drews, some of them might compile some pretty impressive RBI totals.
    Fun fact: J.D. Drew has a higher OPS and a higher slugging percentage — and more home runs — this year than the 2006 season in which he drove in 100 runs. Which should tell you all you need to know about the utility of runs batted in.

    Paul SF October 2, 2009, 2:09 pm
  • so the sox can’t afford players the way the Yankees can, but they’re smart when they vastly overpay for RF production?

    Ryan October 2, 2009, 2:20 pm
  • the vorp data is the most overlooked in this thread. if drew could stay consistently healthy his true value would come through. rate stats are just a way to lie with numbers.

    Ryan October 2, 2009, 2:23 pm
  • “[R]ate stats are just a way to lie with numbers.”
    o.O

    Rex Manning Day October 2, 2009, 2:40 pm
  • Paul’s doing an admirable job holding up the ‘JD Drew is good’ argument, so I’ll leave that to him. My big takeaway from this article is “wow, I am so glad that Theo’s our GM” – to have a GM say, in public, that they don’t care about RBIs, that not making outs is the most important stat, and that reporters who focus on the former rather than the latter is flatly wrong is a great thing to see.

    Micah-SF October 2, 2009, 3:17 pm
  • that they don’t care about RBIs
    This is probably a dead horse, but I think it is more that the Sox care about RBIs, but they know exactly how much (or how little) to care about them. If guys stop making outs, the RBIs happen, for someone. They have to, if guys make fewer outs. Hence, guys who make fewer outs are extremely important and valuable, and this has been overlooked for a long time, we are ingrained to look at RBIs as an arbiter.
    If only CY voters were as smart with how they assess win totals, there would be fewer undeserving CY winners. (Hi, Bob Welch!)

    SF October 2, 2009, 3:47 pm
  • JD Drew bores me. Or at least discussions about him do at this point.

    sam-YF October 2, 2009, 6:28 pm
  • come on ath…way to take what i said totally out of context…rbi’s are a component of runs scored
    DC, RBI’s are one of the worst indicators of a player’s value because he cannot control when other runners are on base. There are a dozen stats that are ahead of RBI’s when it comes to measuring a player’s value. Do you think Wins are a good way of measuring a pitcher’s value? Ultimately the game ends up in a win or a loss, so surely Wins are a good measure, right?
    I had thought this sort of baseball analysis was starting to die. I guess not.

    Atheose October 2, 2009, 6:32 pm
  • I had thought this sort of baseball analysis was starting to die. I guess not.
    That kind of analysis will not die until the mainstream broadcasters (espn, fox, etc. Even NESN is culpable) stop using them in day-to-day discussion of the sport.
    Just look at http://espn.go.com/mlb/statistics
    As long as RBIs are listed as one of the main offensive statistics, most people will still consider them important.

    Ethan-SF October 2, 2009, 7:03 pm
  • you guys are so defensive of your players that you completely missed the point…and you really need to review what i said in its entirety…i said that i understand why you have a love affair with drew, but i don’t think that’s why you got him in the first place, but if denying it makes you feel better and theo look better, that’s ok with me…yep, rbi’s alone don’t win games…i think i also said that any stat in isolation can be misleading, and shouldn’t be manipulated to prove a point…i’ll say it again, tell your top 5 rbi guys [yeah, 5 have more than drew] that rbi’s aren’t important…they’ll probably tell you to let drew drive himself in…ok, repeat after me, guys get on base, guys drive ‘em in…that wasn’t so hard, was it?
    sf, i’ll give you a pass on your comment at 1:33pm…you’re in fantasy-land if you think that’s happening…
    by the way, if i ever see another sox fan mention hr’s or rbi’s in a flattering way about a sox player…hahahaha…fun time

    dc October 2, 2009, 8:42 pm
  • another thing sf:
    “…If guys stop making outs, the RBIs happen, for someone. …”
    i could say, gee, but i thought rbi’s weren’t important, or “irrelevant”
    instead, i’ll say: “someone”, but not drew, that was the point….luckily, someone’s picking up his slack…he’s scored the same number of runs the past 4 years, so his drop off in rbi’s is an issue, or it’s not…again, i’m not saying he’s not valuable, he just has different value than what was anticipated…
    ath, this is not the same argument as pitcher’s won/loss…i happen to agree with you…too many variables…ask grienke…
    come on guys, you’re almost forcing me to insert the kool-aid gag, which i’ll refrain from out of respect, but seriously, run production isn’t important?…if rbi’s aren’t important, neither are runs scored…so there you go theo, sf says: if guys aren’t making outs, runs happen, for “someone”, uh, maybe them, themselves…i guess…

    dc October 2, 2009, 8:57 pm
  • dude has missed close to 100 games over the last three years. let’s see the rate stats with his replacements and their salaries factored in. with that accurate analysis he’s lucky if he’s top ten.
    but why are people talking about drew so much? he is what he’s always been – good not great. that’s not what he’s paid for but we knew that when he signed. nothing has changed since then. so why should we give two cents?

    Ryan October 2, 2009, 10:07 pm
  • ryan, the thing is that they have to defend him because by some standards they overpaid to get him and then ballyhooed his signing…now they can’t understand why the media is questioning his value…i offered a reasonable explanation but was clobbered for the effort…he is a very good player, but for different reasons than perhaps the media, some fans, and i argue, even the sox expected, a point i’ve made that seems to be missed by my sf friends here…instead they seem to be intent on promoting the ridiculous argument that run production doesn’t matter…so the 5 sox guys that have more rbi than drew are irrelevant…
    in fact, sf, who i on occasion vehemently disagree with, but normally respect, believes that runs, more specifically rbi, just “happen”…unreal…

    dc October 2, 2009, 10:35 pm
  • dc, I am honestly dying to know: why do you think that a single period looks so lonely that you cannot bear to use less than three of them in a row? The whole ellipsis thing seriously weirds me out. I think I’ve even raised this before…Anyway, apologies for the digression.

    stuck working October 3, 2009, 12:30 am
  • …sorry…sw…i…can’t…help…myself…

    dc October 3, 2009, 7:19 am
  • and, i’m sure i could find a thousand other examples of this little inconsistency, but the rice HOF debate seemed like it would be the easiest to find:
    http://www.yfsf.org/2007/11/rice-is-nice.html
    paul’s post shows jim’s place on various offensive leaderboards for a 12 year period, including, you bet, hr’s and rbi’s…then there’s my personal favorite: “Runs Produced (Runs plus RBI minus HR)”…sounds eerily like what i was trying to promote throughout this thread: scoring runs has 2 components: guys getting on base and other guys knocking them in…i didn’t subtract out hrs’ from the equation, but my thought process appears to be where paul’s was when he was arguing for rice…”runs produced”…not that i feel vindicated, because i’m more frustrated…at least admit the inconsistency, or better clarify it…rbi’s are only irrelevant for a guy that you don’t expect to get rbi’s…he contributes in other ways…they are relevant for the guy that knocks him in…theo’s flippant comment: “You guys can talk about RBIs if you want. We ignore them in the front office.” …and some of the comments in support of it, just don’t wash…while drew’s “runs produced” are way down for a guy you might expect to drive in 90 or so, he’s still a fine ballplayer, worthy of your praise and admiration…i never wanted to make this about him…my beef was with theo, and later on some of you commenters…

    dc October 3, 2009, 8:05 am
  • I can see the source of dc’s frustration and would probably share it if I had been engaged in this debate. There has been no response to Andrew’s assertion of VORP as the best stat by which to rank Drew relative to others other than to assert that this doesn’t sufficiently account for defense – something that Epstein hinself doesn’t even mention…and that’s where this debate started. And then rather blanket statements (like HR’s do not measure power or that RBIs are irrelevant) are frankly absurd. Argue that these or other traditionally-used stats are insufficient and even sometimes misleading – fine – but to go to the other extreme is just silly. The strangeness of this is punctuated by the fact that the main counterpoints to Paul’s and others’ points here have been presented by dc, who has not once denied that Drew is a v good player. He has simply said that Drew’s production has come in a form other than was expected, that Drew’s missed playing time should be factored into evaluations of his performance and rank (though this point has been made more by Andrew) and that Drew is overpiced.
    It’s not heretical to assert any of these points and I would say there is ample evidence cited throughout this thread to support all of them just as there is evidence to support that Drew is one of the top few (1, 3, 5, 7 – I don’t know) RF’s in baseball.

    IronHorse October 3, 2009, 12:56 pm
  • I thought it was interesting to see Posnanski draw attention to the part of the Theo interview that Paul bolded and which I took to be the main point of his post, until the bold and somewhat off-the-cuff claim in his last sentence that has drawn most of the commentary here: http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2009/10/03/theo/

    stuck working October 3, 2009, 1:06 pm
  • There has been no response to Andrew’s assertion of VORP as the best stat by which to rank Drew relative to others other than to assert that this doesn’t sufficiently account for defense
    So, in other words, there has been a significant response to Andrew’s assertion of VORP as the best stat. Aside from that, I posted wOBA, which also is an offense-only stat that accounts for playing time, and it ranks Drew third among all MLB right fielders. We can throw stats at each other all day, but we’re not trying to prove Drew is the best right fielder, just that he’s one of the best, as I stated, and I haven’t really heard any good argument to counter that.
    He has simply said that Drew’s production has come in a form other than was expected, that Drew’s missed playing time should be factored into evaluations of his performance and rank (though this point has been made more by Andrew) and that Drew is overpiced.
    1. Where is the evidence that Drew’s production has come in a form other than expected? He was expected to provide good power and elite on-base skills. In Boston, he has been well above league average in slugging and has been terrific at getting on base.
    2. Drew’s missed playing time IS factored into evaluations of his performance. wOBA does it, VORP does it, WAR does it. No one is denying that Drew has missed time, but it does behoove us to note that he’s landed on the DL exactly once in his three years and been healthy for 18.5 of the 20 (soon to be 19.5 of 21) playing months he’s been in a Boston uniform. Which means that the missed playing time is not as big a factor as his detractors seem to want it to be.
    3. Drew is not overpriced. We’ve had this argument a million times, but $14 million per year for his time thus far in Boston, plus his postseason heroics, has been probably about right.
    You say “it is not heretical” to make these points. I agree. They are the backbone of the reasonable arguments made by his detractors. They are points that should be raised and addressed.
    You say there is “ample evidence” to support all these points. I disagree. There is zero evidence, based on the Red Sox’ own statements, that they got anything different than what they expected (he’s having a better season this year than he was in his pre-signing year of 2006). There is zero evidence that we have not been considering Drew’s playing time in this conversation (I have referenced it a couple times and used stats that account for it). And there is zero evidence to conclude Drew is overpaid, given the context of his signing — the market at the time, the team’s needs, and his subsequent production.
    I told myself I was going to stop responding because I don’t want to go all Rob on this thread, but I feel very strongly about this in part because I simply do not understand where these arguments are coming from. There seems to be a knee-jerk reaction against the idea that J.D. Drew is an elite right fielder, I suppose partly because of the stereotypes about him — fragile, overpaid, career-long disappointment — and partly because the things that he’s best at, getting on base and defense, are very hard to notice, especially on a team with Ortiz and Ramirez/Bay and Youkilis and Pedroia.
    blanket statements (like HR’s do not measure power or that RBIs are irrelevant) are frankly absurd.
    Home runs are a component of power but they do not measure how much power a person has. Jason Bay has 36 home runs, while Kevin Youkilis has 27. Does that mean Bay has significantly more power than Youkilis? Of course not. Youkilis is slugging .551, while Bay is slugging .540. Slugging percentage measures power, ISO actually measures power more accurately by stripping out batting average, but home runs do not measure anything except how many home runs a player has hit.
    RBIs, because they depend intensely on the context of each individual plate appearance, are irrelevant in measuring the value of a player. When Theo Epstein, arguably the most successful general manager of the decade, and certainly the most successful in Red Sox history, says his club does not even look at them when assessing players, I don’t see how they could in any way be considered relevant. Are they good to have? Sure. Better to have more than fewer. But having more is in of itself not indicative of how good the player is. Otherwise, we can argue that David Ortiz (97 RBI) is having a significantly better year than J.D. Drew (66 RBI), or that Julio Lugo had a good year in 2007 with his 73 RBI (and 65 OPS+), or that MVP Dustin Pedroia had a bad one that season with his 50 RBI.
    they seem to be intent on promoting the ridiculous argument that run production doesn’t matter
    This is completely wrong. Run production matters a great deal. The problem is that RBI do not measure how many runs a player is likely to produce, nor does it measure how many runs a player has produced. If you insist on using statistics that feature “runs” in them, try Runs Created, which gives Drew 92, or Runs Created per 27 outs, which assumes nine J.D. Drews in a lineup, which would then score 7.2 runs per game. There’s the aforementioned Offensive Win Percentage, which says the Sox would have won 107 games with a lineup full of Drews. All these numbers indicate that J.D. Drew is an excellent run producer.

    Paul SF October 3, 2009, 1:47 pm
  • his doesn’t sufficiently account for defense – something that Epstein hinself doesn’t even mention
    Also, IH, this isn’t true. I didn’t post the whole interview but Joe Pos quoted quite a bit more in the link SW posted, including this line from Theo:
    And J.D.’s certainly having another good year for us. He’s up around a .900 OPS right now, and he’s playing really good defense in right field, he deserves an awful lot of credit for that, he’s been pretty darned good for the three years that he’s been here if you look at the underlying performance.
    Well, it’s really been more like two years and change, but I’ll give J.D. a break since his son had all those health issues for the first few months of 2007.

    Paul SF October 3, 2009, 1:54 pm
  • This thread should honestly just be closed at this point. Anybody who has posted anything in disagreement with what Paul believes about JD Drew has been essentially shouted down. Everyone else’s point of view is rendered unreasonable or wrong in his mind and there isnt much point in continuing the discussion in a third thread on this topic in the last 2 weeks with over 50 comments. I have great respect for much of Paul’s posting here over the years but I really feel this entire subject has got out of hand and is a huge distraction on this site. I doubt that there would be this much discussion in defending an undervalued yankee such as Robbie Cano so Im not sure why this issue is still be pushed here.

    sam-YF October 3, 2009, 3:18 pm
  • HR’s are a component of power but are at the same time irrelevant when considering a player’s power? My point Paul was exactly that while stats like HRs are not the best measure of power, that should not be turned into an argument that they are irrelevant when judging power. What is the greatest indicator of a player’s power in any given AB? Hitting a HR. There is nothing a player can do in a single AB that is more indicative of his power than hitting that HR. And if you want to take samples to prove this, do not take two guys with relatively similar slugging percentages where the more powerful one has slightly fewer HRs in a given year. This is exactly the kind of disingenuous statistical cherry-picking that you often criticize in others. Take one guy who averages 1 HR per 50 ABs over a full career and one who averages 1 HR per 15 ABs for a career of similar length and tell me that there is any way that the former can be shown to have greater power with any stat. HRs are not the best measure of power. They are a measure of power. Indeed, if you want to stick with HRs and SLG to prove your point, you’d have to show that players with more HRs than other players are equally likely to have lower SLG rates than they are to have higher SLG rates. And if you can’t do that then you simply can not say that HRs are irrelevant in judging power. Limited? Yes. Only part of the story? Yes. But part of the story nonetheless.
    What I really don’t get is the strawman you keep raising, captured succinctly by your description of the “knee-jerk reaction to the idea that Drew is an elite RF’er”. It seems to me that your most vocal debate-partner in this thread has acknowledged that Drew is exactly that throughout. And I certainly didn’t include anything in my single comment that opposes that assertion.
    Even when Andrew raised VORP he acknowledged that it is a good measure “at least for offense” and was clearly making the point therefore that perhaps Drew should be considered around #10 or so in the league based on offense alone, after which defensive rankings could/would raise him in those rankings.
    By your own invocation of WAR, Drew ranks 5th in the majors, yet your post says he has a strong case for being the best RF’er in the majors for a second year in a row (a statement that could be read 2 ways: over the entirety of this 2-year period he has performed best OR he clearly was the best in ’08 and has a claim on being the best in ’09 too). Regardless, that sentence in your post says much more than simply that he is one of the elites in the game so I don’t think it is right to backtrack to the latter statement and imply that anyone taking issue with your assertion up top is also arguing that Drew is not elite(op 5/whatever. The elite or “one of the best” labels were not seriously challenged here (and not because dc tried and failed but because he never was arguing with placing drew in these categories)..
    As far as the money argument – if what you’re saying is that Drew was the best RF’er the Sox could land at the time they got him and that they could only get him for the size contract they gave him AND that the market for RFers subsequently improved for buyers so he therefore may be overpriced relative to other elite RF’er contracts but not for the year he joined the Sox, I imagine many would readily agree and this would get at the truth that exists in both the argument that he is overpriced and the argument that he is fairly priced. If you are saying that Drew is giving as good or better performance-for-the-dollar than every other elite RF’er then you’ll probably have a legit counter-argument.

    IronHorse October 3, 2009, 3:28 pm
  • Anybody who has posted anything in disagreement with what Paul believes about JD Drew has been essentially shouted down.
    Sam, I’m sorry you feel that way, but that’s not even a close approximation to the tone of this thread, and completely unfair.
    Limited? Yes. Only part of the story? Yes. But part of the story nonetheless.
    Fair enough, though I would say very limited. A player with a lot of home runs is likely to have more power than a player with very few, but once you’re within 15 homers of each other, I’m not sure it’s useful in determining how productive a player is. One player that always comes to my mind is Tony Armas, who led the AL in 1984 with 43 homers and 123 RBI … and posted a whopping 123 OPS+. His homer and RBI totals were very misleading about how good a hitter he really was.
    What I really don’t get is the strawman you keep raising, captured succinctly by your description of the “knee-jerk reaction to the idea that Drew is an elite RF’er”. It seems to me that your most vocal debate-partner in this thread has acknowledged that Drew is exactly that throughout.
    Except he hasn’t:
    Drew is a quality RFer, but clearly nowhere near the ‘best in the game’. 8:40 am yesterday.
    And when Andrew raised VORP, you’re right that he did note it was an offense-only stat, but he also claimed Drew’s defense did not make up the difference, leading to the quote I just posted. So I would argue the elite and “one of the best” labels were absolutely questioned here, otherwise what would be arguing about? Why would stats be raised seeking to show Drew misses too many games, or isn’t that good on offense, if everyone agreed he was “one of the best — if not the best — right fielders in baseball.” Maybe they’d be arguing the parenthetical statement, and I’m fine with acknowledging, having looked at the numbers since then, that Drew is not the best right fielder in the game. That distinction goes to either Justin Upton or Ichiro. But if we were arguing just that point, this would have ended quite some time ago, and Andrew’s statement makes clear we weren’t just arguing whether Drew was the No. 1 right fielder in baseball. We were arguing whether he was “near the ‘best in the game,'” which he clearly is.
    Now we’re arguing about what we’re arguing about, so I guess this thread has definitely jumped the shark. But forgive me for being a little sensitive to the new claim that I’m apparently arguing against points that haven’t been made, or “shouting down” those who disagree (a claim that is pretty ludicrous in a written setting). These points have been made, and I think Andrew and I have found the happy middle ground, one that did not appear to exist when this began.

    Paul SF October 3, 2009, 7:39 pm
  • Fair enough Paul. And I agree, for what it’s worth.

    IronHorse October 3, 2009, 8:07 pm
  • “…The problem is that RBI do not measure how many runs a player is likely to produce, nor does it measure how many runs a player has produced…”
    this has become a discussion of what a player is “likely” to produce paul?…wow…the 2nd half of that comment, “nor does it [rbi's] measure how many runs a player has produced”, is in direct conflict with your defense of rice for the hall of fame, which i pointed out…i even included the forensic evidence…frankly my friend, you have no more credibility on these subjects…your quotations of statistics are now in question, to be take with a boatload of salt…i’m sure your usual cast of apologists will defend you, but i can’t take you seriously any longer when you deny facts that you yourself have espoused in earlier conversations…by the way, ask your guru bill james if rbi’s are an important consideration of a player’s production…
    “This thread should honestly just be closed at this point.”
    sam, i’m sorry, but this is my fault…i hate bullshit, and this is what this site becomes sometimes…i wasn’t alone in this debate i know, but i felt like i was flailing until you and IH came along…it’s ridiculous really…i never said that drew wasn’t a good player, just that i understood why others questioned his lack of production…especially last year when he only played in 2/3 of the sox games, and his run production was much less that the sox should have expected from a guy who proved he could score runs in the mid-80’s and drive them in over 90…the stats are valuable until they don’t prove your point i guess…unreal, rbi’s aren’t important, and water ain’t wet…

    dc October 3, 2009, 8:12 pm

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