Familiar Territory

Sheesh. Lose Internet access for a week, and the game threads turn into WEEI, all but calling for J.D. Drew to be replaced, injured or worse and labeling him a failure in Boston after two whole months.

It’s clear Drew is in a bona fide slump. His numbers over the past month are terrible, and adjusting his BABIP from .208 to .290 does little to make them look better. But some perspective is needed here. Drew started the season hot and has been slumping since he went 3 for 4 on April 20 to bring his average back to .375. In the 27 games since, he has put up a paltry .179/.297/.263 with 1 HR and 6 RBI. His average is now .230 after going three straight games without a hit (covering 14 at bats).

That includes a 15-game stretch where Drew failed to get on base more than twice in a game. It doesn’t sound like much, but a quick search on the Baseball-Reference Play Index shows that hitters that go an extended period of time without reaching base three times in a game put up lousy numbers. Reach base zero times or once, sometimes twice, per game, and your averages will suffer (though Drew does have two stretches where he posted an OPS over 1.000 because he was getting on base at a rate close to two times per game for 10 or more games).

For example, Drew’s longest such streak, 32 games, spanned two seasons — 2002 and 2003 — and he put up a .188/.239/.388 line. In 2002, he went .208/.310/.417 over 23 games in June and July. Needless to say, with two such streaks, Drew’s 2002 was less than stellar (though still above league average), joining 1999 as the two worst seasons of his career.

Still, Drew has been known to bounce back from these protracted slumps. In 2000, he went .213/.284/.410 in 18 games over May and June. He went .308/.417/.474 the rest of the way. In 2003, after finishing that awful 32-game stretch, he went on a tear, going .375/.429/.672 over the next 20. In 2005, Drew famously started the first five games of the season without a hit, and was hitting .114 on April 15. He then hit .307/.419/.543 over the next 36 games.

Of course, injuries have played a role in Drew’s streaks and slumps. He heated up shortly after returning from the DL in 2003, for example. Likewise, he was DLed in July 2002 after his 23-game slump. Is this trouble due to an injury? He says no.

All this to say that J.D. Drew has slumped badly before, even for as long as a month at a time. In the end, he’s rebounded. A little patience is in order, especially considering the depths of previous slumps that players such as Dustin Pedroia and Jason Varitek appear to have shaken.

3 comments… add one
  • Yes. I am all for giving Drew more time to recover before he is written off as useless. (He’s not; he’s clearly a very good if oft-injured baseball player.)
    I am worried about the power loss, though. Perhaps he will have a week where he hits a good 4 homers or so soon, though.

    Devine May 26, 2007, 2:32 pm
  • Yeah, I agree, Devine. The power loss is troubling. Even in those other slumps, Drew would clock three or four homers during that time. But then, the Sox as a whole are not hitting for a lot of power, Lowell and Youkilis excepted. Papi’s gone 13 games without one, Manny is off… Makes me wonder, without bothering to research, if Fenway is even more of a drag on homers this year than last…

    Paul SF May 26, 2007, 2:52 pm
  • Drew for Trot, straight-up, just in time for Memorial Day.
    It could happen.

    Kazz May 26, 2007, 3:40 pm

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