Stephen Drew (SS-ARI) – I was surprised to see that we hadn’t written about Drew since June 29, but the obvious reason is that he’s taken a step back this year. After batting .291/.333/.502 a year ago, Drew has dropped to .258/.321/.431 this year, an 83-point drop in OPS. Drew’s XBH/AB rate has taken a dive from 12.4% a year ago to 10.1% this season, which isn’t a huge drop, and he’s actually improved his EYE from 0.38 to 0.59 this season. The drop in AVG can be traced in part to a .289 BABIP, which is a drop from lste year’s .326, but perhaps there’s a human element to explain his performance, particularly Drew’s .232 AVG since the end of July. Drew’s wife had been dealing with a complicated pregnancy last month in which the couple thought the baby could be arriving several weeks early. No word on his in recent weeks, so we hope things are well with the Drew family, but it’s easy to forget that millionaire baseball players have everyday issues just like the rest of us.
Pat Misch (SP-NYM) – Misch entered Sunday’s game 1-4 with a 5.59 ERA coming off a game in which he allowed eight runs while retiring just four batters against Atlanta. So Misch of course comes out Sunday against Florida and tosses a complete-game shutout. Misch allowed eight hits and three walks while striking out three in improving to 2-4 and lowering his ERA to 4.71. With below average stuff and a 22:22 K:BB in 57.1 innings on the year, Misch is not advised next week against the Astros.
Chris Volstad (SP-FLA) – After opening with a 2.98 ERA in his first seven starts of 2009, Volstad was looking like he was ready to take his place alongside Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco as fixtures in the Florida rotation going forward. Since those seven starts however, Volstad has managed just a 5.99 ERA in 21 starts while averaging 5.1 innings per outing. Volstad has just a 6.2 K/9 in 81 minor league starts, so he’s not a dominant guy despite standing 6’8”, but he just turned 23 earlier this week and has time to add both muscle to his frame and velocity to his frame. I’m not nearly ready to write him off as a possible No. 3 starter, but it’s clear more physical development is needed.
Chris Young (OF-ARI) – Young was 1-for-4 with a walk on Sunday and is just 4-for-21 in his last five games, but he’s still likely done enough to be the overwhelming favorite to open as the D-backs’ starting CF next season. In September, Young is batting .267/.344/.523 in 86 at-bats with six homers and a 25:10 K:BB. The strikeouts are a bit much, but a 69.4% CT% is about what you can expect from Young and certain other unnamed Arizona starters. Arizona will certainly live with the strikeouts if it means an .867 OPS, though Young probably belongs further down in the order and could find himself in the bottom third next year if the D-backs can find a leadoff hitter, perhaps a second baseman. Still, it’s good to see the effort and attitude Young has put in this year in coming back from an awful start to the season.
James Loney (1B-LA) – Loney’s lack of power is as well documented as his sweet swing, discerning batting eye, and slick glove, but he’s having a nice September nonetheless. Not quite the nine-home September of 2007, but after two more hits Sunday, Loney is batting a solid .366/.448/.540 for the month and has duplicated last year’s 13 homers and 90 RBI with a week to go. It’s easy to see him reach 20 home runs as early as next season, though 30 seems a bit of a stretch. Of course I was saying