Poor Stephen Drew has had a rough year. During spring training, he competed as the frontrunner for the vacant second base job but had virtually no fan support behind him. Since winning the job out of camp, fans have mercilessly called for his head. There was much rejoicing at the thought of Jose Pirela or Rob Refsnyder taking over at second when they were called up around mid-season. Through it all, Drew stuck around like the family dog, taking up space in the lineup nearly every day.
The fact remains, though, that Drew has struggled mightily this season as partially evidenced by his batting average, which has yet to hit the .200 mark at any point. Not only does this failure draw the ire of Yankee fans everywhere, but it also puts him in danger of setting the kind of record that you don't want to tell your grandchildren about. If he logs another 164 plate appearances, a very attainable number, he has a shot at putting up the worst batting average in Yankees history for a player that qualified for the batting title (3.1 plate appearances per team game). For context, here are the 10 lowest marks in franchise history along with Drew's season to date (data obtained from FanGraphs through Friday night's game).
The players on this list fall into two distinct groups. One group is comprised of infielders whose low averages were tolerated because they could provide value with their glove. Clete Boyer and the Yankees' reigning batting anti-champion Frank Crosetti's seasons above fall into this category even though they were anomalies in otherwise solid offensive careers. Bob Meacham is something of a prototype for this kind of player.
The other group includes players that counterbalanced their low averages with a high walk rate and enough power to be considered at the very least useful at the plate. Tom Tresh found himself in this situation twice in back to back years as his career wound down in the late 1960's. Just last year, Mark Teixeira had the fifth worst average in team history while recovering from his wrist injury but still managed to be an average offensive contributor. Following his phenomenal rookie season, Kevin Maas' average plummeted while his overall production fell to merely average. That was enough to seal him as a bust. Then there's Stephen Drew.
Drew obviously has the low batting average and has displayed his fair share of power this season, but his walk rate isn't high enough to justify his lack of hits a la Teixeira last year. He's also not providing the value with the glove that the other infielders on this list did in order to keep their place in the lineup. Should he receive the plate appearances to qualify, it would be embarrassing enough to take the crown from Crosetti. But even if he doesn't dip below that .194 mark, he'll likely be the least valuable player on this list. Essentially, he'll be this generation's version of Steve Balboni. Steve "Bye Bye" Drew just doesn't have the same ring to it.