On WEEI’s “Dennis and Callahan Show” this morning, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein revealed that RF J.D. Drew has an avulsion fracture of his right middle finger. Drew sustained the injury while on a rehab assignment. Peter Gammons is reporting via
After an off season that centered around pitching and defense we had the standard jokes this April, but since May those jokes have not been able to joke about defense. There has been some trouble finding solid options in left field and center field, but the defense has solidified to hold up its end.
According to UZR/150 the defense has been worth 6.0 runs for every 150 defensive games played. Last year the team was worth only 0.5 runs for every 150 games. Depending on how many innings they total that could be an improvement of 30-40 defensive runs.
The Sox lineup, as always, is a meat grinder. They have four players in the top 20 in the American League in pitches seen per plate appearance (P/PA) and Pedroia ranks seventh at 4.27 (behind Youkilis who is fourth at 4.36) through 217 plate appearances (Victor Martinez is 11th at 4.12, J.D. Drew 13th at 4.11 while Marco Scutaro is 33rd at 3.92). Pedroia is also second in the league in total plate appearances at 217, behind only Denard Span of the Twins at 218, and leads the league in total pitches seen. Factoring in the entire majors, Youkilis ranks ninth and Pedroia 19th in P/PA.
Sitting in the No. 2 hole in the Sox lineup, Pedroia pesky plate appearances have a ripple down effect. Take for instance last Thursday when Boston beat Minnesota 6-2 on the strength of Jon Lester’s nine-strikeout complete game. Pedroia was 0-3 with a walk and a run against the Twins and Francisco Liriano and was instrumental in knocking Minnesota’s wily lefty out of the game after 4.2 innings with five earned runs on five hits and three walks. Pedroia was in the midst of a 4 for 39 slump at the time that spanned from May 12 to 23 before putting up three hits against the Rays on Monday.
Drew Back on Track
No Sox hitter in the past two weeks has been hotter than J.D. Drew. In Boston’s last ten games, he’s batted 17-for-36 with three homers. The eight Ks are a bit unfortunate, but nothing concerning.
Not including last night, his first strike percentage is down to 63.4 from 72.7, his BABIP is up to .329 from .194.
What is particularly exciting about Drew’s performance is the type of contact he’s making. Besides it being hard and consistent, he’s been doing an excellent job of sending the ball the other way on two strikes.
According to MLB.com’s Fenway Park hit chart, Drew has four opposite field singles this season to go along with two doubles. In 2009, he had all of five singles (seven depending on how narrowly or widely you define the left field) and five doubles (up to nine for the width of left field).
In particular, Drew has been serving these opposite field singles with two strikes. Keeping his hands back and serving outside pitches into right field means he’s timing the ball much better than he had been. Lots of hitters in slumps will get ahead of the pitch and roll the ball over to the pull side…
What Needs to Happen: JD Drew
The bad starts just keep piling up… and keep continuing, causing some real problems in the lineup and some real frustration for the millions of Fenway Faithful.
J.D. Drew’s poor April just keeps on coming, which has only added to the ineptitude and futility of the 2010 Boston lineup.
Still, while fans may have already begun clamoring for an overhaul, Drew’s April has all the earmarkings of a really bad, persistent slump – one that can ridden out with a patient couple weeks.
When players go through stretches like Drew has, at his age no less, the primary questions that tend to be asked are 1) is the player hurt? 2) is he seeing the ball well enough or just putting poor swings on the ball? and 3) is he getting old?
After John Lackey’s $18.7 million contract, the next three highest paid Sox are J.D. Drew ($14 million), David Ortiz ($13 million) and Mike Lowell ($12.5 million). So far those three hitters have a combined (through Friday) for 22 hits in 121 at-bats with 16 walks and two home runs. That comes out to a baseline average of .181 and a .262 on-base percentage.
On the advanced side of the Hall of Metrics they are averaging a weighted Runs Created plus (wRC+) of 65.666 which is actually a little misleading because Lowell actually has a very decent wRC+ number of 121, albeit in only 20 official at bats this year. The average wRC+ between Ortiz and Drew is 38 (44 for Ortiz, 32 for Drew). Conversely, runs are hard to create when you are not getting on base and the mean between the three players weighted on-base average is .281 again with Lowell skewing the numbers with a .361 wOBA while Ortiz and Drew are at .251 and .233, respectively.