Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Friday, January 18, 2013

J.D. Drew And Perception

I won’t cheat!, but outside of Roy White vs. Jim Rice…J.D. Drew vs. Dale Murphy is where it’s at!

Perception is a funny thing.

Dale Murphy was a two-time National League Most Valuable Player Award winner. He went to seven All-Star Games and won five Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers. Last week, 106 members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America voted for Murphy for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

J.D. Drew finished sixth in the NL MVP voting once, in 2004. He made an American League All-Star team in 2008. When Drew hits the Hall of Fame ballot in 2017, he might receive a couple of votes; he likely won’t garner the five percent needed to stay on the ballot.

According to Baseball Reference, Murphy compiled 42.6 WAR in 18 big league seasons. That’s tied for 358th all time. Murphy’s peak WAR – or his total WAR from his top seven seasons – was 39. His best season came in 1987, when he produced 7.4 WAR.

Drew compiled 42.4 WAR in 14 seasons, tied for 362nd in baseball history. His peak WAR was 30.8, and his best season came in 2004, an 8.1 WAR campaign for Atlanta.

Comparing the two, Murphy’s prime was clearly better than Drew’s; though Drew’s best season outpaced Murphy’s. They produced roughly equal value throughout their careers, but Drew was more consistent. Drew also produced more value on per-year basis, again speaking to his consistency.

Murphy is one of the most beloved players from his generation, credited for playing the game the right way and his likeable personality with fans and the media. It’s the reason why veteran Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Bob Brookover voted for Murphy – and only Murphy – on his 2013 Hall of Fame ballot.

Drew, on the other hand, is one of the most disdained players of his generation. And he’s hated by two different cities – for two different, almost contradictory reasons.

Repoz Posted: January 18, 2013 at 10:16 AM | 64 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. AROM Posted: January 18, 2013 at 10:47 AM (#4349759)
And he’s hated by two different cities – for two different, almost contradictory reasons.


Philly I get. Does this mean he's hated by Boston? Really?

Anyone who calls himself a Red Sox fan and hates JD Drew forfeits any right to call his team the 2007 champions. Just pretend the 2007 world series was supposed to be between Cleveland and Colorado, but it was so cold the games were postponed. And since nobody cared, the games were never rescheduled, and there is no 2007 champion. Got that in your head? OK. Now you can go on hating JD Drew.
   2. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 18, 2013 at 10:55 AM (#4349771)
Philly I get. Does this mean he's hated by Boston? Really?

I would guess L.A. is the other.
   3. spike Posted: January 18, 2013 at 10:57 AM (#4349774)
We sure enjoyed his time in Atlanta
   4. Nasty Nate Posted: January 18, 2013 at 11:03 AM (#4349781)
Philly I get. Does this mean he's hated by Boston? Really?

I would guess L.A. is the other.


The article says Boston. I think that's wrong.

from the article:

" Despite putting up OPS+ of 105, 138, 134 and 109 in his first four seasons in Boston, the Fenway Faithful inaptly labeled him as “soft.” The nickname “Nancy Drew” became the standard. Somehow, even though Drew was one of the more patient hitters on the team during his tenure, he became known as the guy who would leave the bat on his shoulders in clutch situations.

To recap: Red Sox fans hated J.D. Drew because they thought he was a bad baseball player.
"

Pretty much every sentence there is completely wrong or at least a huge exaggeration.

And no mention of Drew getting no backlash for 2011.
   5. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 18, 2013 at 11:06 AM (#4349787)
Pretty much every sentence there is completely wrong or at least a huge exaggeration.

Huh. It never occurred to me they hated him. I just assumed they were indifferent to him.
   6. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 18, 2013 at 11:09 AM (#4349789)
According to the article he's hated by Red Sox fans because they thought he was a bad baseball player. I don't know how accurate that is though I think the ledger is more toward "not liked" than "liked." Drew certainly wasn't liked by the sports radio crowd but at the same time there was a sizable group of people who liked him a lot. I think if you asked Sox fans you'd get a lot of "he wasn't very good", "no heart" and "$14 million grand slam". The no heart stuff is stupid of course but 10 WAR over 5 years ain't exactly a winner for $14 mil and for a lot of folks the grand slam makes up for any shortcomings.

I like Drew well enough but he wasn't exactly a guy easy to embrace and love as a fan.
   7. booond Posted: January 18, 2013 at 11:09 AM (#4349790)
Red Sox fan here who enjoyed Drew. He was the embodiment of what Bill James wrote years ago that baseball is not football - I believe he was writing about George Brett. Baseball was won by playing the percentages, not crashing into walls. Fans, however, love the football player type. Drew, who was the better player, suffered in comparison to Trot Nixon who played with a football mentality and was beloved by Sox fans; Drew wasn't.
   8. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 18, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4349799)
Red Sox fan here who enjoyed Drew. He was the embodiment of what Bill James wrote years ago that baseball is not football - I believe he was writing about George Brett

Butch Hobson
   9. Tippecanoe Posted: January 18, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4349800)

Black Ink: Murphy 31, Drew 0
Grey Ink: Murphy 147, Drew 11

The above is still relevant to HoF voters. And the WAR similarity is all about their defensive metrics, which very few HoF voters would fully endorse.
   10. booond Posted: January 18, 2013 at 11:17 AM (#4349802)
Butch Hobson


Thanks.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: January 18, 2013 at 11:26 AM (#4349814)
Butch Hobson


He plays the game like there's no tomorrow. But there is a tomorrow.

I had no problem with J.D. He played OK in Boston, but the big grand slam made up for a lot of ills (and that first season he was dealing with his kid's illness). He wasn't a great signing, but considering the number of terrible FA deals Theo and co. handed out, his was just fine in comparsion.

Drew, who was the better player, suffered in comparison to Trot Nixon who played with a football mentality and was beloved by Sox fans; Drew wasn't.


Overall, Drew was better. In Boston, Christopher Trotman was.

   12. Nasty Nate Posted: January 18, 2013 at 11:27 AM (#4349815)
Fans, however, love the football player type. Drew, who was the better player, suffered in comparison to Trot Nixon who played with a football mentality and was beloved by Sox fans; Drew wasn't.


I think this is true, but a little overstated. Although more popular than Drew, Nixon was never as much a fan favorite as Nomar and Varitek in the first half of his career, or as Ortiz and Damon in the second half (or Pedro the whole time).

...Drew, who was the better player...


For the record, Nixon had the (slightly) higher OPS+ in their Boston stints.
   13. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: January 18, 2013 at 11:27 AM (#4349820)
The Braves got Drew to replace Gary Sheffield. Drew's 2004 season was one of those pieces of evidence people cited to prove that the late years of the Braves' division run were like the closing years of a soap opera, with increasingly unlikely plot twists coming out of nowhere to save the day. Chris Hammond puts up a 0.95 ERA! An offense that was one of the worst in baseball in 2002 became the best in 2003! JD Drew had a healthy season! Half the farm system gets called up and the Braves still win the division!

Drew in 2004 was one of the most impressive all-around seasons I've ever seen from a Braves' player, excepting only Chipper's immortal 1999 campaign. Shame it had to cost Adam Wainwright.

When Drew signed with Boston, Rosenthal criticized the move, in large part because of the way Boston would react to Drew. I remembered emailing Rosenthal and saying that Drew might actually be a perfect fit for Boston. Dan Shaugnessey can't annoy you if you don't read a newspaper. The talk radio guys can't get on your nerves if you never listen. Drew was just a guy who showed up to the park, did his job, then went home. He wasn't engaged or involved.

(Rosenthal responded generously with a, "Fair point, but I don't agree" message. He was very, very good about responding to emails)
   14. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 18, 2013 at 11:43 AM (#4349837)
Although more popular than Drew, Nixon was never as much a fan favorite as Nomar and Varitek in the first half of his career, or as Ortiz and Damon in the second half (or Pedro the whole time).


I think Nixon is pretty darned close to that. Remember, this is a guy in 2000 that a lot of people didn't want to trade for Sammy Sosa who was in the middle of a string of 50-60 home run seasons. I think Trot is probably as popular as any recent player.
   15. Nasty Nate Posted: January 18, 2013 at 11:46 AM (#4349843)
I think Trot is probably as popular as any recent player.


Wow, maybe we need a "Trot Nixon And Perception" article because I really don't think that's even close to being true.
   16. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 18, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4349844)

Not sure I understand the point of the article. Is it a mystery why Murphy and Drew are perceived differently? They were very different players. Murphy had an 8-year stretch where he averaged 5 WAR, and that included a strike-shortened season. Drew's best 8-year stretch was 31 WAR with no strikes. That's a fairly big difference, and shorter time periods would tend to benefit Murphy too. Sure, Murphy had more bad seasons--five seasons at the end of his career in which he accumulated 1 WAR--but the writer's conclusion that this makes Murphy less consistent than Drew is incorrect. Murphy was consistently great for the heart of his career and consistently bad at the end. Drew was consistently good with one or two great seasons sprinkled in.

In addition, Murphy played practically every day for over a decade (and in fact had four consecutive seasons where he did not miss a game), while Drew never played more than 146 games and often played far less than that. From 2000-2010, Drew averaged 124 games per season. If he had averaged 150 games during that time period, he'd have finished his career with 51 WAR, and if he had averaged 160, he'd have finished with 54 WAR, and in both cases he'd probably be getting some HOF support.

On top of that, Murphy is supposedly a great guy, religious and charitable, while Drew started off his career on the wrong foot by holding out and re-entering the draft. I mean, is it supposed to be a mystery why Philly fans dislike him?

A more interesting comparison would be Murphy vs. Larry Walker. Walker was legitimately better, was recognized as a great player during his career, but is getting similar levels of HOF support to Murphy.
   17. booond Posted: January 18, 2013 at 12:01 PM (#4349852)
Wow, maybe we need a "Trot Nixon And Perception" article because I really don't think that's even close to being true.


I fit in the middle here. There wasn't hero-worship but Trot was respected as a "ballplayer" where Drew wasn't.

   18. John DiFool2 Posted: January 18, 2013 at 12:02 PM (#4349854)
I thought Drew was religious too...
   19. bob gee Posted: January 18, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4349856)
yup, i've met a bunch of red sox fans who hated drew. they believe some of the following:

-> injured all the time
-> poor defensive fielder
-> didn't hustle
-> not clutch
-> way overpaid.

i'm not defending them at all, and disagree with the above. but that's some perception...
   20. just plain joe Posted: January 18, 2013 at 12:06 PM (#4349858)
I am not a Cardinals fan and wouldn't presume to speak on their behalf. However, there are some Cardinals fans who have a low opinion of Drew. The consensus seems to be that Drew didn't care enough to play through the small hurts (never more than 135 games in any St. Louis season) and therefore was not a "gamer". Rightly or wrongly people felt that he cared more about himself than the team, and that he didn't care for playing in St. Louis. Naturally as soon as he was traded to Atlanta (for Adam Wainwright), he had the best season of his career, playing in 145 games and putting up an OPS+ of 157.
   21. Darren Posted: January 18, 2013 at 12:06 PM (#4349859)
RBIs.

Also, as to the Drew hate, I'm surprised to hear people don't think he was disliked in Boston. Red-Sox fan primates, am I the only one who remembers non-stat fans constantly complaining about this guy? That's how I remember it. They didn't like his personality and his lack of RBIs proved that he was useless.
   22. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: January 18, 2013 at 12:09 PM (#4349860)
LA fans do not hate J.D. Drew. Colletti may be pissed Drew opted out of his contract, but I feel the team got its money's worth.
   23. jmurph Posted: January 18, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4349864)
Red-Sox fan primates, am I the only one who remembers non-stat fans constantly complaining about this guy? That's how I remember it. They didn't like his personality and his lack of RBIs proved that he was useless.


You are not. He was definitely thought of as an overpaid disappointment. Not emotional enough, didn't care. Etc.
   24. Dale Sams Posted: January 18, 2013 at 12:16 PM (#4349867)
RBIs.

Also, as to the Drew hate, I'm surprised to hear people don't think he was disliked in Boston. Red-Sox fan primates, am I the only one who remembers non-stat fans constantly complaining about this guy? That's how I remember it. They didn't like his personality and his lack of RBIs proved that he was useless.


I *think* we like to think that most Sox fans finally came around to saying 'maybe I was too hard on him', and those that hang on to the hate are just extremists. But I dunno..
   25. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 18, 2013 at 12:17 PM (#4349868)
Red-Sox fan primates, am I the only one who remembers non-stat fans constantly complaining about this guy? That's how I remember it. They didn't like his personality and his lack of RBIs proved that he was useless.
This is, of course, the epitome of small sample size, but when I went to Fenway (in 2010) I sat by the Pesky Pole and the fans there just hated Drew (who was playing RF that day). Someone, I don't remember who, hit a laser line-drive to RF that short-hopped the RF wall, it was an absolute bullet, there was has never been a RF alive who could make a play on that ball. But the fans were all jeering Drew, saying he should have had it, etc. etc.

Again, that's just one game, but it was my defining memory of the thing. Well, that and the Blue Jays scored a run by running the AL East-winning play from "Major League."
   26. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 18, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4349869)
Black Ink: Murphy 31, Drew 0
Grey Ink: Murphy 147, Drew 11

The above is still relevant to HoF voters.


As it should be. Maybe Murphy is overrated and maybe Drew is underrated, but I have a hard time constructing a HOF case for someone who wasn't able to stay in the lineup enough to appear on the leaderboards more than a handful of times.
   27. Jon T. Posted: January 18, 2013 at 12:27 PM (#4349878)
I agree 100% with Darren's perception. Doesn't care, soft, not clutch, overpaid, etc
   28. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 18, 2013 at 12:28 PM (#4349881)
I *think* we like to think that most Sox fans finally came around to saying 'maybe I was too hard on him', and those that hang on to the hate are just extremists. But I dunno..


This may be true. I feel like the hatred is largely mitigated by the grand slam. I will add that that grand slam is on a very short list of moments that I've experienced at Fenway. The explosion of sound and joy is rivaled by less than a handful of other moments (1990 strikeout of Frank Thomas in the last game of the season, Ortiz' Game Four and Five walk offs...that's about it off the top of my head).
   29. Mattbert Posted: January 18, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4349883)
According to the article he's hated by Red Sox fans because they thought he was a bad baseball player. I don't know how accurate that is though I think the ledger is more toward "not liked" than "liked."

I think a lot of animus for Drew in Boston was driven by personality. The criticism of his actual play flowed from that, as the set of fans who just plain didn't like his reserved demeanor extrapolated a lot of things, e.g. patience at the plate became "too passive", graceful running style became "not hustling", not throwing a tantrum after a bad at-bat became "doesn't care", and so on.

Even as someone who thought he was a very good player and was glad to have him on my team (he had such a pretty swing, and I particularly loved watching him play defense - so smooth!), I have to say I found him a difficult player to "like" because his public persona was awfully bland. Nothing wrong with that, of course; I doubt a team comprised of 25 Pedroiae would get along very well.

I guess "not liked" is a pretty accurate summation of a lot of Red Sox fans' feelings towards Drew. Which, it should be noted, is not the same as "disliked".
   30. Dale Sams Posted: January 18, 2013 at 12:32 PM (#4349885)
...and anyone who thinks JD Drew was 'a poor defensive fielder' just needs to stop watching baseball altogether.
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: January 18, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4349888)
I'm about the last guy who could speak accurately about the average Sox fan's perception, seeing as I have almost no contact with such creatures, but would it be fair to say that whatever feelings Sox fans had toward J.D., they're really not the type that can be lumped in with Philly fan's attitudes toward the fella, as was done in the FA? It seems, from my distant vantagepoint, that there's a difference between general dislike and the pure, unadulterated hate that many Philly fans have showered him with for more than a decade.
   32. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 18, 2013 at 12:36 PM (#4349890)
One of my favorite players. I wish he'd had the skill to be durable, but, alas, he simply did not.
   33. Dale Sams Posted: January 18, 2013 at 12:44 PM (#4349902)
Philly's hate for JD is so intense, in the past incarnations of MLB the Show...if JD happened to play against the Phillies, the fans booed every time he came up to bat, and the announcers recorded a special line just for him. Something along the lines of, "Heh...and JD Drew continues to hold a special place in the hearts of Phillie fans"

At least, I think that line was just for him. I never heard them say that line about anyone else.
   34. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: January 18, 2013 at 01:24 PM (#4349934)
I am still defending JD Drew to haters, Red Sox and non-Red Sox fans alike. The perception Darren noted above is still common.
   35. kojakcolumbo Posted: January 18, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4349970)
LA fans do not hate J.D. Drew. Colletti may be pissed Drew opted out of his contract, but I feel the team got its money's worth.


L.A. fans hate Drew not because he opted out, but because he publicly stated he would not opt out. There was a huge feature in the L.A. Times about how much Drew's wife loved living in Pasadena, blahblahblah. A month later he was gone.

From Colletti at the time: "In light of what J.D. said at the end of the year, about making a commitment and how much he loved playing here, I was surprised. J.D.'s a man of his word. I guess he changed his word. I think you expect things to be handled in a certain way. Based on what was written at the end of the season, you have to ask yourself, 'How did this happen?'"


And this from the L.A. Times:

During the season, Drew said he and his wife had discovered that they enjoyed Southern California. Drew repeated throughout the year that he did not plan to exercise the opt-out clause, telling Times columnist T.J. Simers in August, "I just want to give you some fun for the next few years."

In the final week of the regular season, he reiterated he would remain with the Dodgers. "At some point, you make your commitments and you stick to them," he told the Orange County Register.
   36. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 18, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4349974)
...and anyone who thinks JD Drew was 'a poor defensive fielder' just needs to stop watching baseball altogether.


I don't get this either. In Arizona may fans feel that Justin Upton is a terrible outfielder because he's bad at things they can clearly see (bobbles, errors) and their eyes can't perceive the difference his speed makes and the range it provides him, more than enough extra balls caught to offset the errors several times over.

But JD Drew seemed like a competent outfielder, smooth, at worst decent if not good, and if you found out he was really rated highly by defensive systems you shouldn't be very surprised.
   37. philly Posted: January 18, 2013 at 02:06 PM (#4349978)
I took my son to see a Sox game in Philly. We were running late so we watched the first inning in a SRO crowd. When Drew came up the fans started booing him, of course, any my son (maybe 9 or 10) asked why. I explained the history with the Phillies and he matter of factly said something like, "oh he's a good player and he just wanted more money. That's not a big deal."

Some neanderthal looking dude near us glared at me and I quickly decided it was time to find our seats.
   38. villageidiom Posted: January 18, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4350003)
Anyone who calls himself a Red Sox fan and hates JD Drew forfeits any right to call his team the 2007 champions.

Drew was not liked by a lot of Red Sox fans. I wouldn't say "hated" with any sense of generality. And the dislike happened this way:

2006-07 offseason: Agrees to a $14m/yr contract. Signing is held up because the physical suggested he wasn't healthy. After months pass, he is signed to a $14m/yr contract anyway. That gave the initial perception that he would not be worth his contract.

2007, through early October: Didn't play well. When he did play, he displayed an indifferent demeanor. That doesn't mean he was indifferent, but combine his performance and the "overpay" contract with the demeanor and it's a perfect storm of crap.

October 20, 2007: The reset button was hit.* To straightaway center.

2008: Injured. Repeat.

2009-10: Good hitter when healthy, but getting worse in the field, partly because he wasn't healthy.

2011: Slow, injured, and hitless is no way to go through life, son.

JD Drew was a great player overall, and he was a good player in Boston. But with a lot of fans he got off on the wrong foot and never really set things right. The issues he had with his son (age 3, major health problems, having to be in a full body cast for an extended time, or something like that) were likely a huge distraction, and certainly understandable - but they were not widely known at the time by the fans. What they did "know" - or to fit in with TFA, perceive - was that he was likely to underperform the contract, which he appeared to do from day one.

* I cannot overstate this. Yes, one home run in a blowout was enough to negate a lost season. The 2006-09 Red Sox were often squandering their scoring opportunities in an immensely frustrating fashion. Then, in an elimination game at home, they load the bases with none out in the first inning, and promptly give up 2 outs without scoring a run. It had the feeling of the mother of all squanders.
   39. villageidiom Posted: January 18, 2013 at 02:35 PM (#4350013)
But JD Drew seemed like a competent outfielder, smooth, at worst decent if not good, and if you found out he was really rated highly by defensive systems you shouldn't be very surprised.
Negative dWAR (BBRef) in Boston, including each of his first two years there. Positive earlier in his career.

JD Drew was a good fielder in his career, and in Boston he did a lot of things right. But injuries (and age?) affected his range with the Red Sox.
   40. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 18, 2013 at 02:45 PM (#4350023)

JD Drew was a good fielder in his career, and in Boston he did a lot of things right. But injuries (and age?) affected his range with the Red Sox.


The funny thing is that people notice that less than any other aspect of defense (see Jeter, Derek, Gold Gloves and). Drew always LOOKED like a good defender and I don't remember ever thinking he was particularly noteworthy in his lack of range. On top of that he had a strong and accurate arm. I would be surprised if a large number of casual fans felt like he was a poor defender.

I think he had a couple of strikes against him right out of the gate. I think following Trot was a problem and as a player with the exact opposite personality of Trot that didn't endear him to people and the perception that he was always hurt preceded him. That of course was not helped by the Napoli-like delay in his signing.

What's funny though is that Drew had a bunch of major clutch moments in the post-season. Besides the Grand slam he also had the walk off hit in the big game five comeback against Tampa in the 2008 ALCS and a monster 9th inning homer to break a tie in Anaheim in the ALDS that year. Despite that I think the general consensus is that the grand slam was the only big hit he had.
   41. greenback calls it soccer Posted: January 18, 2013 at 02:45 PM (#4350024)
However, there are some Cardinals fans who have a low opinion of Drew.

This was fed not-so-subtly by La Russa.

I guess it's a sign of the dilution of post-season memories that Drew's 8th inning homer off Schilling in Game 5 of the 2001 NLDS is almost completely forgotten.
   42. Nasty Nate Posted: January 18, 2013 at 03:08 PM (#4350051)
I guess I was just quibbling over the word "hated." Part of it was that his Boston career mostly overlapped with the time period of least negativity amongst Red Sox fandom. There just wasn't much hate overall from end of 2004 to 2009. So I think he was just underrated. But if he had been really hated, he would have taken a lot of #### for his part in the Sox falling short in 2011.
   43. Swedish Chef Posted: January 18, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4350056)
Philly's hate for JD is so intense, in the past incarnations of MLB the Show...if JD happened to play against the Phillies, the fans booed every time he came up to bat, and the announcers recorded a special line just for him. Something along the lines of, "Heh...and JD Drew continues to hold a special place in the hearts of Phillie fans"

I'm disappointed the simulated fans don't throw virtual batteries.
   44. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: January 18, 2013 at 04:03 PM (#4350102)
A large part of what made Drew such an easy target was his obvious, mind-boggling talent. His swing, his stride...it was all so smooth, so obviously exceptional. No player is more loathed than the one who is perceived to be wasting talent, and Drew had so much of it that his failure in all but a couple of seasons to be a truly extraordinary player was easily chalked up to moral failings.
   45. salvomania Posted: January 18, 2013 at 04:59 PM (#4350145)
This is from an email I got on 12/21 after the Red Sox signed Shane Victorino, from a very casual baseball fan in Boston:

"What do you think of Shane Victorino? Better than JD Drew, or just as bad?...Are the Red Sox throwing lots of money at mediocre players?"
   46. Nasty Nate Posted: January 18, 2013 at 05:06 PM (#4350149)

"What do you think of Shane Victorino? Better than JD Drew, or just as bad?...Are the Red Sox throwing lots of money at mediocre players?"


I'm pretty sure I read the second sentence right here at BBTF ... without the question mark.
   47. micker17 Posted: January 18, 2013 at 05:09 PM (#4350153)
Perception: Drew was a talented but lazy and indifferent player that did not care.

Reality: Drew was in the majors for 14 years without ever playing 150 games or gathering 525 at bats in a season. Drew only had 500ab once in his 14 year career.

I'm not Drew's psychologist, but I'm suggesting a connection.

I'd gladly take Drew on my Strat-a-matic team because his 2/3 of a season is projected out to 162 games. In the real world? There's a ton of better ways to spend $14 million of a organizational budget.

   48. Tripon Posted: January 18, 2013 at 05:21 PM (#4350162)
Yes, Dodgers fans hate JD Drew, and a big part of that is that after the opt out, the Dodgers then went out to sign Juan Pierre, and Andruw Jones in the next two seasons. Talk about making a bad decision on top of a bad decision.
   49. Walt Davis Posted: January 18, 2013 at 05:25 PM (#4350168)
For an outsiders' perspective: I always found the focus of some Boston fans on Drew to have been strange from the get-go. This was a team with lots of stars already (Ortiz, Manny, Beckett, Schilling); the offseason they signed Drew was the same offseason they signed Dice-K with all that hype and melodrama; Drew's contract was hardly a big one at the time; Drew's flaws (durability, "softness") were already well known. Pedroia wasn't established yet but won the RoY in 2007 which should have provided some distraction.

How did Drew ever become big enough to even matter much to the fans? He wasn't brought in to be the star, he wasn't brought in to turn a franchise around, he wasn't even the biggest signing of that offseason. He was brought in to be a good player for 130 games a year. Even if they flop those guys don't usually generate much passion in the fanbase.
   50. bjhanke Posted: January 18, 2013 at 05:27 PM (#4350172)
I'm a St. Louisan, so I started following J. D. Drew from the time that he declined to sign after his first draft, eventually ending up with the Cards. The impression I got of him was that he treated baseball as his job, and wasn't going to put on a happy, team-first face for the media. This seems consistent with the stays in other organizations. It's not like he was indifferent, but he treated playing baseball as a job, rather than as a patriotic crusade, which is what fans want to see.

He was also actually fragile, instead of fake fragile. By that I mean that he was not like Bob Horner, whose response to injury problems seems to have been to put on weight and not work hard, for fear of injury if he did work hard. Drew was not like that. He stayed in the best shape he could. He wasn't willing to take fence-crashing risks, because those risks were higher for him that for a sturdier person, but he was not a malingerer, and didn't deserve much of his bad press. I tend to compare him to a now-obscure player named Geronimo Pena, a second baseman for the Cards in the 1990s. Pena had boatloads of talent, but simply couldn't stay in the lineup. He had one year where he lived up to the expectations generated by my projection systems at the time; that year was 1992, when he only played 62 games, but did play those games at an All-Star level. Pena never dodged a workout or gave less than whatever his body had at the time, but he vastly underperformed what his minor league numbers predicted. Drew was better than that, brighter than that. When healthy at all, he played at a Hall of Fame level, but then there are those other seasons. What there is not is a bunch of bad half-seasons with one or two good half-seasons thrown in there. That is, Drew worked at staying as healthy as possible because he knew what his play meant to his employer, and he was trying to honor his contracts. I think that this is very bright, and a credit to Drew, not a fault.

In short, I don't think it's appropriate to boo Drew. My take is that J. D. realized that if he took chances out there, he'd wind up with Pena's career, instead of the one he did have. This is wisdom, linked to the idea that baseball was his job. Fans just don't like to see that in their players, but in the case of injury-prone guys, conservatism on defense is often the difference between a good season and a bad half-year. - Brock Hanke
   51. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 18, 2013 at 05:36 PM (#4350187)
How did Drew ever become big enough to even matter much to the fans?


That gets back to what I was trying to say in #6. I don't think he ever mattered that much to fans. As was pointed out in this thread Drew was perfectly poised to be a whipping boy in 2011 but his absence was greeted with indifference. The big contract (and $14 mil was sizable at the time in reality and of course in theory compared to what fans make) certainly put a bit of a bulls-eye on him but I don't remember him being a real target.

To give it some context, I think Lugo was much more of a target in 2007 and 2008 than Drew was. People didn't hate Drew, they just didn't particularly like him.
   52. Dale Sams Posted: January 18, 2013 at 05:54 PM (#4350220)
I'd gladly take Drew on my Strat-a-matic team because his 2/3 of a season is projected out to 162 games. In the real world? There's a ton of better ways to spend $14 million of a organizational budget.


Not really. And especially these days.
   53. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: January 18, 2013 at 08:02 PM (#4350334)
We sure enjoyed his time in Atlanta

That year came at pretty steep price.
   54. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: January 19, 2013 at 12:20 AM (#4350427)
Yaz was cool with JD Drew.
   55. ptodd Posted: January 19, 2013 at 03:24 AM (#4350448)
I never cared for JD in Boston all that much because of all the time he missed for one reason or another. His rest days, of which there were many, usually came against the opponents tough LHP'ers so he had a bit of a platoon split. He was a decent RF'er defensively but I never saw much of an arm, especially in his last few years.

The argument that he did not produce well in RBI situations is a well known fact. Forget about RBI totals, look at percentage of runners on base driven in. He was consistently below average there over his 5 years with the Red Sox. Some of that, not all, was his love affair with walking. I have nothing against walks, but when your team is down 2 runs in the late inning and you are batting 7th with a weak hitter behind you and runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs, you should try and drive the runners in if you are a "HOF'er". I actually say him argue a 3-1 call with an ump who called strike 2 in this situation with Varitek in his declining years on deck.

So JD produced a buch of theoretical runs with offensive and defensive run estimators, but when it came to changing the scoreboard directly, he was lacking.


Thats said, my main problem was not with JD, he was who he was and the team needed a RF'er after the debacle of 2006. My problem was with his zealots who called anyone who dared criticize him an idiot and insisted right up until year 5 that his contract was a steal for the Red Sox. JD produced more or less what he was paid and did not generate much of a surplus, which is how I define a good/great contract for a team.

And if I hear one more time about his clutch 1st inning grandslam in a 12-1 or whatever it was blowout against the Indians in the playoffs I will scream bad things in my mind. Bucky Dent hit a clutch HR once and he was not much of a hitter. JD wasn't either, at least not with the Red Sox aside from a few good short stretches between injuries and longer bad stretches.
   56. danup Posted: January 19, 2013 at 03:27 AM (#4350450)
Drew frustrated fans in St. Louis because his talent made him look like he was playing at half-speed, and his problems staying healthy seemed more appropriate for a bang-into-the-walls guy—you could forgive Jim Edmonds for getting hurt, but not Drew. I remember seeing him hit a 500-foot home run at Busch II on what looked almost like a warm-up swing, and it got the appropriate awed silence in the stands for a while. But by then he was already on the wrong foot with fans, so the final response wasn't "God, that's impressive" so much as "God, why can't he harness that more often?"

Before he got hurt in 2001 I was more excited about him finally putting everything together than Pujols showing up out of nowhere. When he broke his hand he was hitting .330/.426/.688 with 21 home runs in 64 games. (Of course, Pujols was hitting .352/.413/.656 with 20 home runs in 68 games.)
   57. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: January 19, 2013 at 07:08 AM (#4350463)
Negative dWAR (BBRef) in Boston, including each of his first two years there. Positive earlier in his career.

JD Drew was a good fielder in his career, and in Boston he did a lot of things right. But injuries (and age?) affected his range with the Red Sox.

I guess I will just keep repeating this until people catch on: dWAR now contains positional adjustments.

dWAR has him at 0.8 wins over his Boston years, relative to position. 1.6 if you throw out the crappy last year. UZR has him +22 runs in Boston. Drew was still a good fielder in Boston, and anybody who tells you otherwise doesn't know baseball.

Also, dWAR now contains positional adjustments.
   58. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: January 19, 2013 at 08:58 AM (#4350471)
Ray, I don't see durability as a skill. (This has probably been discussed here.) You can't learn it. You either are able to play hurt, or you aren't.
   59. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: January 19, 2013 at 09:43 AM (#4350474)
Ray, I don't see durability as a skill. (This has probably been discussed here.) You can't learn it. You either are able to play hurt, or you aren't.


Is a strong throwing arm learned? How about freakish bat speed? In my view, durability is as much of a skill as many other aspects of the game.
   60. Darren Posted: January 19, 2013 at 10:53 AM (#4350484)
#55 pretty much encapsulates the "hate" of Drew that I remember, as far as it went.

As for scoring runners, per BR, Drew plated 13, 15, 14, 15, and 11 percent of baserunners. Major League average over his career is 15%, so he plated about 16 fewer runners than expected over the course of his 5 years (7 of those in his lost 2011). How much of that comes from hitting behind Ortiz and Manny most of the time? Whatever the case, even adding those runs back in, I'm doubting that would change the perception of him.
   61. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: January 19, 2013 at 01:22 PM (#4350547)
59...no and no, IMO. You can improve each with practice, but you can't get from average to great. I don't see how you can avoid injury by practicing not getting hurt.

lol, 3rd edit...Maybe it is a skill, if you define it broadly. MLB skills are mostly a player's natural ability, honed to an elite level.

Some guys are more brittle than others. Repeating what I said above, I don't see how you can change that.
   62. booond Posted: January 19, 2013 at 01:44 PM (#4350553)
How much of that comes from hitting behind Ortiz and Manny most of the time?


Not only with the pair ahead of him cleaning the bases but also with them clinging to the bases.

   63. base ball chick Posted: January 19, 2013 at 04:49 PM (#4350636)
free-agent fan here

fans best i can tell don't like ballplayers who have the personality of quiet and emotionless PLUS lack any ability whatsoever to tolerate so much as a hangnail/get "hurt" yawning/ so miss a lot of games (think of your average guy crying because he has to get a tetanus shot cuz he afraid of needles even though he got tats all over his *()%@! body and piercings youknowwhere) AND are not leadoff guys and appear to prefer taking a walk to hitting the ball with men on base (with a bad hitter batting behind him).

fans think of players like that as puss um, PANsies and unmanly

he's the kind of guy you look at and wonder why on earth he was a number one pick. then you look at his stats and think - well, small sample size. even when they weren't. i would never have thought to put him on my personal list of 10 best outfielders in any year - he did have an accurate arm) and was surprised any time i read he was a really good fielder.

i would bet nobody would have even noticed him if he was a 10th round pick and earned 3 mill a year
   64. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 21, 2013 at 05:06 PM (#4351985)
Ray, I don't see durability as a skill. (This has probably been discussed here.) You can't learn it. You either are able to play hurt, or you aren't.


Well, from an abstract level, home run hitting isn't a skill either, then, because you can't teach Manny Alexander how to hit home runs. No matter how many steroids he takes.

But I do think that durability is a skill. Knowing how/when to run/dive/sprint so you don't get hurt is a big aspect of it. Even sliding into bases or learning how to avoid getting HBP are skills.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Martin Hemner
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogTigers' Miguel Cabrera appears to re-injure ankle, leaves game
(10 - 3:48am, Sep 01)
Last: Cooper Nielson

NewsblogBackman named PCL’s top manager
(12 - 2:57am, Sep 01)
Last: ReggieThomasLives

NewsblogBob Melvin calls Athletics 'pathetic' after Angels sweep four-game set
(1 - 2:09am, Sep 01)
Last: Walks Clog Up the Bases

NewsblogOT: NBC.news: Valve isn’t making one gaming console, but multiple ‘Steam machines’
(779 - 2:09am, Sep 01)
Last: DJS and the Infinite Sadness

NewsblogJesus Montero gets heckled by Mariners cross checker during rehab stint
(58 - 2:00am, Sep 01)
Last: Weratych

NewsblogAthletics Acquire Adam Dunn
(22 - 1:37am, Sep 01)
Last: 6 - 4 - 3

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 9-1-2014
(1 - 1:13am, Sep 01)
Last: Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq.

NewsblogOT August 2014:  Wrassle Mania I
(90 - 12:53am, Sep 01)
Last: andrewberg

NewsblogOT: Politics, August 2014: DNC criticizes Christie’s economic record with baseball video
(6296 - 12:32am, Sep 01)
Last: David Nieporent (now, with children)

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 8-31-2014
(100 - 12:29am, Sep 01)
Last: Jose Can Still Seabiscuit

NewsblogHigh School Baseball Game In Japan Takes 50 Innings, Four Days
(6 - 11:46pm, Aug 31)
Last: Gamingboy

NewsblogBlue Jays Acquire Mayberry Jr.
(2 - 11:41pm, Aug 31)
Last: John Northey

NewsblogPhoto of the day: Bill Murray, indy league ticket-taker
(42 - 11:33pm, Aug 31)
Last: Robert in Manhattan Beach

NewsblogSherman: How Reds react to second-half swoon will be major factor in offseason
(5 - 9:46pm, Aug 31)
Last: Select Storage Device

NewsblogOrioles Acquire Kelly Johnson
(20 - 9:44pm, Aug 31)
Last: Mike Emeigh

Page rendered in 0.8407 seconds
52 querie(s) executed