Boston Red Sox: J.D. Drew Coming Around

Andrew SilvaCorrespondent IJune 5, 2008

J.D. Drew is known by most Red Sox fans as a huge bust for the money he was paid during the winter leading up to the 2007 season. A player who has seemed to make his reputation based on what he could do as opposed to what he has done.

Drew was signed by Theo Epstein for five years and a total of 75 million dollars.  A contract like that usually entails a season of high totals in home runs and RBI for a position player or ace type numbers for a pitcher. 

J.D. Drew finished the season last year with a .270 batting average, 11 home runs, and 64 RBI. Obviously, he left much to be desired to the Red Sox organization and the Fenway Faithful. 

Personally, I like J.D. Drew. He appears to keep an even keel through the ups and downs of the season and, from what I can tell, does not cause trouble in the clubhouse. He also plays a very serviceable defensive right field. 

However, with his terrible season last year (at least from what his contract would dictate) many Sox fans saw him as merely a guy who happened to play well in a contract year, like many players do, and cashed in. 

In retrospect, I believe there is more to Drew's poor numbers than mere complacency. With his baby boy Jack suffering from a very serious illness and the infamous intense pressure of playing in Boston, I feel Drew was simply overwhelmed. 

All baseball fans know the delicate psyche baseball players have with their endless routines and superstitions. Maybe Drew was simply thrown off mentally.  If I was him and my son was severely ill and I had the Boston media and fans constantly down my throat, I too would have had an off year. 

Fortunately for us Sox fans, it seems Drew was not content with last season either. 

Currently sitting on a .301 batting average and six home runs (over half of last year's total), it seems J.D. Drew is starting to play to the potential Boston wanted last year.

With David Ortiz now out for at least a month, Drew's play is becoming even more crucial. Batting third last night, (Ortiz's spot) he went 2 for 3 with a double, a run batted in, and a stolen base. 

Over the last five games he is 7-13 with two doubles two home runs and five runs batted in. He is also still playing excellent defense, saving two or three extra base hits with excellent running catches in right field.

He even has won over the ever notorious Boston Media with the Boston Globe calling him "a five-tool player with an uncanny batting eye, a swing sweeter than butter, and long, measured strides that eat up great chunks of real estate, whether running the bases or tracking down fly balls." [6] 

Though he is having an excellent year no one can predict what Drew will do for the rest of the season. For all we know, he may simply be in a nice little hot streak and will go back to his 2007 form.

I will remain optimistic though. 

As I previously stated, I am a fan of J.D. Drew and hope he continues to live up to his potential and fill in for Ortiz in the Boston lineup. For too long he has been considered merely a talented player and now it is his chance to live up to that talent.