Thursday, September 23, 2004

J.D. Drew - The Five Tool Outfielder

The Atlanta Braves lost a tremendous part of their team last year. The saw Greg Maddux sign with the Cubs, Gary Sheffield sign the stinkin' Yankees, Javy Lopez sign the Baltimore Orioles, and Robert Fick be discarded to the Devil Rays. Everyone, with few exceptions, had them slated to be a non-contender this year, well they were all wrong. Part of the Atlanta Braves' success this year is due in large part to J.D. Drew. He has made a remarkable turn around from the past years. As of today, he has played in 138 of 152 games this season.

J.D. Drew is everything Gary Sheffield was to the 2003 Atlanta Braves and more. He has two of the "tools" Gary Sheffield lacks these days, an Arm and Speed. J.D. Drew has played Gold Glove Caliber defense in right field. His arm, a resurgence of Andruw Jones' defense and arm, and the rookie Charles Thomas have put a halt to runners rounding third. I have seen the Atlanta Braves outfield throw out more runners this year than any other number of years that I can remember. In terms of offense, let’s look at his statistics and compare them with Gary Sheffield's statistics for 2004 as well.

J.D. Drew (2004):
138 G, 496 AB, 114 R, 155 H, 28 2B, 6 3B, 31 HR, 90 RBI, 112 BB, 108 SO, 12 SB, 2 CS, .313 BA, .441 OBP, .581 SLG, 1.021 OPS

Gary Sheffield (2004):
146 G, 551 AB, 114 R, 162 H, 30 2B, 1 3B, 36 HR, 118 RBI, 87 BB, 79 SO, 5 SB, 6 CS, .294 BA, .396 OBP, .548 SLG, .944 OPS

Sheffield is a true power hitter, and JD Drew is an exceptional hitter that hits for power. Sheffield is leading Drew in HR and RBI, but is behind in everything else except SO and 2B. Drew's OPS is 87 points higher than Sheffield's and he has been "pitched" to less. Sheffield is surrounded by great players all year. Drew has been surrounded by many slumping and hurt players who have finally just begun to swing the bat effectively. Unfortunately, because of Bonds, Beltre, Rolen and Edmonds, Drew is not getting too much attention in the NL MVP race. He has been the most essential part to the Braves organization this year. He is not the best MVP candidate out there but I plan to personally kill John Shuerholz if he does not sign J.D. Drew to a long term contract with the Atlanta Braves.

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