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Stephen Drew Recovery Could Be Diamondbacks X-Factor

Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew did not have a great year at the plate in 2011. He was only hitting .252 and did not provide the power that he typically has done on the past. His defense, though, was superb. When he went down for the season with a broken ankle, the team surprisingly took off as Willie Bloomquist provided a little more at the plate. No one, though, thought that without Drew's glove in the middle of the infield the team would be able to win the division.

He is not quite sure if he will be ready on Opening Day, as not only is he recovering from the ankle injury, but he also had surgery for a sports hernia in the offseason. However, while some might believe that with the team's late success, that the team is better without him, don't believe that for a minute.

There is reason to be optimistic if Drew is healthy.

Drew, since coming into the league, has been fairly consistent in the fact that he alternates good offensive years with a year of struggling at the plate.

Here is his career stat line:

SEASON TEAM GP AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
2006 59 209 27 66 13 7 5 23 14 50 2 0 .316 .357 .517 .874
2007 150 543 60 129 28 4 12 60 60 100 9 0 .238 .313 .370 .683
2008 152 611 91 178 44 11 21 67 41 109 3 3 .291 .333 .502 .835
2009 135 533 71 139 29 12 12 65 49 87 5 1 .261 .320 .428 .748
2010 151 565 83 157 33 12 15 61 62 108 10 5 .278 .352 .458 .810
2011 86 321 44 81 21 5 5 45 30 74 4 4 .252 .317 .396 .713

You will notice the OPS. Every year he has one less than .750, the next season is followed with an increase of at least 60 points and an overall OPS of .810.

He contrasts are not a stark as former pitcher Bret Saberhagen's were back in the 80s, but Diamondbacks fans should be able to expect, based on his history, greater offensive output from Drew in 2011.

His glove is always going to be top notch. If you add a batting threat to that, the Arizona lineup will look pretty good.

Drew is one of the team's players to watch. Just wait and see.

Talk more D'Backs over at Arizona Snakepit

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