Thursday, March 29, 2018

And the 2018 “Stephen Drew Sucks Award” Goes To….

The 2018 season and the annual “Stephen Drew Sucks Award” given out here on The Greedy Pinstripes has a little bit of a different feel to it. Last year and in years past we have always given this award to not only one of the players on the roster that we expected to fall far below expectations, but we also prefaced the award presentation by stating that this player would receive far too much playing time than he deserved because of manager Joe Girardi’s insistence on playing a veteran over a rookie or young guy at all costs. With the hiring of new manager Aaron Boone I am not entirely sure anyone really knows what to expect going forward in terms of bullpen usage and how production will or will not dictate playing time. With that said we will simply have to use the thought process and prediction power that we clearly (and sarcastically) possess to predict, and subsequently award, the player we think that will most live up to the name, Stephen Drew Sucks. Congratulations, I think, go out to the newest member of the New York Yankees, Neil Walker.

Now before I get too far into this post I want to preface this by saying that after the news that Greg Bird would start the season on the disabled list and would miss six-to eight weeks (which in Greg Bird terminology means six-to-eight months) I felt pretty fortunate to have Walker on the team. The guy is a veteran than can play all over the field, literally, and is a player that was once thought of as a middle-of-the-order type hitter that signed for a measly $4 million plus incentives on a one-year deal. I am not terribly upset to have him for depth purposes, but it doesn’t mean I think he is going to excel here in 2018 either, and for more than a few reasons.

Walker is very injury prone and has been for quite some time now at the Major League level. Playing in the American League should only help him as he can potentially take “half days off” at the designated hitter position whenever necessary, but I still can’t bring myself to really feel confident that he can hold up over the course of a 162-game season. I won’t feel confident in that until he proves he can do it for a season or two, who could blame me?

Walker posted a combined 1.4 WAR in 2017 according to Baseball Reference, and that was playing every day with the New York Mets and the Milwaukee Brewers. Walker could conceivably see his playing time reduced in 2018, which would ultimately see his WAR and overall production numbers drop as well. It isn’t like a 1.4 WAR is all that great anyway, well unless you consider players like Manny Pina, Jordy Mercer, Evan Gattis, Rafael Devers and Cameron Maybin to name a few who all put up similar or close WAR’s in 2017 as well to be “great” players. At this point in his career Walker is just average, if even that, and he is line to take a huge step back, even if he stays healthy.

I am not meaning to talk bad about Walker, and again I am grateful for his presence on the team with the loss of Bird… I just can’t bring myself to be excited about him being here though. I usually have high hopes, but I picked Walker over players like Brandon Drury (who Bryan Van Dusen is not high on this upcoming season if you read his most recent post), Jacoby Ellsbury, CC Sabathia and others… so that should tell you something about how I feel about the prospect of having him in Pinstripes here in 2018. Prove me wrong, Neil, but if you do you have to give the award back. “Thems the rules”

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)