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Theo: J.D. Drew "One of Two or Three Most Valuable OFs in the AL"


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#1 Trautwein's Degree


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Posted 23 October 2009 - 08:54 AM

QUOTE
“There’s been a lot of strides in the game in terms of how people properly value players based on more meaningful statistics. Drew is sort of a touchstone so to speak for that because you actually look at the underlying performance and things that really matter as far as winning games and not winning games, he’s been over the length of the contract one of the 10 most valuable outfielders in baseball. Over the last two years I think he’s been one of the top two or three in the league, and this past year, again, one of the top two or three most valuable outfielders in the American League.”


Nice article by Alex Speier on how the front office views JD Drew. One more reason that I'm glad Theo is the GM of the Red Sox.

#2 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 23 October 2009 - 09:17 AM

Isn't it refreshing to have a guy as GM that speaks so intelligently and rationally about the game? I mean, I don't agree with every more this organization makes, but you can always understand why they did something and that's really all you can ask for. Drew was fantastic this year, too, especially down the stretch.

#3 pokey_reese


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Posted 23 October 2009 - 09:29 AM

Granted it doesn't take defense into account at all, but I was surprised to see that at the end of the year Bay and Drew were the top two AL outfielders by OPS. Drew really came on strong at the end, and it is not only nice to see how smart Theo is, but to see him go to bat and defend his players using those "more meaningful statistics."

#4 The Long Tater

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 09:38 AM

Theo may come to regret those words if he is inclined to try and resign Drew when his contract expires.

#5 absintheofmalaise


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Posted 23 October 2009 - 09:49 AM

QUOTE (The Long Tater @ Oct 23 2009, 10:38 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Theo may come to regret those words if he is inclined to try and resign Drew when his contract expires.

Unless he learns to throw a knuckleball, I doubt we'll see JD around Fenway when his contract expires.

#6 glennhoffmania


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Posted 23 October 2009 - 10:03 AM

Good article and it's nice to see Drew get some love. I'm just waiting for Steve to join this thread and blow it up.

Edited by glennhoffmania, 23 October 2009 - 10:03 AM.


#7 philly sox fan


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Posted 23 October 2009 - 10:27 AM

QUOTE (pokey_reese @ Oct 23 2009, 10:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Drew really came on strong at the end, and it is not only nice to see how smart Theo is, but to see him go to bat and defend his players using those "more meaningful statistics."


Maybe it's just my bias against talk radio, but I think it's nice to see Theo do so in this format where you can actually thoughtfully explain things. I thought the WEEI (or whatever) interview from a few weeks back where he seemed to bait the hosts into bringing up the subject came off (to me anyway) as a little childish and beneath his pay grade.


#8 Who is Dana Williams

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 10:52 AM

Theo is starting to sound like a guy who is trying to justify spending too much money on an overpriced house.
He was on the radio the other day defending Drew, and now he is talking to the house organ, I mean the Boston Globe about why the Drew signing is so great.
Yes, JD Drew is a fine ballplayer, but I do not think by any measure he has been a top ten outfielder or MVP candidate.
He carried the team for a month in 2008, and besides that has been a good player. Some great flashes, but the mean has been good to pretty good, with some slumps throw in.
He has a great swing, but all of his offensive stats averaged out over the past three years have been good not great.
His defense has been pretty good, but not gold glove. He has decent speed but he only stole two bases this year in eight attempts.
His games played for the sox each year have been: 140, 109, 137. It is unfair that he is hurt so much, but that has to factor in the equation. He cannot play a full season, and approaching age 35 and 36 in the final two years of his contract, he is unlikely to suddenly play 155 games.
Here are, in no particular order are some outfielders who I think are better/more valuable than Drew:
Matt Kemp
Jason Werth
Andre Eithier
Tori Hunter
Nick Markakis
Adam Jones
Jacoby Ellsbury
Jason Bay
Ryan Braun
Adam Dunn
Nelson Cruz
Ichiro
Carl Crawford
Grady Sizemore
BJ Upton
Brad Hawpe
Adam Lind

Drew is a good player, but I just don't understand why a lot of people overinflate his value to the sox.
Using statistics or the eye-test, Drew is wildly overpayed, and his salary skews the entire team's salary structure.
All Jason Bay has to do is point across the outfield when the sox try to low ball him. I think Bay is a better player than Drew, and I'm sure his agents are pointing that out to sox management, and are going to demand that Bay gets at least as much as Drew gets per year. Drew is better than Trot Nixon was in his prime, but not by that much.
Theo has done a great job but he and the baseball Opps people fall in love with certain guys like Drew, Lugo, Renteria, Gagne, Crisp, all good players at one point, but overpriced or cost good prospects. Those moves inflated the payroll, hurt flexibility, and add to high ticket prices.
Theo is trying to get people to get on-board by saying, "over the length of the contract." Like we will all look back and finally appreciate Drew in two years at the end of his contract, and like a great artist, we will finally figure him out after he is gone.
It reminds me when the Duke used to say "more days in first place" or "the fans know what we are trying to do."
And lastly, I don't care how smart a GM sounds or how well he can discuss a subject, I want him to make sound baseball decisions. He could sound like Sloth from The Goonies if he makes the right moves.

Edited by Who is Dana Williams, 23 October 2009 - 10:54 AM.


#9 JMDurron

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 10:59 AM

I think that a large part of why Theo values Drew as much as he does is because he doesn't just do one thing awesomely (like hit HRs), but he does many things quite well. He gets on base well, hits for some power, has solid range, has a good arm, AND runs the bases well. If you think Jason Bay is a better player than JD Drew, or want to make the comparison based only on offensive numbers, than all that tells me is that you like offense. Sure, Jason Bay might be a better *hitter* than JD Drew, but there's a difference between being a better batter and a better baseball player. Theo is saying that JD Drew is an extremely valuable baseball player in the OF, not that he is one of the top 2-3 hitters.

#10 Andrew


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Posted 23 October 2009 - 11:02 AM

QUOTE (Who is Dana Williams @ Oct 23 2009, 11:52 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Drew is a good player, but I just don't understand why a lot of people overinflate his value to the sox.
Using statistics or the eye-test, Drew is wildly overpayed, and his salary skews the entire team's salary structure.


This is absurdly untrue. I suggest you go reread the previous thread regarding JD Drew's value. You are grossly underestimating his contributions.

And Theo Epstein does not have to rationalize his spending on JD Drew whatsoever. Defending someone a handful of times against the amount of times the person has been maligned is in no way trying to "ustify spending too much money on an overpriced house".

And throwing a blanket list of guys you "feel like" are better than Drew without any explanation doesn't really amount to anything. I mean, seriously, you think BJ Upton has been better than Drew?

It's time for people to grow up and realize as much as you like the tough-guy image, it is more valuable for a player to be forthcoming about their injuries so a valid sub can be used than to play through things with lower production and the risk of further injury.


#11 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 23 October 2009 - 11:02 AM

Drew: .914 OPS, 9.5 UZR/150
Bay: .921 OPS, -8.7 UZR/150

Jason Bay is not a better player than J. D. Drew.

#12 Manchild84

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 11:06 AM

QUOTE (Who is Dana Williams @ Oct 23 2009, 09:52 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Here are, in no particular order are some outfielders who I think are better/more valuable than Drew:


J.D. Drew put up a 4.6 WAR season earning $14M.
Theo said he's one of the 2-3 most valuable OFs in the AL.

So we'll go in order here, I guess:

Matt Kemp - Plays in the NL
Jason Werth - Plays in the NL
Andre Eithier - Plays in the NL
Tori Hunter - 3.8 WAR - Earns $16.5M
Nick Markakis - 1.9 WAR
Adam Jones - 1.9 WAR
Jacoby Ellsbury - 2.1 WAR
Jason Bay - 3.4 WAR
Ryan Braun - Plays in the NL
Adam Dunn - Plays in the NL - 1.1 WAR
Nelson Cruz - 3.6 WAR
Ichiro - 5.1 WAR - Earns 17.5M
Carl Crawford - 5.4 WAR

Grady Sizemore - 2.2 WAR
BJ Upton - 2.7 WAR
Brad Hawpe - Plays in the NL - 1.4 WAR
Adam Lind - 3.7 WAR

From your list, there are two AL outfielders with a greater WAR than Drew.

Others with a greater WAR include Ben Zobrist, Franklin Gutierrez, and Shin-Soo Choo.

JD Drew is the only one of these players who has been able to be acquired via free agency.






#13 Razor Shines

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 11:25 AM

QUOTE (Who is Dana Williams @ Oct 23 2009, 11:52 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Theo has done a great job but he and the baseball Opps people fall in love with certain guys like Drew, Lugo, Renteria, Gagne, Crisp, all good players at one point, but overpriced or cost good prospects. Those moves inflated the payroll, hurt flexibility, and add to high ticket prices.

Well, what additional moves could the team have made if Drew were being paid what you feel he is worth? Drew's detractors always raise the payroll/flexibility issue, but they never really seem to mention any specific alternatives. Keep in mind that in the three years Drew has been here, the team has 3 postseason berths, including 1 division championship and 1 World Championship. If Drew were not on the roster, but the Sox had an extra $14 million annually to spend, what moves could have been made to yield a better result than what we've seen over the past three years?

Also, the payroll doesn't directly make ticket prices go up. It happens indirectly this way: the team spends a lot of money -> the Red Sox win a lot of games -> demand for tickets increases -> ticket prices increase. Blaming Drew's contract for the expensive seats is silly.

#14 Quintanariffic

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 11:51 AM

QUOTE (Who is Dana Williams @ Oct 23 2009, 10:52 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
He was on the radio the other day defending Drew, and now he is talking to the house organ, I mean the Boston Globe about why the Drew signing is so great.


Among the other irrelevancies and made up nonsense in your post, there is this gem above. Speier writes for WEEI.com, not the Globe.

Did you even read the article, or is your mind made up already? Sounds like the latter. Thanks for your contribution.

#15 The Filthy One

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 12:43 PM

QUOTE (Who is Dana Williams @ Oct 23 2009, 10:52 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Drew is a good player, but I just don't understand why a lot of people overinflate his value to the sox.
Using statistics or the eye-test, Drew is wildly overpayed, and his salary skews the entire team's salary structure.


What's this "eye-test" you speak of? Is that the one where you have to read Doug Mientkiewicz's name from ten feet away?

What I've gathered from this thread and the previous Drew thread is that there are still a great many people who simply don't believe what the statistics tell them is true. In Drew's case, I think it has something to do with passivity; he takes a lot of pitches, including some called third strikes. This seems to frustrate people who don't get that it's part of his game. I also think it's inherently hard for some people to appreciate someone who is good at not doing something (in this case, making outs). It's much easier to say "Jason Bay is good at hitting home runs," than it is to sum up all of Drew's skills and say "Drew is good at not making outs."

#16 glennhoffmania


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Posted 23 October 2009 - 12:44 PM

Dana, you're certainly entitled to your opinion, but when I went through your list I had to do a double take at some of the guys you think are better than Drew. You really should go back and read the other Drew thread.

#17 Yazdog8

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 12:53 PM

QUOTE (The Filthy One @ Oct 23 2009, 10:43 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What I've gathered from this thread and the previous Drew thread is that there are still a great many people who simply don't believe what the statistics tell them is true. In Drew's case, I think it has something to do with passivity; he takes a lot of pitches, including some called third strikes. This seems to frustrate people who don't get that it's part of his game. I also think it's inherently hard for some people to appreciate someone who is good at not doing something (in this case, making outs). It's much easier to say "Jason Bay is good at hitting home runs," than it is to sum up all of Drew's skills and say "Drew is good at not making outs."


It's not just Drew's game, it's the Red Sox overall offensive philosophy. When you work counts...you're going to strike out occasionally. That's just the way baseball is and fans need to understand that.

Maybe if he threw tantrums like Youk, then people would value him more because he's "gritty" and a "grinder".

#18 absintheofmalaise


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Posted 23 October 2009 - 01:10 PM

Drew haters read this before you post.

#19 Rasputin


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Posted 23 October 2009 - 01:29 PM

QUOTE (absintheofmalaise @ Oct 23 2009, 02:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Drew haters read this before you post.


I suppose it's a little refreshing that the player people have an irrational hate for a) isn't a minority and b) they actually irrationally hate the guy for performance issues. Congrats pokey people, you're getting better.

#20 Quintanariffic

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 01:34 PM

QUOTE (philly sox fan @ Oct 23 2009, 10:27 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Maybe it's just my bias against talk radio, but I think it's nice to see Theo do so in this format where you can actually thoughtfully explain things. I thought the WEEI (or whatever) interview from a few weeks back where he seemed to bait the hosts into bringing up the subject came off (to me anyway) as a little childish and beneath his pay grade.

Isn't that just a function of the medium though? You're simply not going to be able to provide a comprehensive discourse on the value of JD Drew with air time to fill and two luddite hosts interrupting you. That sort of baiting and antagonism is expected, though, for the record, I didn't get the impression you did at all. An edited article with a guy who apparently is a believer himself is a much more accommodating venue to walk through the finer points of Drew's value.

#21 syoo8

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 05:22 PM

QUOTE (Who is Dana Williams @ Oct 23 2009, 11:52 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yes, JD Drew is a fine ballplayer, but I do not think by any measure he has been a top ten outfielder or MVP candidate.
Using statistics or the eye-test, Drew is wildly overpayed, and his salary skews the entire team's salary structure.


This is one of the worst posts I have seen on SoSH since I started reading in 2005. If you want to make such statements: "using statistics" then use statistics. If you want to claim that he is "overpayed [sic]" then I suggest you check out fangraphs (he was worth $20.7 million according to them this season) and learn how to spell while you are at it.

#22 sibpin

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 09:41 PM

QUOTE
In fact, Drew has more go-ahead ninth-inning hits (3) than any other player in postseason history (two with the Sox). No other player in MLB history has more than one.


Wow - is this true? I know "ninth-inning go-ahead RBI hits" must be a fairly selective set, but I find it pretty hard to believe that even with that filter, nobody else has done it more than once...

FWIW the hits were:
2004 NLDS 4 single off Russ Springer
2008 ALDS 2 3-run HR off K-Rod
2008 ALCS 5 hit over Gross's head off Howell

#23 Eric Van


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Posted 23 October 2009 - 11:37 PM

QUOTE (Who is Dana Williams @ Oct 23 2009, 10:52 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Here are, in no particular order are some outfielders who I think are better/more valuable than Drew:
Adam Dunn
Brad Hawpe

Dick Doherty's Comedy Club has an open mike night every Sunday. You'd kill with this stuff.


#24 Myt1


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Posted 24 October 2009 - 12:58 AM

QUOTE (Who is Dana Williams @ Oct 23 2009, 11:52 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
All Jason Bay has to do is point across the outfield when the sox try to low ball him.


How's that, exactly? You know that Bay's market value is going to be set by what teams are willing to offer him, not by a contract the Sox gave years ago in a different market, right? When a dealer is trying to sell you a Porsche, he can't point the 3 year old Audi A8 in your garage as persuasive evidence that you should pay him more.

QUOTE
Those moves inflated the payroll, hurt flexibility, and add to high ticket prices.


No. They don't add to high ticket prices. Like, at all. Except maybe in that JD Drew made the Red Sox better and more people want to see them.

Edited by Myt1, 24 October 2009 - 02:28 AM.


#25 mr guido

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 03:54 AM

QUOTE (Rasputin @ Oct 23 2009, 12:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I suppose it's a little refreshing that the player people have an irrational hate for a) isn't a minority and b) they actually irrationally hate the guy for performance issues. Congrats pokey people, you're getting better.
The 'pokey people' were the ones who irrationally hated Bellhorn (a JD Drew predecessor if there ever was one) in favor of Pokey (the minority). So I'm not so sure this point stands.

And I'm a Drew fan and would never claim this is predictive, but Fangraphs pegged him as severely unclutch this year with the bat -- which naturally will lead to frustration from the fans, emotion or no. (He hit .279/.392/.522 and posted a ho-hum WPA of 0.57, while Bay hit .267/.384/.537 but added nearly 4 additional wins, for a 2nd-best-in-the-AL WPA of 4.29.)

Total aside & odd quirk of WPA: Drew's worst game of the year (0 for 4 with 2 GIDP vs the Yankees on Apr 24) was also Bay's best (3 for 5, with that monster 2 run HR off Mariano to tie the game with 2 out in the 9th)

#26 paulftodd


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Posted 24 October 2009 - 06:15 AM

JD might be one of the two or three most talented OF's in the AL, but not most valuable IMO.

From Fan Graphs JD is ranked (AL OF'ers):

RBI- 24th
R - 16th
wRC - 16th
WPA-16th
UZR- 9th
GS(games started) - 21st

(note that these are not rate stats)

If JD could play more, he might be one of the 2 or 3 most valuable OF'ers in the AL. He had a good 2009 thanks to his strong finish over the last 2 months, but he was not so valuable before August despite a strong start in April.

Sounds like Theo is trying to boost JD's value. Given he is the guy who signed Drew that is not surprising. Maybe he wants a raise. Hope we don't see any gorilla sightings next week. laugh.gif

Edited by paulftodd, 24 October 2009 - 06:16 AM.


#27 CaptainLaddie


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Posted 24 October 2009 - 07:21 AM

Why are you using RBI as a measure of talent?

#28 smastroyin


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Posted 24 October 2009 - 09:15 AM

I moved Steve Dillard's post to the thread where that discussion already happened. Yes, that thread is locked, but that should be a bit of a reminder that we don't want that thread repeated.

paul at least while regurgitating information is addressing the point. Laddie, he is using RBI because even if we allow that RBI are not predictive, they do measure in one way a player's contributions. He also added R which is similar. Both rely on many other factors but do indeed measure "value" in some way, like WPA.

However, paul, where your thesis is flawed is that you are largely measuring batting value. And it is clear from every damn interview Theo has done for the past six years that he considers defense valuable and while you can dismiss UZR and other defensive metrics out of hand, it is also clear that the Sox have some kind of proprietary system which grades Drew very highly, probably higher than UZR. If you want to complain about that system feel free I guess, but it's pretty nebulous since we don't really know what it is. We all know he misses games but thanks for reminding us for the 57th time in the last two weeks.

As for the statement, it's probably a little puffing of the chest hyperbole, but I don't doubt that over the past two years, including their defensive metric and also accounting for playing time, Drew has been a top 10 OF in the AL. (and by accounting for playing time what I mean is counting that against Drew)

#29 Eric Van


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Posted 24 October 2009 - 09:35 AM

QUOTE (paulftodd @ Oct 24 2009, 06:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
JD might be one of the two or three most talented OF's in the AL, but not most valuable IMO.

From Fan Graphs JD is ranked (AL OF'ers):

RBI- 24th
R - 16th
wRC - 16th
WPA-16th
UZR- 9th
GS(games started) - 21st

(note that these are not rate stats)

You can't just list offensive and defensive rankings, because the guys who tend to be good at one tend to not be good at the other. It's perfectly possible to be, say, the 3rd best OFer in baseball while being the 8th best hitter and the 8th best fielder.

Drew was indeed 16th in wRC (your best context-independent non-rate hitting stat) and 9th in UZR. How many AL OFers were ahead of him in both?

Two. Ichiro and Ben Zobrist, who probably had a fluke year (and is actually a 2B to boot).

And the Sox correctly place a lot of value on guys who are good on both sides of the ball, because they are winning ballplayers in any offensive context.


#30 PedroKsBambino


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Posted 24 October 2009 - 09:37 AM

Another thing to remember, particular in the Red Sox context where they can pay millions to a fourth OF, Drew missing games hurts his value---but those missed games don't generate 'zeroes' either.

In other words, the Sox likely care more about what he produces in 140 games than many teams, since their actual replacement is likely to be (at least in theory) better than most teams for the lost ABs. So, the 'misses a lot of games' point while generally reasonable as to Drew also needs a bit of a caveat.

#31 roundegotrip

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 09:42 AM

Whatever beef one might have with Drew's demeanor, his ultra disciplined plate approach, or his injury problems, when you have a guy who is 4th among AL outfielders in OPS (if you include Zobrist), is a top 5 defensive corner outfielder by UZR (most objective observers would agree with that I dare say), and is also a competent baserunner, I don't see how you can hesitate to call him a top 5 outfielder, let alone top 10.

#32 Rasputin


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Posted 24 October 2009 - 07:34 PM

QUOTE (roundegotrip @ Oct 24 2009, 10:42 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Whatever beef one might have with Drew's demeanor, his ultra disciplined plate approach, or his injury problems, when you have a guy who is 4th among AL outfielders in OPS (if you include Zobrist), is a top 5 defensive corner outfielder by UZR (most objective observers would agree with that I dare say), and is also a competent baserunner, I don't see how you can hesitate to call him a top 5 outfielder, let alone top 10.


His demeanor is what makes all the rest possible.

The only bad thing about Drew is his playing time.

#33 David Laurila


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Posted 24 October 2009 - 08:32 PM

QUOTE (Trautwein's Degree @ Oct 23 2009, 02:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Nice article by Alex Speier on how the front office views JD Drew. One more reason that I'm glad Theo is the GM of the Red Sox.


Not to be lost in this is the fact that WEEI is glad to have Speier. He is clearly one of the most underappreciated writers in the local market.

#34 Bleedred

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 12:02 PM

As someone who has been critical of JD Drew's durability and his value to the team relative to the cost of his contract, this article is a great summary of how the red sox perceive his value, supported by strong empirical evidence. It has changed my opinion of the player and his value, and I'm grateful that Speir actually took the time to give Drew a fair hearing. A few quibbles I have with Theo's otherwise excellent defense of his player. First, while I know Theo was only comparing Drew's plate approach to Ted Williams' approach based on selectiviity, the analogy falls woefully short as an explanation for failure to knock in runs. The Kid managed to knock in over 100 runs in his first 9 seasons, and over 80 runs in 15 of his 17 non-war years (he knocked in 43 and 72 respectively when he was 40 and 41 years old). In Drew's 11 full seasons, he had 100 RBI once, 93 RBI once, 73 RBI once and 8 seasons in the 60s or less. Second, while the value of the contract may well be justified (and I concede that it is, relative to other contracts signed that year), if I remember correctly, they signed Drew quite late in the free agency period, when few, if any other teams were vying for his services. Prehaps the RS decided that they would not nickle and dime him so they gave him what they thought was market value, but I think there is at least an argument that they overpaid for him given the time he was signed. Third, I agree with others that some discount should be made for games missed due to injury.

Nevertheless, great article, which has made me a lukewarm convert.

#35 Commander Shears

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 12:34 PM

JD Drew was the highest paid player on the team last year. He was batting eighth in the lineup by the end of the season. Unless I am mistaken there or I have an outdated dictionary, those facts are really tough to jibe with any definition of "most valuable". Give Theo some more time and he'll be proving statistically that the eight spot is the most important in the lineup and that sweeping dirt with your feet directly leads to wins. I'm sure this is exactly how Theo feels and it has absolutely nothing to do with defending an unpopular move and the impending departure of the team's RBI leader.

I wonder if it's possible to argue that Drew is affordable to the Sox and he contributes significantly to the lineup through his OBP & Slugging without suddenly dismissing every statistic where he struggles and recalibrating value so that it determines how much a player resembles JD Drew. He has turned into a political issue where everyone works backwards from their "Drew Sucks" or "Drew Rules" stance.

#36 D Jack's Dome


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Posted 26 October 2009 - 12:56 PM

QUOTE (Commander Shears @ Oct 26 2009, 01:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
JD Drew was the highest paid player on the team last year. He was batting eighth in the lineup by the end of the season. Unless I am mistaken there or I have an outdated dictionary, those facts are really tough to jibe with any definition of "most valuable". Give Theo some more time and he'll be proving statistically that the eight spot is the most important in the lineup and that sweeping dirt with your feet directly leads to wins. I'm sure this is exactly how Theo feels and it has absolutely nothing to do with defending an unpopular move and the impending departure of the team's RBI leader.


This is, again, irrelevant. A players spot in the lineup isn't just based on his abilities, but on the players around him.

Ellsbury--Leadoff hitter, Period.
Pedroia--Struggles hitting leadoff, fits best in two slot.
Youk--top 3 hitter on team
Bay--top 3 hitter on team
Vmart--top 3 hitter on team
Ortiz--Power stroke, most HR post ASB
Lowell--Has hit in the 5-6-7 hole since joining the team and raking in the doubles off the monster

So where does Drew fit in? He isn't an RBI guy, hes an on base guy. He either goes in the two hole or the next available slot. As it sits, he bats 7th or 8th.

#37 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 26 October 2009 - 01:02 PM

QUOTE (Commander Shears @ Oct 26 2009, 01:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
JD Drew was the highest paid player on the team last year. He was batting eighth in the lineup by the end of the season. Unless I am mistaken there or I have an outdated dictionary, those facts are really tough to jibe with any definition of "most valuable". Give Theo some more time and he'll be proving statistically that the eight spot is the most important in the lineup and that sweeping dirt with your feet directly leads to wins. I'm sure this is exactly how Theo feels and it has absolutely nothing to do with defending an unpopular move and the impending departure of the team's RBI leader.

The team's RBI leader (3.4 WAR) had less value to the Red Sox than Drew did (4.6 WAR) according to Fangraphs, primarily to due to Bay's atrocious defense. All defensive metrics are suspect and thus I'd chew thoroughly before swallowing, but Fangraphs lists Bay's UZR this season at an appalling -13.9, while Drew'z UZR clocks in at 9.7.

While defensive metrics are often troublesome, you just cannot dismiss defense in the overall equation. For example, Mike Lowell had a pretty good year with the stick in 2009, but any benefit the Sox derived from that was almost completely negated by his horrible defense (-10.6 UZR), which made him only a 1.6 WAR player.

#38 Red(s)HawksFan


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Posted 26 October 2009 - 01:10 PM

Building on DJack's point, Drew finishing the season hitting 8th really has little to do with his abilities or production. As Speier points out in his article, Drew was one of the hottest hitters in the league, let alone on the team, over the final 2 months. Yet, that's also the point in the season in which he found himself pushed lower and lower in the regular day to day batting order. In a vacuum, that is to say in an ideal no-egos world, he'd be hitting 2nd or 3rd with his skill-set. But unfortunately in the real world, only one guy can hit second and only one guy can hit third, and the Red Sox have a few other worthy candidates on the roster, so one of those guys has to hit eighth.

#39 ToxicSmed


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Posted 26 October 2009 - 01:13 PM

QUOTE (Commander Shears @ Oct 26 2009, 01:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
He was batting eighth in the lineup by the end of the season. Unless I am mistaken there or I have an outdated dictionary, those facts are really tough to jibe with any definition of "most valuable". Give Theo some more time and he'll be proving statistically that the eight spot is the most important in the lineup and that sweeping dirt with your feet directly leads to wins.

JD Drew had 37 plate appearances in the 8th spot all season. He spent more time hitting out of each of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th spots in the lineup than he did in the 8th.

Edit: For the record, 16 of Drew's 83 September/October plate appearances came from the 8th spot. This was a month in which he hit in five different lineup spots and hit .352/.446/.690. Do you think that, maybe, he was moved down because he's comfortable hitting anywhere in the lineup whereas guys like Papi, Pedroia, and Lowell have a distinct preference to hit in a particular spot?

Edited by ToxicSmed, 26 October 2009 - 01:17 PM.


#40 CaptainLaddie


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Posted 26 October 2009 - 01:28 PM

Bill Mueller won a batting title in 2003 hitting 7th & 8th. Why does Drew's position in the lineup even matter?

Edited by CaptainLaddie, 26 October 2009 - 01:29 PM.


#41 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 26 October 2009 - 01:28 PM

You also have to determine WHY the players hitting ahead of him in the lineup are getting paid less. Ellsbury, Pedroia and Youk have never even sniffed free agency and thus their contracts aren't really comparable to Drew's. Bay signed his current contract with a different team, with a different financial situation and thus his contract isn't terribly relevant either (what he signs for this off season would be directly comparable, though... especially if he re-signs with the Sox). Martinez hasn't made it to free agency either, so you can't compare his paycheck to Bay's, and Lowell is only getting 2 million a year less while providing significantly less value. And of course there's Papi, who doesn't even play defense so his value is automatically dinged up before you start to compare him to Drew... never mind the fact that Drew had more value offensively anyway.

In other words, using his salary and place in the order as a basis for his value alone is extremely short sighted and tells us nothing of his actual value. If you want to use salary as a base line to start from, use fangraphs.com's dollar value and find the difference between that and what each player has been paid.

Name: salary/value/difference

Ellsbury: 450k/9.3/+8.85
Pedroia: 1.5/23.5/+22
Martinez: 5.7/21.8/+16.1
Youkilis: 6/24.9/+18.9
Bay: 7.5/15.3/+7.8
Ortiz: 12.5/3.2/-9.3
Lowell: 12/5.3/-6.7
Drew: 14/20.7/+6.7
Gonzalez: 5.375/2.5/-2.875

Once you take out the players who have not hit free agency, Drew has the highest positive differential in the lineup. And what this list tells me is that the concept of building your team around players you develop or acquire before they have the chance to reach free agency maximizes your return. Something that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone here.

Edit: Beaten to it on the point about Drew only hitting 8th 37 times this season.

Edited by Snodgrass'Muff, 26 October 2009 - 01:30 PM.


#42 Eric Van


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Posted 26 October 2009 - 02:08 PM

QUOTE (Commander Shears @ Oct 26 2009, 12:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
JD Drew was the highest paid player on the team last year. He was batting eighth in the lineup by the end of the season. Unless I am mistaken there or I have an outdated dictionary, those facts are really tough to jibe with any definition of "most valuable".

Just to make perfectly clear what others have alluded to, he hit 8th for one reason only: because the guys hitting 6th and 7th would have considered it an affront to their manhood if they'd been put there. So, yes, it absolutely adds to his value that he can hit 8th and not sulk about it or view it as a confidence-sapping demotion.

If they don't trade for AdGon there's a pretty good chance he hits 3rd next year. Same player.

#43 MentalDisabldLst


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Posted 26 October 2009 - 10:24 PM

Although to be fair, there's really no reason they couldn't improve the lineup's output by batting Drew leadoff (very good speed & batting eye) and dropping Ells to 8th or 9th.

#44 Sprowl


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Posted 27 October 2009 - 12:01 AM

QUOTE (MentalDisabldLst @ Oct 26 2009, 08:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Although to be fair, there's really no reason they couldn't improve the lineup's output by batting Drew leadoff (very good speed & batting eye) and dropping Ells to 8th or 9th.

Tito tried batting Drew leadoff from June 29 to July 19, and the results were poor -- Drew's OPS was .728 during that stretch. Drew's acknowledged skills simply didn't translate into effective leadoff hitting, and for long enough that Ellsbury was eventually restored to the leadoff position, in spite of his superior performance lower in the lineup. By August, Ellsbury had taken the next step forward in his development and finally seemed comfortable in the leadoff spot.

So the clearest argument why having Drew lead off isn't a solution to improving the lineup's output is that it was tried and didn't work.

#45 MentalDisabldLst


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Posted 27 October 2009 - 12:12 AM

I'm not sure 67 PAs is a sample size I'm willing to draw huge comparative conclusions about.

In your favor, though, is that he has done more poorly batting leadoff over the course of his career (now 342 PAs in #1 slot). On the other hand, 1600+ PAs suggest a career OPS in that spot of .963. How much do you believe these splits?

#46 5belongstoGeorge


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Posted 27 October 2009 - 12:31 AM

QUOTE (Eric Van @ Oct 26 2009, 12:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just to make perfectly clear what others have alluded to, he hit 8th for one reason only: because the guys hitting 6th and 7th would have considered it an affront to their manhood if they'd been put there.

Wait a minute, I thought once that Manny was gone everything was rainbows and unicorns in the clubhouse? Your statement flies in the face of sabermetrics, "The World According to Theo/Tito", and all things logical. How could the Boston Red Sox, the ultimate Bill James-wonk-deep-thinking-franchise, succumb to pure ego if it was not in the best interests of the team ?!?!?!?!

The person that hit the 2nd or 3rd best outfielder in the AL 8th because it would have hurt some peoples' feelings for them to hit 8th should be dismissed, without pay, today.

Edited by 5belongstoGeorge, 27 October 2009 - 12:32 AM.


#47 Sprowl


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Posted 27 October 2009 - 12:33 AM

QUOTE (MentalDisabldLst @ Oct 26 2009, 10:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm not sure 67 PAs is a sample size I'm willing to draw huge comparative conclusions about.

In your favor, though, is that he has done more poorly batting leadoff over the course of his career (now 342 PAs in #1 slot). On the other hand, 1600+ PAs suggest a career OPS in that spot of .963. How much do you believe these splits?

Tito was quite flexible with lineup order in 2009, and kept moving batters around until they got hot. It took 3/4 of the season before the leadoff spot stopped being a black hole (just about every leadoff hitter failed, including Pedroia as well as Drew). I think the leadoff mindset -- take pitches, work the count, tire the pitcher -- worked to the disadvantage of numerous hitters. Is it predictive? Enough so that I doubt it will be tried again unless Drew needs to be shaken out of a slump and Ellsbury (or whoever is leading off) isn't hitting well.

The 1600+ at-bats, of course, are for Drew hitting third, mostly in the National League and during his monster seasons. Good hitting probably drives lineup position more than the other way around.


#48 OCD SS


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Posted 27 October 2009 - 06:33 AM

QUOTE (5belongstoGeorge @ Oct 27 2009, 01:31 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Wait a minute, I thought once that Manny was gone everything was rainbows and unicorns in the clubhouse? Your statement flies in the face of sabermetrics, "The World According to Theo/Tito", and all things logical. How could the Boston Red Sox, the ultimate Bill James-wonk-deep-thinking-franchise, succumb to pure ego if it was not in the best interests of the team ?!?!?!?!

The person that hit the 2nd or 3rd best outfielder in the AL 8th because it would have hurt some peoples' feelings for them to hit 8th should be dismissed, without pay, today.


Which is why the Sox's offseason plans should included dumping Mike Lowell.

Happy now?

#49 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 27 October 2009 - 07:22 AM

QUOTE (5belongstoGeorge @ Oct 27 2009, 01:31 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Wait a minute, I thought once that Manny was gone everything was rainbows and unicorns in the clubhouse? Your statement flies in the face of sabermetrics, "The World According to Theo/Tito", and all things logical. How could the Boston Red Sox, the ultimate Bill James-wonk-deep-thinking-franchise, succumb to pure ego if it was not in the best interests of the team ?!?!?!?!

The person that hit the 2nd or 3rd best outfielder in the AL 8th because it would have hurt some peoples' feelings for them to hit 8th should be dismissed, without pay, today.


Easy on that straw man. You're gonna leave marks.

I don't recall anyone saying the clubhouse was going to be perfect once Manny was gone... only that Manny was a problem (or a cancer in some people's eyes). The argument was that removing him would improve the clubhouse, not perfect it. So this argument is pretty weak.

Baseball players have egos... just like any other human being. Being a highly competitive profession, I wouldn't be surprised if the sport sees a higher percent of high egos than most typical professions, even. I wouldn't go so far as to base a point on that guess, but either way ego plays a part in any clubhouse.

Tito's job is to put people in the best position to succeed. If someone is more comfortable or even more happy hitting 6th over 8th and produces better there, then he very well should hit them there. If he has a player like Drew who hits as well 8th as he does 5th and doesn't care where he hits, why shouldn't he ask him to step down in the order for the good of the lineup as a whole?

His job is to maximize all of his resources, not any one individual.

#50 Eric Van


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Posted 27 October 2009 - 01:08 PM

QUOTE (5belongstoGeorge @ Oct 27 2009, 12:31 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
How could the Boston Red Sox, the ultimate Bill James-wonk-deep-thinking-franchise, succumb to pure ego if it was not in the best interests of the team ?!?!?!?!

I had to read that three times before I understood where you were coming from, since (to my understanding) that sentence contradicts itself: of course it's in the best interest of the team to deal with and massage egos.

You seem to think that if a player gets handled in a way that bruises his ego or threatens his self-mage, the result is a player who performs identically, except that he's unhappy about it. And, I imagine, the opposite: if a manager treats a player in a way that boosts his ego, gives him confidence, makes him believe in himself, the result is identical performance, except that the player is happy now.

I was going to finish with a snarky wisecrack about Stratomatic baseball, but I hardly think it's necessary.