Why’s Everybody Always Pickin’ On Him?

SF and Rob had an interesting conversation in the game thread, SF saying he expected Drew to become the player the Sox thought they were getting when they paid huge amounts of money for him. The implication, of course, is that he has not — and I’d agree, to a point.

In fact, the prevailing viewpoint throughout Sox nation — both fans and media — is that Drew has been struggling since he first put on a Sox uniform. Certainly, that’s understandable. It has seemed like every time the right fielder looks about to put it all together, he either tweaks a hammy or hits a tough lefty.

Drew’s own struggles haven’t helped his cause, and his struggles are amplified by his enormous contract (along with the bizarre state of limbo in which it sat). He hasn’t been helped by the sportswriters, who openly mocked his contract before the season and seem to almost enjoy being proven right by his struggles.

Recently, the Boston Globe referred to Drew’s "season-long slump," a statement that is simply inaccurate but seems to be the feeling of most Sox fans:

  • April 2 – April 23 (18 games): .350/.437/.500, 8 RBI
  • April 24 – June 1 (29 games): .143/.282/.194, 9 RBI
  • June 4 – July 13 (31 games): .317/.415/.519, 16 RBI
  • July 16 – Aug. 4 (15 games): .173/.241/.250, 7 RBI

Those last 15 games seem to coincide with Drew’s worries about his son. But I would not consider 41 games (out of 85) of .300+/.400+/.500 baseball a "season-long slump." Drew has provided more production with his bat than many believe, and I expect once his son recovers a bit more, he will finish the season strong.

One other thing about RBI, which Rob brought up. Even during his June/July hot streak, Drew drove in runs at what one could consider a fairly lackluster pace, amounting to 84 RBI over a full season. His overall numbers indicate he has driven in slightly fewer runs than the average ballplayer with the same number of plate appearances while having more opportunities than average.

Unfortunately for Drew, his hot streak coincided with cold streaks by most of the rest of the Sox lineup, likely limiting his opportunities when he would have been most able to take advantage of them.

All that to say: J.D. Drew hasn’t been as bad as you think he is. Like SF, I expect a redemption of sorts this August and September.

11 comments… add one

  • You are right: the “season-long slump” thing is just bad reporting, as is becoming rampant amongst many beat writers. Too quick with an easy meme, they are.
    The problem with Drew, statistically, is that his hot and cold periods don’t balance out to career-average. His 2007 OPS is over 100 points lower than his career OPS, so obviously he’s had a sub-par year at the plate. I have high hopes, though, I very much like the way he plays the game. I don’t find it passive, or emotionless, or anything like that. I find it clean and no-nonsense.
    I expect my sentiments to be considered an apology for Theo, but they aren’t; I didn’t love the signing when it happened and said so, but have actually been somewhat more enthusiastic having seen Drew play. I know this makes no sense considering his erratic play.

    SF August 5, 2007, 9:18 pm
  • I might be reading this wrong on BP’s site, but JD Drew’s VORP is 0.1. I’m not sure what that means, but it does suggest that Drew has been a big disappointment this season.

    Nick-YF August 5, 2007, 10:05 pm
  • At 6, JD Drew has fewer win shares than Julio Lugo according to the Hardball Times website. Julio Lugo has 7.

    Nick-YF August 5, 2007, 10:07 pm
  • I don’t quite understand how this is possible (sincerely) but Johnny Damon has more win shares than JD Drew. Does this mean that win shares are meaningless measures of performance?

    Nick-YF August 5, 2007, 10:17 pm
  • JD Drew has been by far the worst regular (although, really, how regular is he anymore?) right fielder in the game this season.
    You could say Damon has had a season-long slump, too, and many wouldn’t argue.
    Both Drew and Damon have been simply awful this season for the money they’re getting, and it’s not just perception. Drew looked pretty comfortable against the familiar territory of the Junior Varsity league, but he went right back to his non-productive ways as soon as he hit the AL again. Maybe he’s hiding an injury? I know his contract states that the Sox can reduce the years if he spends a certain amount of time on the DL. Frankly, I’m kind of surprised the Sox haven’t put him there once this year.

    AndrewYF August 5, 2007, 10:35 pm
  • Again, “looking awful” is pretty subjective. For half the season, Drew has actually looked really damn good (I don’t think Chase Wright thought Drew looked so awful, for example). Could he have been injured for the six weeks he fell into the toilet? Maybe, but it’s a little late now.
    I don’t understand that Win Shares thing either. The Yakees have even fewer win shares to dole out than the Sox do. The oinly thing I can think of is that for much of the season thus far, the Sox have had a lot of high-performing players — Ortiz, Youkilis, Lowell, Pedroia, Beckett, Matsuzaka, Papelbon, Okajima — eating up most of the win shares do the underachievers really get shafted, whereas the Yankees have has essentially Rodriguez, Jeter and Posada, with all the others being split fairly evenly.

    Paul SF August 6, 2007, 2:05 am
  • so stuff like “winshares” is crap afterall…thank God, and just when i was starting to feel guilty about not being a stat-head….
    as for drew, at least he’s not carl pavano…then again, he’s not melky either… ;)

    dc August 6, 2007, 11:10 am
  • I don’t know Paul about your larger point that Drew hasn’t been as bad as we think. I agree that to characterize what he’s done as a season-long slump is not correct, but his overall numbers are pretty brutal for a right-fielder. I actually think he’s been lucky that the Sox have been so good and there is so much good will toward the team right now because if they were in the least bit struggling to make the post-season right now, Drew would likely be booed mercilessly given his contract and numbers. I hadn’t looked closely at Drew’s overall numbers until this post and they’re pretty bad. Add that to the fact that certain defensive metrics have him playing a poor right field, and he’s actually hurting the Sox more than helping them. Those stretches where he batted in the .100′s took away scoring chances for the Sox.
    But, like SF, I actually think he’s a cool player to watch. He’s called passionless, but I think it’s just that he has an effortless quality about his game. I think he’s just fundamentally a very gifted player–amazing swing for instance. It’s hard to imagine that his numbers won’t get better given his history and overall talent, but maybe this thing with his son has taken a lot out of him, or maybe he’s a bit hurt.

    Nick-YF August 6, 2007, 11:30 am
  • but maybe this thing with his son has taken a lot out of him, or maybe he’s a bit hurt
    I mentioned this in yesterday’s game thread, but I just cannot fathom the seriously negative impact of having a child in need of major surgery on one’s ability to play with focus. I am not making excuses for him, and he’s certainly being paid well for his services, but having a sick child is brutal; I went through what in retrospect was a minor crisis with my son last year (at the age of 18 months) and it was sincerely traumatic; there is so much psychic pain in seeing your kid go through something health-related that I can’t even describe how it felt. I missed work for three days (not being next to his hospital crib was not an option – for me), and I could barely focus for a full week, for what was, in hindsight, a relatively minor incident and one with no long-term implications, unlike Drew’s scenario. I personally cannot discount the major impact this may be having on his performance, even if Drew himself may nobly deny this.

    SF August 6, 2007, 11:47 am
  • Last night I made a quick analysis of Drew and just his RBI numbers. He does have a low number of RBI’s for what we are paying him to hit 5th in the lineup and protect Manny.
    I know that the issue with his kid is bothering him and is affecting his play. That surgery was a major one for a child his age. So his child and the injuries are a MAJOR factor in his performance.
    Drew has not been an RBI machine this year, but he does manage to get on base. The following are his walk totals by month:
    April: 13
    May: 16
    June: 10
    July: 12
    Perhaps what Tito needs to do is place him in the lineup according to what he is currently doing. I know that I will probably be slaughtere for this. Usually when he is facing righties he takes a lot of pitches. Is he maybe suited right now to hit #2? He did a pretty good job with the leadoff spot, but with Coco finally hitting we do not need to put him there. Is perhaps putting him in the 2 hole in front of Papi and putting Lowell #5 with Youk 6th a better solution? Not sure, just simply an idea.
    Paul was right in his comment earlier in the thread. Drew was really the only thing we had early in the season when Manny and Papi hadn’t realized we had left spring training.

    Rob August 6, 2007, 5:44 pm
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