The highly touted Stephen Drew exploded onto the big league scene with Arizona towards the end of the 2006 season with a .367 wOBA in 59 games. An inflated .394 mark on balls in play aided his slash stats but we’ve seen three full seasons from Drew since then.
Those first three full seasons have been like an elevator ride for Drew at the plate. Below are his wRC+’s and coinciding BABIP’s since he became the D-Backs regular shortstop:
It’s evident that he’s experienced some goofy BABIP fluctuation. As his BABIP has increased or decreased so has his overall batting line. With the help of the Hardball Times expected BABIP calculator we can adjust Drew’s triple-slash lines after we come up with a new expected BABIP figure. Below are Drew’s expected BABIPs courtesy of the calculator:
2007: .304 +.37 from actual BABIP
2008: .310 -.12 from actual BABIP
2009: .309 +.21 from actual BABIP
Interesting. The range from these three seasons worth of expected batted ball data is only six. Now I’ll show you Drew’s adjusted slash stats assuming that all the extra hits added or subtracted were graciously singles:
Suddenly, Drew looks like a much more consistent player save for the power spike in 2008 when he launched 21 homers. In 2008 Drew gobbled up fastballs for a 16.9 run value. His performance versus fastballs likely attributed to his increase in long balls.
Expect a bounce back season from the soon-to-be 27-year-old. The Fans .280/.336/.459 projection with 17 home runs looks awfully accurate (good job FanGraphers) and closely resembles his xBABIP adjusted line from 2009. He also offers a little more upside after the expected BABIP regression. If Drew runs into a few more fastballs like he did in 2008 it’s very possible that he pops 20+ home runs. The cozy hitting confines of Chase Field can only help him too.
Drew’s had varying success at the plate through his first three full seasons and this may make fantasy players a bit gun shy when it comes to selecting Drew during their drafts. Fantasy owners should not fear Drew and he’s a solid shortstop option come the middle rounds of drafts. Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger on Stephen Drew.