Curt Joins the J.D. Drew Discussion
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.
Alex Katz: The Misinterpreted J.D. Drew
Alex Speier: The Market for Jason Bay