01 March 2010
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J.D. Drew, RF
J.D. Drew has been quite and enigma during his time here in Boston. When Theo signed him for 5 years and $70 million, he was coming off of a very productive year in L.A. in which he tallied 100 RBI, 20 homers, 34 doubles and a .283 average.
Like many of us, I think Theo expected Drew to be a 20 HR, 100 RBI hitter for the Red Sox, but that hasn't happened. Drew hasn't been too far off on the homers (18/yr), but the average is a few ticks down (.276) and those 100 RBI in 2006 seem like an a fluke after three years in the 60s here in Boston.
Drew's mediocre RBI totals aren't entirely his own fault. Because Drew's strong OPS numbers, he's been asked to hit all over the lineup. In 2009, he logged 30+ at-bats in seven different spots in the lineup... but only had one at-bat as the cleanup hitter. He spent most of his time in the 6th spot (107 AB) but also tallied 173 combined ABs in the top 3 spots in the lineup. That will make it tough to total 100 RBIs in a season.
Drew's spot in the lineup in 2010 will remain a question mark. Assuming Youk hits cleanup and Ortiz hits 5th, Drew seems to fit well behind Ortiz in his customary 6th spot... but having back-to-back lefties in the heart of the lineup isn't ideal - especially late in games. If Adrian Beltre is hitting well, the Sox would likely slide him into the 6th spot and drop Drew to 7th, but that would put one of our best OBP guys at the bottom of the lineup. To avoid this, the Sox could put Drew in the 5th spot, but they aren;t likely to do that unless Ortiz is really struggling.
In my opinion, this is why Drew hasn't put up the production numbers we would like to see from him... and why Theo and Tito love this guy as much as they do. Like Youkilis and Wakefield, his versatility is a blessing and a curse, but he's managed to put up decent nuumbers despite being bounced around from game to game.
So what can we expect from Drew in 2010? Without a right-handed OF to swap out with the left-handed Drew, Tito may be forced to play J.D. more than he has in the past. Drew has only surpassed 500 at-bats once in his career (518 in 2004), but if he stays healthy, he could total 450+ ABs. That said, Drew wasn't overly productive when the offense was tops in the league... if the Sox' offense struggles like many suspect it will, Drew's numbers are also likely to drop.
Bottom Line Projection: 444 AB, 18 HR, 28 2B, 75 R, 60 RBI, .272 AVG, .875 OPS, 5 SB
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