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Sports of Boston is continuing its week-long preview of the Red Sox outfield with right fielder J.D. Drew.
J.D. Drew has had his share of ups and downs with the Red Sox. After a rocky 2007, Drew put up two great seasons in 2008 and 2009, hitting .280/.408/.519 and .279/.392/.522 respectively. However, just as Drew was really settling in, he had a down 2010, falling to a .255/.341/.452 line.
As the veteran of the starting three outfielders with youth not on his side, Drew is entering his age 35 season and may not be a candidate for a rebound, especially considering his hamstring may already be ailing him here in early February.
Drew’s Bill James projection for 2011 is just .255/.341/.452. That doesn’t mean all is lost. Drew’s BABIP was just .282 in 2010 and while James’ predictions show an increase to .305, his BABIP was .307 in 2008, a fine year for the right fielder.
The additions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, combined with full seasons of Dustin Pedroia Kevin Youkilis and Jacoby Ellsbury, even a continued decline by Drew could be offset somewhat.
Overall Drew has been a stalwart for the Red Sox appearing in 140, 109, 137 and 139 games in his first four years with Boston. As Drew enters what may be his final season in a Red Sox uniform, a lot of the pressure facing Drew when he joined the team – number five hitter, RBI machine, 20 home run expectation – have been lifted.
All Drew needs to do is work his on base magic and be a contributor to the team, not its star.