Shortstop News: Stephen Drew and Mike Aviles

After a particularly boring stretch, we actually have some shortstop news to report. Let’s start with what’s happening out in Arizona.

After coming off a very good 2010 season which saw him hit 15 home runs and steal 10 bases, Stephen Drew suffered a broken ankle in July, ending his 2011 campaign early. The 29-year-old had been hopeful for opening day but it’s now being reported that he’ll miss that target date, and no timetable has been set on his return. That leaves Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald in the backup roles.

Bloomquist started 57 games at shortstop last season after Drew went down. He actually had one useful month, July, in which he hit .316 with and slugged .405. However, after that he reverted back to being Willie Bloomquist, OPS-ing .615 and .618 in August and September. He’s a contact hitter (86% over the past three seasons) that strikes out too much (15.7%) and doesn’t walk enough (6.7%) to have any sustained fantasy value. His only redeeming quality is his ability to steal bases. He swiped 20 bags in 97 games last year, but was caught 10 times. It would take a total collapse from Bloomquist for McDonald to see the field. He’s in the majors solely because of his defensive abilities. He hasn’t posted an on base percentage above .300 since 2005.

As of last night Drew was the 12th shortstop being selected according to Mock Draft Central, ahead of players like Alexei Ramirez, Jhonny Peralta and Yunel Escobar. That’s sure to fall now, and you may be able to get good value on Drew in the later rounds or for a lower price at auction.

The Red Sox today named Mike Aviles their starting shortstop, ending whatever doubt the media may have let creep in over the past week. There were reports that new Manager Bobby Valentine and new General Manager Ben Cherington were divided on a few roster decisions, including the status of shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias, with the former wanting him to start over Aviles and the latter preferring he begin the season at Triple-A. Of course Valentine has denied the reports, even calling them “lazy journalism.” Starting Aviles is the right move. He’s experienced and has actually been very good on two occasions. If you’re a believer in such things, he’s been great in even numbered years, hitting .325 in 2008 and .304 in 2010. If healthy he’s capable of a double digit home run and stolen base season, and playing a whole year with that lineup in Fenway Park is sure to improve his other numbers as well. He may not crack the top 20 at his position come draft day in standard leagues, but should end up being a solid bench addition at this season.

As for Iglesias, despite what Bobby V may think, his bat isn’t major league ready. The 22-year-old put up a .260 wOBA in 387 Triple-A at bats in 2011. No matter how good his glove may be he needs to prove himself at Pawtucket before Cherington thinks of calling him up.

Erik writes for DraysBay and has also written for Bloomberg Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ehahmann.

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The amount of playing time that Aviles will receive is still in question. We don’t know how much Nick Punto is going to play.

Dan Greer
Dan Greer

If I had to bet, I would think Punto will start roughly 3 times a week, spelling Youkilis at 3rd once, and Aviles twice. Youk is constantly hurt and Aviles hasn’t been great versus RHP. That is in addition to any late-inning defensive substitutions, of course.

Can’t remember if they have another backup infielder on the roster though.