Nick Cafardo calls the initial media reaction to J.D. DrewYoukilis, 1B
strange and unfair, to say the least. ... His critics will say they can't remember anything extraordinary he did last season, anything they felt singlehandedly won a game. They say he can't be the centerpiece of a lineup because sometimes he's too content to take a walk instead of trying to win the game on his own.FJM touched on one aspect of this silliness about a month ago. In a post entitled "New Stat Alert" about Bill Plaschke's explanation of why the Dodgers should be glad to be rid of Drew:
Plaschke: "Sure, he led the team with 100 runs batted in last season, but do you remember more than a handful of them?"In case Plaschke, who covers the Dodgers, is confused, Drew led the team in OBP, OPS, OPS+, doubles, extra-base hits, RBI, walks, tied for the lead in HR, and was 2nd in slugging, 2nd in runs scored, and 4th in hits. He also grounded into only 4 double plays, lowest among all regulars.
FJM: "We'll call it RBIR, for RBIs Remembered. Drew only had 5 (!) last year. What a lousy player. Jeff Francoeur led the league with 249 RBIR. (People remembered a lot of his RBIs two or three times.)"
He really has a great swing for Fenway Park. When he pulls the ball and elevates the ball, it will certainly reach the bullpen. He's got plus raw power. The big dimensions in right field and even center field won't be a problem for him. If you look at his hit chart, those balls get out.Dave Jauss, Drew's outfield coach in LA:
He's an excellent outfielder. He's got very good speed. He can score from first on a double and definitely score from second on a single. The fact he doesn't pull the ball is going to make him an effective hitter at Fenway. Not so much for the wall but for the fact on those cold days there, he's going to be able to go the other way and contribute as a hitter.Tito Talks:
[Matsuzaka's] got a lot of pitches that he commands. He's got velocity on the fastball, he's got two breaking balls, he can elevate the fastball, but I think the thing that I've noticed that I like the best is the ability to throw a changeup any time it counts. It is kind of an old-fashioned screwball which you don't see too much anymore.Francona also talks about Manny, who will catch Wakefield, Timlin, Varitek and Pedroia. ... Pitching coach John Farrell is brushing up on his Japanese.
Four or five teams, including the Red Sox, are asking about Eric Gagne, who has pitched only 15 innings in the last two seasons.