What do David Ortiz, Robinson Cano and Yoenis Cespedes have in common?
They are among the better hitters in baseball, yes. They also are three of the players who have hit fewer home runs than Stephen Drew, who despite a .188 average is third on the Yankees in homers with 11.
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The second baseman hit a pair of home runs in Sunday's 12-4 loss to the Tigers, marking his third multi-homer game in 17 days and continuing his June power surge. He has six home runs and a .267/.328/.617 slash line in 18 games this month.
"The ball's flowing my way a little bit,'' said Drew, who hit a career-high 21 homers for the Diamondbacks in 2008 and has 108 career homers. "I'm trying to get in good counts and just see the ball well and put good swings on it. This month's been pretty good for me.''
His June numbers are a significant improvement from his .157/.225/.301 slash line in April and May, but Drew said they are not a product of a drastic change in approach at the plate. He said he has been "just looking back on some video [and making] some minor adjustments here and there. It seems to be doing well for me.''
Despite a pedestrian batting average and on-base percentage (.254), Drew trails only Mark Teixeira (18) and Alex Rodriguez (14) for the team lead in homers.
"It's tough to figure out,'' manager Joe Girardi said. "He's swung the bat better than his numbers indicate, but it's really shown up only in the home runs. I think he's hit some balls hard and hasn't gotten hits.''
A look at publicly available batted-ball data seems to support Girardi's statement.
According to the stats website BaseballSavant.com, the ball has left Drew's bat with an average exit velocity of 85 mph, below the league average of 88 mph.
Drew, however, also has hit 32 balls with an exit velocity of 95 mph this year. Although the median batting average on such contact is .519, Drew is hitting only .344 on these balls in play.
Whatever is keeping his non-power numbers down, Drew said he is working "little by little'' to improve his overall performance.
"The season's not over, so I'm working hard at it,'' he said. "It seems to be coming along.''
Given his recent performance at the plate, it's hard to argue with him.