Skip to content

Curt Joins the J.D. Drew Discussion

October 23, 2009

Curt Schilling called into The Big Show on Thursday afternoon to offer his insight into J.D. Drew’s abilities and whether he is living up to the expectations of his five-year, $70 million contract. He also discussed Jason Bay’s offseason contract situation. Highlights of the interview are below. To listen to the complete interview, click here.

On Drew’s status as a run producer, and the fact that the outfielder had a relatively low RBI total in 2009:

First of all, I can tell you this. As someone who worships at the alter of statistics for baseball in preparation and approaching hitters, I can honestly tell you that not once in 19 years did I consider RBIs a relevant statistic in how I approached a hitter.

I think one of the more relevant statistics, and I think in the next five to six years it’s going to come into prominence, is RBIs per opportunities. There’s some guys that have driven in 110 runs and you can claim they had a horrific year, based on them driving in runs 35 percent of the time that they had runners in scoring position. You get guys in some offenses when literally half their at-bats in a season are with guys on second and third and less than two outs, and they should drive in 150 runs, and they end up driving in 102. And we say, ‘Oh, he had a good year – he drove in 102.’ But from an organizational standpoint, he failed far more than he succeeded.

They have statistical formulas to document everything, so that when Theo Epstein tells you he’s a tick above, I promise you, whether you like it or not or agree or not, I promise you he has data to back up the argument that makes J.D. Drew offensively, defensively and on the basepaths is worth every penny of every dollar he’s paying him. At the end of the day, his opinion is the only one that really matters.

You get a guy who hits 24 homers and hits 58 runs…He might have only had an opportunity to drive in 75 runs over the course of the season.

Did you view other power hitters as a bigger threat than Drew?

Not at all. Not at all. I’ll tell you why.

His career has been built around getting on base. You make that argument, ‘I don’t want a guy taking a walk with a runner in scoring position.’ On-base percentage is what drives … I never wanted to face the guys who were .370-plus percentage on-base guys. Generally, for the most part, those guys don’t strike out a lot. J.D. strikes out more than most. For the most part, those are the guys who, their value isn’t necessarily just getting on base every time. It’s just as much the fact that in their 0-for-2 night, they’re going to draw two walks and make the opposing pitcher throw 24 pitches, as opposed to Vladimir Guerrero, who’s going to go 0-for-4, draw no walks and make me throw five pitches. There’s a deeper value. I promise you that the depth of the statistical analysis that they do on these players to identify their dollar value is far different and far more unique and probably as off the wall as anything you’ve ever heard.

That’s what this system does when they go out to value players, and put a true, I would call it, Red Sox dollar value to a player.

What will Jason Bay be worth this offseason?

A lot. A lot. I’ll tell you why.

I know I’ve heard that from the defensive metric system that he’s got a lower value, but in Fenway Park, that’s minimized. That’s where you play 81 of your games, so it becomes less of an issue, so he becomes more valuable. You go to Yankee Stadium, you know what? That might change a little bit. I’ve always thought he was a really good athlete. I would guess that his lower defensive value has more to do with his range than anything because fundamentally, he’s a very, very good outfielder. He hits cutoff men. He doesn’t have a super-strong arm but in left field you don’t have to. In Fenway Park, that defensive metric is probably not as significant as if he was playing in Anaheim.

Take a guess about what he’ll get this offseason.

Four times 15, 16 probably. I don’t think [the Red Sox] will go that far.

Is Drew one of the top two or three outfielders in the league?

In my perception? No. But again, I don’t pay him, and No. 2, you’re talking about different value systems.

For 100 years, that was how scouts drafted players: he looks like a baseball player, he’s built like a baseball player, he’s got five tools.

Fred [Smerlas], how many guys did you play with [in the NFL] who, in the weight room or on the 40 time, you were like, ‘Oh my God,’ and then when the ball got snapped, you wanted no one but that guy next to you?

The best example on the planet are the guys playing first and second base on this team. You would not look at either of those guys before their big-league careers and say, ‘This guy is a perennial All-Star.’

On whether staying on the field is an issue for Drew.

Unequivocally, without a doubt, absolutely, yes. And it’s not just the manager. It permeates to the clubhouse. And I will tell you from having played with J.D. – listen, there’s nobody that probably was more outspoken against J.D. Drew than I was when he got drafted – I said a lot of things I should not have said. When I look back on it, it had nothing to do with J.D. It was Scott Boras.

At the time, I meant it.

I wanted them to throw batteries at him. Until I met him. He’s a guy that shows up. I’ve played with a lot of guys who I couldn’t identify with, because in their minds, they had to be 100 percent to go out on the field. And I realized when I was 22 that the last time I was 100 percent or ever would be was when I was 17. And there are some guys, they can’t play. They will not play. They don’t believe in their hard work, that they’re going to produce if they’re not 100 percent. He’s not one of those guys. But there are other guys, walking down the stairway, they can pull a muscle.
But when he’s on, you’ve seen when he’s on. He can carry a team.

RELATED CONTENT

Chat: Outfielder Jason Bay – Thursday, Oct. 29 at noon

Alex Speier: Worth the Money? For the Sox, No Regrets About Drew Deal

Alex Katz: The Misinterpreted J.D. Drew

Alex Speier: The Market for Jason Bay

15 Comments leave one →
  1. October 23, 2009 11:06 am

    This is really good stuff. It is one thing when those of us on the sidelines analyze stats, but when a guy like Curt does it, you have to take it to heart. I hope Theo listens to Curt in making decision about the Sox.

  2. Alex permalink
    October 23, 2009 11:23 am

    No mention of the two postseason home runs JD has hit off of Schilling?

  3. Nick permalink
    October 25, 2009 12:35 am

    “I think one of the more relevant statistics, and I think in the next five to six years it’s going to come into prominence, is RBIs per opportunities. There’s some guys that have driven in 110 runs and you can claim they had a horrific year, based on them driving in runs 35 percent of the time that they had runners in scoring position. You get guys in some offenses when literally half their at-bats in a season are with guys on second and third and less than two outs, and they should drive in 150 runs, and they end up driving in 102. And we say, ‘Oh, he had a good year – he drove in 102.’ But from an organizational standpoint, he failed far more than he succeeded.”

    I’m having a tough time figuring out how this is different from RISP.

  4. Nick permalink
    October 25, 2009 12:35 am

    or I should say, a player’s performance with runners in scoring position.

  5. Anthony permalink
    October 26, 2009 11:12 am

    Ok, if Drew batted in 58 and only had the opportunity to bat in 75, he would be the greatest RBI guy of all time considering that the best of the best bat in the run in less than 20% of their opportunities. For a guy who claims to look at stats, you reveal an awful lack of knowledge about them. But never let the (easily reviewable) stats get in the way of blindly supporting anything Theo or one of your former teammates do (at least while said teammate is still a member of the Red Sox, after which, as we all know, you will rip them to shreds). Abreu, by the way, was tops this season among regular starters with 19.8%. Drew, on the other hand, brought in 13.8%, tied with Pedroia and George Kottaras, and above only Varitek and Ellsbury of the Red Sox starters, far behind Bay (18.7%), Victor Martinez (18.9%), and Kevin Youkilis (16.2%).

  6. October 27, 2009 9:51 am

    “First of all, I can tell you this. As someone who worships at the alter of statistics for baseball in preparation and approaching hitters, I can honestly tell you that not once in 19 years did I consider RBIs a relevant statistic in how I approached a hitter.”

    Curt, I just regained my man-crush for you all over again. I really wish more current and ex-players like you, Brian Bannister, and Max Scherzer could influence the media and other baseball analysts (I’m looking at YOU Harold Reynolds!) about how to properly approach statistical analysis instead of turning up their nose to us nerds that value objectivity instead of anecdotal subjective “evidence”.

  7. HouseOfFourDoors permalink
    October 27, 2009 11:43 am

    Didn’t Drew once say, “I know how to win a championship ring. I’ll play for the team Curt Schilling plays for.”

  8. JohnR permalink
    October 27, 2009 12:29 pm

    Hey Curt – please call your friend John McCain and tell him to stop being a schill for telecom lobby money. You are a tech-savvy guy and you know the BS bill he introduced is only going to make the Internet worse by giving an unfair advantage to the big companies that run the Internet. He is allowing a monopoly by allowing service providers to control what content gets through and what content doesn’t. Hell – they are already breaking these rules – but they just haven’t been fined yet.

    If McCain gets his way, the Internet will start to suck – and it will no longer allow for innovation in the same way. But that is cool – as long as he gets to line his pockets, right? I thought you said he was honest and forthright. Turns out he is as bad, if not worse, than the rest.

    ps – thanks for the 2 championships!

  9. Kevin permalink
    October 27, 2009 1:30 pm

    J.D. Drew’s on-base percentage is only 6 points higher than Vlad’s for his career. However, his slugging percentage is 64 points higher. Sure, Drew averages more pitches per plate appearance (3.9 vs 3.24), that appears to be because Vlad just doesn’t wait nearly as long to get his hits, of which he also averages significantly more. This leads to the disparity in total bases per season, as well: Vlad averages 348 and Drew averages 270. Essentially Vlad replaces the extra walks of Drew with doubles. Even though I am 100% in favor of patience and taking walks, I don’t think anyone can argue which has more value in this particular case. In the end I actually do agree that Drew is a very underrated player, I just think that Vladimir Guerrero is still significantly better.

  10. Kevin permalink
    October 27, 2009 2:40 pm

    Sorry, to clarify, “[Vlad’s] slugging percentage is 64 points higher”

  11. cody permalink
    October 27, 2009 4:15 pm

    Theo needs to trash veritek and spend more money on bay. if he doesn’t do this, he needs to find a big bat. this crazy idea of shifting ellsbury to left field will not work in 100 years. offer bay a 4 year, 18 million contract.

  12. Jeff Mills permalink
    October 27, 2009 7:55 pm

    I was reading something the other day on the Internet that said that Boston might explore trading Papelbon for a big bat. That is ludicrous. First of all, I don’t think it’s true. Second, who would they get? Manny might be available, but I’d say that I have a better shot of winning the lottery than Manny ever patrolling left field as a Red Sox again. They should re-sign Jason Bay.

  13. SoxBeers permalink
    October 27, 2009 8:07 pm

    RISP is close but it measures the batting average not the # of guys they knocked in. If I had to make a guess, I would say Nick Green would have fit that category even if he got more playing time. I could be completely wrong with that, oh well.

  14. John permalink
    October 28, 2009 8:58 am

    The RBI argument can go on forever. One of the most annoying issues with JD 4-3 is his insistance on pulling every pitch he sees thereby hitting weak ground balls to second base. he refuses to go to left field thereby killing many rallies, i.e. double plays.

  15. Mat permalink
    October 28, 2009 1:45 pm

    I had the chance to meet an old time scout named Dave Kosher back in the late 80’s and he told me two things about signing players. First: if a pitcher can’t get to the 7th inning of a ball game he ain’t worth squat. Second, a position player can have all the tools in the world but if he can’t play everyday what good is he. The pitcher has a bad day and doesn’t have his A game. Too bad, time to be a pitcher (thinker) not a thrower. If a postition player doesn’t have the TRUE GRIT to play everyday even when he isn’t 100% he then lacks the intangibles that he will need to be a quality big league player. We always talk about the guys from years past that seem to be able to rise to the occasion. Yaz in his later years had such bad ankles he could barely walk around his car to fill the tank. Willis Reed coming back out of the locker room with a blown out knee to finish the game and championship. Hacksaw Reynolds playing with a broken leg! Gibson playing with a torn up knee! I think I make my point. The game is played by MEN and the rest should get out of the way! You don’t see or hear of Lowell, Pedroia or Youk asking for a day off because of a bump, bruise or a hip that has no hop. Most of the guys that make it to the big leagues have forgotten how they got there. They forgot about the days in the cage with bleeding hands caused by blisters from so many swings. Pitchers forgot about going one more inning with a sore shoulder or dead arm to help there team get another win. With fewer teams the competition to make a lineup will be more in line with getting guys like JD Drew off the bench with a tight hammy and play through it. Give me a team with TRUE GRIT players like Cobb, Rose, Youk, Lowell and Pedroia along with Shilling, Timlin, Wake and the like and I will will win more World Series than with a more talented team that lacks HEART. Lastly, you didn’t hear Ted Williams or Yogi complain about there time they spent fighting a war in their prime. They were proud to do it and they appreciated the game a great deal more for it.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

38 Pitches

Curt Schilling's Official Blog

%d bloggers like this: