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December 19, 2013

Hot Stove Scouting Report

Stephen Drew

by Josh Herzenberg


Player Name: Stephen Drew

Date Filed: 12/15/13

Throws

Bats

Primary Pos

Secondary Pos

R

L

SS

N/A

Swing Breakdown

Open stance, weight shifted heavily on back leg. Hands held high above head, high back elbow. Slight leg lift into a closed stride, loads hands forward and bat points directly upwards upon front foot strike. Hand positioning upon load causes excess movement through point of contact, creating a long swing. Smooth through the zone, level bat plane yields a lot of line drives. Two-handed finish above right shoulder. Hips have a tendency to open up slightly early.

Approach

Drew is a fairly patient hitter, generally going deep into counts. Looks to pull the ball, is especially aggressive against fastballs up in the zone. Seems to struggle with off-speed pitch recognition within the strike zone. Targets balls up and over the plate, good fastball hitter.

Makeup

Despite some public criticism about attitude, I have not heard any accounts of clubhouse concerns about Stephen, as he has been described as a fun-loving, stable force amongst teammates. Drew comes from a baseball family, being one-third of the only trio of brothers to ever all be first-round draft picks (brothers J.D. and Tim), and therefore has been around a major-league clubhouse since an early age.

Breakdown of Tools

Hit Tool

Grade

45

Drew is a good hitter against RHP and struggles significantly against LHP. In 2013, he struck out nearly as many times against LHPs as he did against RHPs, in almost half the PAs. Drew is a good gap hitter against RHPs, especially against FBs high in the zone that he is able to pull.

Power

Grade

5

Drew possesses average power to both gaps and has good trajectory off the bat. Power plays up to pull side. Tendency to fall into hot and cold streaks with power, will bunch together extra-base hits. This could be due to pitcher handedness or a comfort in swing plane. Power plays up significantly against pitches up in the zone.

Speed

Grade

45

A below-average runner whose abilities play up due to awareness on the bases and good instincts. Drew is not a consistent stolen base threat but is not a station-to-station runner.

Defense

Grade

65

Drew is a plus-plus defensive shortstop. Possesses good actions, soft hands and quick feet. Positions himself very well and eliminates tough hops based on good judgment. Good hands and feet around the bag, very good double play turning mechanics and abilities. Excellent awareness of the field and good instincts uptick overall defensive package.

Arm

Grade

6

Drew possesses a strong arm. Shows very good carry from the hole and outstanding body control when throwing. Very accurate arm on all throws, quick release and proper mechanics while throwing.

Batting Trends

Date Range: 2013 Season

Splits

vs. LHP

vs. RHP

Batted Ball Percentage

Batted Ball Percentage

GB

LD

FB

GB

LD

FB

34.7%

17.8%

47.5%

32.6%

28.5%

38.9%

Chase Percentage (Out of Strike Zone Swings)

Chase Percentage (Out of Strike Zone Swings)

FB (4/2/SNK)

CB/SL

CH/SPLT

FB (4/2/SNK)

CB/SL

CH/SPLT

24.72%

31.85%

38.46%

22.43%

25.91%

36.57%

Swing/Miss Percentage

Swing/Miss Percentage

FB (4/2/SNK)

CB/SL

CH/SPLT

FB (4/2/SNK)

CB/SL

CH/SPLT

6.27%

21.00%

31.82%

4.88%

9.18%

15.51%

Grades and Projections

Role

Present

Future

55- Defense-first shortstop, average hitter with platoon split

Drew is a very good defensive shortstop and an average hitter who especially struggles against LHPs. Drew’s value lies in the ability to hit RHPs (which he will face the majority of the time) and his defensive prowess. Drew is fairly young and healthy and shouldn’t diminish in value as he ages due to his present skillset and high baseball IQ.

Years expected to perform at current level: 3-4

Strengths

Drew seeks fastballs up and over the plate and will hit those pitches hard on a regular basis. He is a patient hitter who is willing to work a deep count regularly. Drew is an above-average hitter against RHPs, with good pull-side gap power and a consistent contact rate.

Weaknesses

Drew is the victim of a significant platoon split, to the point where a manager would most likely be forced to make a decision about a late inning pinch-hitter. Drew struggles with pitches down against both RHPs and LHPs, and has extreme difficulty with left-handed breaking pitches down and away. Drew’s propensity to swing and miss at pitches down, as well as his platoon split, are factors on a daily basis.

Means of Exploitation

While pitching against Drew, the key is changing eye levels. His load is not quiet and therefore involves a lot of hand and head movement, which causes him to struggle with pitch recognition. Feeding Drew a steady dose of pitches down in the zone and off the plate--specifically breaking pitches--would behoove an opposing pitcher. From a managerial perspective, it would be a lot more beneficial to throw a LHP with a good breaking ball against Drew, as his performance is significantly hindered against such pitchers.

Conclusion

Much of Drew’s value rests on his defense, as he is one of the better shortstops in the game on that side of the ball. As a LHH, Drew is fortunate to see RHPs the majority of the time, against whom he is an above league average hitter and much better than he is against LHPs. A plus defensive shortstop with a solid-average left-handed bat is a very desirable commodity, and I believe Drew will be an everyday shortstop hitting toward the bottom of an order for the next several years.

Related Content:  Scouting

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