Sunday, May 29, 2011

Is it time to compare DJ Werd and Tort Noxin?

Keeping up the Earl theme, besides having a more AWESOME backwords name than Trot Nixon, JD Drew may actually be a better RF for the Red Sox. Or not.

Trot obviously had a much longer career with the Sox and even the untrained eye can see that he put up more impressive offensive numbers during his time guarding pesky's pole. In contrast, we all waited an entire season for JD Drew to get a "hit". Fortunately, for him and for us that came in the form of a pretty clutch grand slam against Cleveland.

Obviously, there are a lot of ways to skin this cat and none is perfect. After doing some looking I finally settled on WAR (wins above replacement) for one simple reason, it combines offense and defense. The other aspect of WAR that was appealing is that it is a direct comparison in that it compares the value of each player over a "replacement".

Finally, how to adjust for the fact that Trot patrolled RF for the Sox for 10 years and Drew is just in his 5th? I think the only way to do this is to take the best 4 consecutive years of Trot's career and compare them to Drew. With that in mind and the simple fact that Drew was apart of the 2007 World Series Champions, we have to pick the best 4 years around 2004 for Trot, otherwise Drew will have the only stat that really matters: "winning," as Charlie Sheen would say.

So with that in mind here are the numbers:
Trot 2002-2005: 2.8, 4.9, 1.1 WS Champs, 3.7 (total 12.5)
Drew 2007-2010: 1.9 WS Champs, 4.1, 5.0. 2.5 (total 13.5)

Ok so that's settled. Or not. Drew was hurt in 2004, which pretty much makes up the difference between them. If you substitute 2001 (3.5 WAR) or 2006 (1.8) for Trot's 2004 season this would be a different story. They would either be the same value or Trot would be more valuable.

Of course we should consider the cost. One can argue that the lower costing Trot allowed the Sox to spend more on other players. However, by the time Drew was signed the Sox weren't exactly cutting corners on their budget. That being said the facts are that Drew cost $56 million over those 4 years while Trot a mere $18.7 million. Again this might have more to do with the fact that home grown talent is ALWAYS cheaper than free agent signing.

So there you have it, or not. Maybe it comes down to the fact that DJ Werd might just be one of the best backwards names ever to play for the Sox. but Tort Noxin does have a nice ring to it.


  1. You know what is kind of funny. When I saw the post (aside from the chuckle on the name), I immediately thought that this was going to be one of the those – over in two seconds arguments. And probably not in the way that you think. I think Drew is way better than Nixon. And, the numbers pretty much back that up. The 13.5 to 12. 5 basically tells us all we know. And that is with some cherry picking on the best years. And if you try to go the route of cherry picking away the season where trot was injured that is just rigging the numbers. We could do the same with Drew – exclude 2007 because it was his first year in boston, he was getting acclimated and, oh yeah by the way, he didn’t really hurt his team. In fact as you point out, the GS was soo clutch. So take away 07 and his three year total is 11.6 whereas Trot’s best three year total is 9.7.

    Agree 100% that the $$$ is a big difference. But I consider two things with that. Once the contract is signed, nothing you can do about it. And did his $70 contract really affect the team’s ability to go out and get the best player available? Since 2007, the only time the Sox lost a player over money was (supposedly) Teixeira. But in his press conference he claimed he wanted to be a Yankee all along. So the Drew money is a non issue. And if you dig deeper in fan graphs, he has been “worth” $58.5MM over the first four years, while getting paid $56MM. So sure Tort was better value in those years, but as Dino points out, that has more to do with him being a home grown player with artificially controlled salaries.

    I think Drew gets a bad rap because, well, because he is not Trot. He doesn’t get pissed off when he Ks. He is kind of like a robot. Same demeanor all the time. But he is solid. In over 4 years, you would be hard pressed to remember him making a mistake on the basepaths or misplaying a ball in the OF. He is far above average in both. He has averaged 140 games Sox (which was about his career high heading into Boston.) Sure he misses games, but not as many as we thought he would when he signed. He doesn’t get dirty. And while the numbers here no matter how you slice them, show Drew is better – you would be hard pressed to get too many people in Boston to admit it. Hell, they would barely even admit that its close.

  2. X, I was thinking about the injury year last night as well. If you actually look at it, Drew has missed 110 games in the 4 years I used for the analysis. Trot missed 120 in 2004 and another 80 over the other 3 seasons. In some respects, it begs the question, perhaps Drew was less "fragile" than Nixon. Certainly, this raises the taboo subject of performance enhancing drugs. Clearly, Trot was on the Sox short list of players that needed to clean up their game (in my opinion).