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Full Version: OT: would signing J.D. Drew in '97 have made a difference?
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TGryn
Most Phillies fans are familiar with J.D. Drew's story: was drafted 2nd overall by the Phillies in the 1997 draft, then could not come to an agreement and went back into the draft, being selected by the Cardinals in 1998 and drawing the ire forever of Phils fans. He played for 14 seasons, mostly with St. Louis and Boston. The question I'm addressing is, did not signing Drew really matter in the long run for the Phillies, with the gift of hindsight?

Here's the Phillies' records for the years Drew played, mainly 1999-2011. The most recent playoff/WS run lasted from 2007 to 2011; before that, the Phils generally finished 2nd or 3rd in the NL East, and out of the playoffs. In '02 and '05 they only missed the pennant by a couple of games; other seasons, they were well out of it by 10+ games. Could Drew have made the difference, especially for the '99-'06 teams?

Drew played RF. The Phillies mainly had two starters in RF during the same period: Bobby Abreu in 1999-2005, then Jason Werth from 2007-2010 (with Victorino sandwiched between the two as the RF in '06). Here's Drew's career statistics, along with Abreu's and Werth's. Doing some rough calculations in Excel, here's what I come up with:

Abreu, '99-'05: 185 HRs, 0.304 BA, FLD% 0.983
Drew, '99-'05: 157 HRs, 0.284 BA, FLD% 0.981

Werth, '07-'10: 95 HRs, 0.283 BA, FLD% 0.987
Drew, '07-'10: 76 HRs, 0.271 BA, FLD% 0.985

As far as I can tell, both Abreu and Werth put up better hitting numbers than Drew, and their defensive fielding percentages were about the same. Combined, it seems as though the replacements the Phillies came up with for Drew actually played better than JDD during the same time periods, and with only a couple of exceptions the Phils were out of the division race by such a wide margin that even the boost from a Drew who played above what he did in StL probably wouldn't have made a difference. The bad news from the Phillies perspective with Drew was mainly that the guy they got with the compensatory pick for Drew, Eric Valent, didn't contribute to the organization in any meaningful way, but not that having Drew was the missing piece that would have made them into contenders.
HOUSEoPAIN
On the contrary, it's possible that NOT signing Drew ended up being great for us. He wanted a lot of money for never having done anything in the majors, and as you point out, from 99 up until last year we've had all-star caliber right fielders.

He was at best a slightly above average player - and for someone with his hype, you could call him a bust. He had one 'great' year, a few good years, and a few solid years.

The problem with our organization was Bill Giles, who will forever be associated with our being a 'small market team.' Once we realized we were a 'big' market team and got some competent management, we were contenders.
nephillymike
I was suprised Drew's numbers were that good really.

In hindsight, not signing him was a blessing. Your analysis didn't factor in what else we did with the money we saved on Drew, assuming that we had some left over after the Abreu and Werth salaries which I think were reasonable.
mcnabbulous
I'd argue that the player you should be comparing Drew with is Burrell. Would we have drafted Burrell if Drew signed? Maybe we take Mulder instead?

Drew had a career WAR of 44.8. Burrell's was 18.6 - So by that measure, Drew was the more valuable player. Abreu was better than both of them, FWIW.

Frankly, it all worked out in our benefit. We won a World Series and any change may have altered the space time continuum and that may not have happened.
nephillymike
QUOTE (mcnabbulous @ Jun 24 2013, 12:37 PM) *
I'd argue that the player you should be comparing Drew with is Burrell. Would we have drafted Burrell if Drew signed? Maybe we take Mulder instead?

Drew had a career WAR of 44.8. Burrell's was 18.6 - So by that measure, Drew was the more valuable player. Abreu was better than both of them, FWIW.

Frankly, it all worked out in our benefit. We won a World Series and any change may have altered the space time continuum and that may not have happened.



Stupid WAR questions:

1. Can someone have a negative WAR, and what does that mean (as compared to who?)
2. Do they publish WAR stats vs. lefties and righties??
mcnabbulous
QUOTE (nephillymike @ Jun 24 2013, 04:42 PM) *
Stupid WAR questions:

1. Can someone have a negative WAR, and what does that mean (as compared to who?)
2. Do they publish WAR stats vs. lefties and righties??

1. Yes - Burrell's two seasons in Tampa both resulted in -War. Essentially means that they were worse than a replacement level player. Which isn't very good. Replacement level basically means that you can acquire them for nothing. A career AAA type player.

2. I can't say for sure, but I don't think so.
JaxEagle
I vote that it didn't hurt us. JD Drew sure did draw the ire of Philly. Good!!!!!
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