The leadoff problem?
July 20, 2009 1 Comment
Some writers are making a big fuss over the poor performance of Red Sox leadoff hitters. J.D. Drew is not exactly distinguishing himself in the leadoff role, going 0-12 with just one walk since the All-Star Break. The six hitters that have been employed in that role this year have produced a composite line of .256/.306/.353, with that OBP ranking 13th in the AL. The top two AL teams in leadoff OBP this season have been Seattle (.399, mainly Ichiro Suzuki) and New York (.395, Derek Jeter). In contrast, the best OBP on the Red Sox belongs to Julio Lugo (.500 OBP in just three games), who we just DFA’d, and after him, only Jacoby Ellsbury at .320 even tops .300. How much of a problem is this, really?
Since being installed as the leadoff hitter on June 29th, Drew is hitting .185/.302/.426. You can’t argue with those numbers; yes, it is a problem. But you can argue with the sample size. Take out these last three games, and Drew’s line improves to .238/.360/.548 in that leadoff role going into the All-Star Break. I’ll take a .360 OBP from my leadoff man any day, and that slugging percentage is a nice bonus. Even with these last three miserable games, an overall 12.7% walk rate for a leadoff guy is not too shabby; pitchers tend to avoid walking the leadoff hitter because of who’s coming up. Drew is just in a small funk and should be just fine going forward.