2004 MLB Draft Preview: SS, Stephen Drew

The 2004 MLB Amateur Draft will finally play itself out on Monday and prospects will start their professional careers. Much has been made public about the great pitching that will enter the draft this year and that it could be the deepest in that category in the history of the event. However, there are plenty of good position players waiting to be taken in the high slots. One of these players is FSU shortstop Stephen Drew.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Stephen Drew
DOB: March 16, 1983
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 193
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Place of Residence: Hahira, Georgia
College: Florida State University

Much has been said of the day that Stephen Drew could and very well should be drafted in the first round of the 2004 MLB Amateur Draft. If so, he will become the third of his three brothers to do so to go along with Tim and J.D. Drew. Stephen Drew is highly touted as perhaps the best position player in this year's draft could go as high as third overall in the first round out of Florida State University. However, there have been some recent questions about his attitude, work ethic and his frequent injuries that plague him much like his brother J.D. But, there is no doubt that either way, there is tremendous talent in this Seminoles junior and that he could possibly be a star one day on the Major League level.

Stephen Drew has had to deal with stardom ever since high school and has been hyped ever since his two older brothers were drafted only seven years before him. "I learned a lot from being around him and the other guys," Drew told MLB.com. "I just watched the games and saw how they were played. I saw how guys at that level go about their business and do it day after day." Drew did pick up a lot from his brothers. In fact, in his senior year at Lowndes High School back in 2001, Drew was named All-State MVP and prior to his senior year he was named a preseason All-American. He also led his team to a State Championship as a junior as well. So, considering this resume, it is easy to say that stardom has followed Drew from a very early age. From that point, Drew could have very easily made the choice to go for the pros and get drafted by a Major League team. However, he chose to pursue a college career at Florida State with the Seminoles. Most scouts figured at this point that college may be the right choice so that Drew could refine his fantastic but still raw skills.

Stephen Drew did not disappoint is his first season as a Seminole and at the end of his rookie campaign, he was named the ACC Rookie of the Year while also being named MVP of the ACC Tournament. He had staggering statistics in his first season, posting an ACC fifth best .402 batting average, third with his .750 slugging percentage and was second on the Seminoles with his 16 home runs. The home runs are what started to really turned the MLB scouts in that he could be a part of the newest power hitting shortstop generation. Hitting Coach at Florida State University, Mike Martin had to say this about Drew's power stroke. "He has a lot of movement and rhythm to his swing, and that makes it a lot of work to maintain," Martin said. "But at the same time it generates a lot of bat speed for him." After putting scouts in a state of awe during his first college campaign, Drew was primed to put up an even better showing as a sophomore oat FSU. For the second straight season, he was name All-ACC shortstop. Stephen Drew also was in the top ten in the ACC in stolen bases (33), walks (47), slugging percentage (.582), hits (86) and on-base percentage (.435). It appeared now that Drew was preparing for the pros and the the next season in his college career would likely be his final one.

In this 2004 season, Stephen Drew's senior season at Florida State, Drew had all of his skills finally together and was ready for monster season. To the delight of scouts, he did just that. He posted a .358 batting with an amazing .692 slugging percentage and an unbelievable .469 OBP that would make the "Moneyball" teams salivate. He provided an excellent amount of power with 14 home runs and 14 doubles including 139 total bases. Drew also added 9 stolen bases and scouts feel that in the future more so than now, that will be yet another very important dimension for him. "I think his speed is something people often overlook," said hitting coach, Mike Martin. "I think he could be a .300 hitter with 15 to 20 home runs in the big leagues, but he could also steal 35-40 bases." So the question still stands, will Drew be utilized as a leadoff type of hitter or as a run producer. Here is what he had to say in an interview with MLB.com. "It depends on who I get drafted by," he said. "You never know what your role will be. I could be a leadoff hitter or hit further down in the order. When I get there I'll see what happens." With the confidence that he will be in the big leagues sometime in his future, it doesn't really seem to matter what role Drew will find himself in.

Many people around the situation seem to think Stephen Drew's perceived attitude has become a problem with his draft prospect status. It has happened often where coaches of him claim that his sometimes business-like approach has some people thinking that it is too much of a care free attitude. His hitting coach at FSU tends to disagree with that. "They don't know him," said Martin. "People say he's not friendly, but he is. He's just quiet. He's the way I wish more kids were these days. He's a levelheaded kid who has his priorities in order." Drew himself also had a comment on some people's sour opinion of him. "I'll just take things one day at a time," he said. "I'll be as nice as I can to the fans, and with the media. I think things will be fine. I'm a quiet guy, but if people are nice to me, I'm nice to them." Attitude or not, Drew is focused on himself as a ballplayer and the bright future that he could potentially have ahead of him.

Year

Team

AVG

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

R

BB

SO

SB

2002

Florida State

.402

204

82

15

4

16

54

64

20

30

13

2003

Florida State

.327

263

86

18

8

11

59

83

47

22

33

2004

Florida State

.353

207

71

14

6

14

52

62

41

38

9


* Stats as of 5/31

Batting and Power. As a whole, Stephen Drew is as a polished as they come at the plate. He is able to make consistent contact and has very low strikeout totals. Like he is in ever facet of the game, Drew is instinctively unmatched at the plate. Has a decent batting eye and is able to hit the ball to all fields with plenty of pop. He hits with an open stance and is very quick to the ball. Ball explodes off his bat. Has a quick and very compact stroke that can produce tons of power. Has the power to hit up to 20 home runs per season depending on what role he will be inserted into in the lineup.

Base Running and Speed. Stephen Drew is a huge threat to steal bases and uses his speed to create good range at shortstop as well. Drew has the potential to be the type of player with leadoff hitting capabilities with his speed. He could also be a player that could steal over 30 bases as a Major League player. Gets a good jump off the bases and is a threat at all times. Has excellent natural instincts on the bases and is smart player on the bases with or without his speed. Has only been thrown out five times in 51 attempts over the span of his college career.

Defense. Defense is not the key or the strongest point of Stephen Drew's game but it is not a weak spot either. Overall, Drew is a well rounded ballplayer and does a solid job at the shortstop position. Has good range with a decent arm. Makes the routine plays, rarely making simple plays into errors. Will make all the plays and some rangy plays as well. Makes a lot of plays look easy and goes about it in a business-like manner. Occasionally is too smooth and will make a fair share of errors. Dependable defensively.

Projection. Scouts have a pretty good idea of what they will be getting out of Stephen Drew but most likely the only thing to stand in his way would be his seemingly looming injury problems. Barring these injuries, Drew projects to be a .300 major league hitter with around 20 home runs per season. Also, he is a possible 20-20 candidate with his base stealing abilities. Most likely, his future lies as not a middle of the order type of hitter, but as a number two or leadoff hitter in the lineup.

Comparison. Jose Vidro. Minus the switch hitting abilities and different position (2b) of Jose Vidro, these two are highly similar players. Both are right around six feet tall and are just a shade under 200 pounds. Vidro and Drew have a short, quick compact stroke from the left side of the plate with Drew having more power hitting abilities.

Draft Possibilities. Despite the fact that sources claim that some teams have been soured with Drew's frequent injuries and his sometimes questioned on-field attitude, there is still no doubt that he will be a first rounder. How high? How about the top pick in the draft? Padres General Manager Kevin Towers had considered him before opting for a player they knew they could sign and get playing summer ball on time. Now it is unclear how far he falls. Teams interested are the Cardinals and Yankees.

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