2011 Arizona Diamondbacks Player Evaluations: Stephen Drew
Injuries were story of the 2011 season for Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew. After playing at least 135 games for four straight seasons, Drew came no where close to that mark in 2011.
The Diamondbacks shortstop missed the first four games of the season due to abdominal pain that he suffered during spring training. Drew then had a season-ending injury when he slid into home plate and collided with Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy on July 20. You knew immediately that Drew had a gruesome ankle injury that was going to keep him out for the rest of the year.
That indeed ended up being the case, but that wasn’t the end of Drew’s injury issues. About a month ago, Drew had surgery for a sports hernia problem. The 28-year-old has yet to run or perform any baseball activities and some question whether he will be ready for the start of the 2012 campaign.
Arizona has plenty of depth at shortstop just in case Drew isn’t ready for the start of the year. The Diamondbacks front office has already signed both John McDonald and Willie Bloomquist to be backups to Drew. There is an obvious drop off in terms of offense between the two if Drew is out for awhile, but both guys proved they can step in and do an adequate enough job.
When the former Florida State Seminole was playing, things were a struggle for Drew in 2011. Because of playing in only 86 games, Drew tied a career low in home runs and had his second lowest total in RBI’s as well as batting average and on-base percentage.
After a career year in 2008 in which he hit .291 with a career high 21 long balls and 67 RBI’s, many fans thought Drew was going to take that next step and become one of the best shortstops in the game. That hasn’t been the case though. Drew has remained one of the best defensive players at his position in the game, but his offensive production has dropped off considerably since 2008.
He has come no where near his home run or doubles totals from 2008. The best Drew has done is 15 in the home run department in 2010 and 33 doubles that same season. Could it be that Drew’s 2008 season was just a fluke? It could very well be.
Whenever he gains full health, 2012 is going to be a huge year for Drew. He is scheduled to make $7.75 million and Arizona has to decide whether or not to pick up his club option for $10 million in 2013. If Drew struggles and doesn’t prove he is healthy, it isn’t out of the realm of possibilities that Arizona won’t pick up his option and decide to go in a different direction at short.
Hopefully Drew gets back to full health and has a big 2012 season, so we won’t even have to have that discussion. A healthy Drew will make the Diamondbacks offense that much more lethal as well as shore up the left side of the infield defensively.