With Stephen Drew set to return today, I would like to put a common misconception to bed.
People surmise Drew only contributes one positive attribute, and that is defense. However, that simply is just not true, and he — despite what the general perception believes — is a solid offensive player.
Yes, you heard that right. Even with his paltry .506 OPS in the World Series last year, Drew is one of the best offensive shortstops in the game.
Now, it’s easy to look back at the pedestrian numbers he put up in 2011 and 2012, and honestly think his offensive production has taken a snag with age, but that argument is entirely arbitrary.
You’re evidently forgetting he sustained a gruesome leg injury (you can click here if you’d like to see it, but be forewarned, it’s not for the faint of heart) in 2011 that caused him to miss the rest of the 2011 season and half of 2012. Basically, the 2012 season’s focus for Drew was to rehab the ankle and get back into the swing of things. It’s worth mentioning that he compiled an exceptional .707 OPS the last 39 games of the season, compared to a meager .601 the first 40 games.
Anyway, 2013 was the first year he was fully healthy, and he played very well. Drew ranked 4th among shortstops with a minimum 500 plate appearances in wRC+ — the most accurate offensive value barometer in baseball — at 109, behind only Troy Tulowitzki, Ian Desmond, and Jed Lowrie. That’s good company.
Let’s play a game. Below is a table of statistics of two unidentified players’ numbers last season.
Player A: .253/.333/.443 & 3.4 fWAR
Player B: .263/.306/.433 & 3.4 fWAR
Well, player A is Stephen Drew and B is J.J. Hardy, who is regarded as one of the best offensive shortstops in baseball. Oh, the irony! Drew is pegged a much inferior offensive commodity, yet his numbers (OBP and SLG) trump Hardy.
To further prove my point, he ranked third among shortstops with at least 500 plate appearances in on-base percentage and placed fourth in slugging percentage.
It’s humorous really. In reality, Drew is a premier offensive and defensive shortstop in the big-leagues, but is commonly deemed a player who can’t hit a lick. Hopefully, this is an eye-opener for those who weren’t cognizant of Drew’s admirable offensive contributions.