After Slow Start Stephen Drew Is Settling In With Red Sox
When the Red Sox signed Stephen Drew in the off-season on a one-year deal it drew quite a bit on skepticism from Red Sox Nation. The Sox remembered his older brother J.D. who made $14 million over 5 slightly above average seasons in Boston. Drew was not the type of player that the Red Sox fans generally embrace, particularly since he was replacing resident dirt dog and fan favorite Trot Nixon. As a result he was a much-maligned player in his time here despite being productive over most of his contract. When the younger Drew signed in Boston it brought back memories, especially since he is making a robust $9.5 million salary in his one year here.
The comparisons to the elder Drew escalated for Stephen in spring training when he suffered a concussion that sent him to the disabled list for the beginning of the season. Stephen was coming off of a serious ankle injury last season and a second injury started to look like a trend. Fans remembered J.D. Drew pulling up lame while running the bases or gliding carelessly in the outfield to catch a fly ball and end up on the 15-day DL the next day. While that perception may have been unfair for Stephen, who was a durable player before his ankle injury last year, it’s hard to blame Red Sox fans for having a feeling of deja vu.
So Drew started the season on the 7-day DL and missed the first 7 games while Jose Iglesias tore it up for the Sox. Drew got back in the lineup on April 10th and the results were less than fruitful. In the 48 at-bats spanning his first 15 games Drew only managed 7 hits. He only had 6 RBI and hit no home runs during that stretch. By the end of the month of April Drew’s stat line read .154/.267/.250 with no homers and the 6 RBI. He at least walked 8 times in April but when it was all said in done it looked like it was going to be a long season for Stephen Drew.
As soon as the calendar flipped to May something clicked for Drew. He was 3 for 5 with 2 RBI and his first home run of the season on May 1 and he has been hitting much better ever since. He’s had 3 multi-hit games in May after not recording one in April. Drew has more hits (13 to 8), home runs (2 to 0) and RBI (8 to 6) in the first 11 games in May than he did in his 16 games played in April. After a dismal start in the first month Drew’s line now stands at .228/.314/.359. He’s not there yet but if he keeps pace with his May start his numbers should fall in line with his career stats which are pretty solid for a bottom of the lineup guy.
Like most Sox fans I didn’t see much of Stephen Drew before he came to Boston. The only thing I knew about him is that he was J.D.’s younger brother. While he is a lot like J.D. in some ways, takes a lot of pitches, plays very smooth and robotic in the field, doesn’t show much emotion, it’s important to note that he’s only under a 1-year contract, not 5 like J.D. He might not be Jose Iglesias in the field but he is certainly an above average defender and he will contribute at the plate. I’ll admit that I was a detractor of Drew’s during his April struggles but he’s shown more at the plate after coming back from the concussion and I’m interested to see if he can keep it up. I’ll take some of those clutch hits that his brother used to pull out of thin air in October if it’s not too much as well.