Drew Stubbs or Chris Dickerson? That is the question.

I have never been a fan of letting spring performance dictate roster decisions of this type. Stubbs and Dickerson have roughly 20 at-bats this spring; are we really going to make a decision based on 20 ABs? Seems silly.

That said, Stubbs was named CF heir-apparent in the off-season, and he hasn’t done anything to justify that since spring training started (before today, at least; he had an excellent game this afternoon). Dickerson, meanwhile, has been great. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the Reds decide that Stubbs isn’t ready, and hand the CF position over to Dickerson. Two things about that:

1. It wouldn’t be all bad. Dickerson isn’t a bad option. He’ll get on base a bit, and his centerfield defense is pretty darn good (even if it isn’t as good as what we’ll see from Stubbs). In fact, just forget the last twenty at-bats, and you can still make a good argument that Dickerson should be the starter.

2. If the Reds make a decision like this based on 20 at-bats, I have serious concern about the people in positions to make judgment calls with this organization. That’s a ridiculous way to run a business. If you think Stubbs is better, as the Reds have said for the last several months, how can 20 ABs change your mind?

I don’t have any problem at all with Chris Dickerson as the starting centerfielder and leadoff hitter for this team. I like the guy. Heck, I like Stubbs too, though I’ve never been completely sold on him. But the idea that the Reds would turn on a dime, based on a tiny sample size…well, that just rubs me the wrong way.

Okay, I’m glad to get that off my chest.

13 Responses

  1. TC

    For me, the real race is between Gomes and Stubbs. Gomes in RF, Stubbs in CF, Dickerson plays in the place of the looser. IMO Dickerson is the ONLY servicable lead off hitter, he needs to start somewhere.

    I strongly feel if Stubbs wins, Nix is out and I like Nix on this team. I like his ability to play any field and I like having a power lefty off the bench.

  2. TC

    @al: The competition is as a starter. If Stubbs doesn’t start he should go to Louisville.

  3. Chad Dotson

    Again, would you just say that every spot should be settled before spring based on previous stats?Then Dickerson would get the nod anyway.

    No, you take into account what they’ve done in the years and years and years of games before the spring. And I don’t think it’s clear at all that Dickerson would get the nod using that view (the argument can be made either way). Stubbs has done well in the minors, and is at an age where you can expect substantial improvement.

    The point is that there are a billion things to base the decision on (including the things you’ve mentioned); using spring stats is the dumbest one of those.

  4. Chad Dotson

    I got no problem with Nix really, but Stubbs was better last year and projects to be better this year if you buy into things like CHONE.

    Stubbs projects to be much worse this year if you buy into things like spring stats. 🙂

  5. Glenn

    This may be a case of if Stubbs doesn’t win the starting spot, he starts the season at AAA.

  6. Python Curtus

    Dickerson projects as a 4th outfielder no matter how you slice it. In 2 years he has proven that he belongs in the majors only. He has yet to prove he should be an evryday starter. He has talent but he cannot stay healthy. If the Reds are relying on him to get 400 ABs, they are already on shaky ground.
    As for Stubbs, he has superior speed and defense. It will be very important for the Reds to have someone who can steal at the top of the order. And considering they already sacrificed defense up the middle by choosing Cabrera over Janish, they will need a good fielder in center to round up all those balls Cabrera has let by

  7. TC

    @Python Curtus: You can’t ask a guy to steal when he can’t get on base. Everyone will agree on the health issue, but you’ve got to play your best player until he can’t play.

  8. RedBlooded

    Who says anyone with the Reds is making the decision today as to who starts in CF and LF for the Reds? Some hyperactive bloggers want to handicap the decision. That can be a little bit of fun but is essentially pointless at this stage. It will be what it will be after the other two thirds of spring training. I’m more interested in what it looks like then. If Dickerson stays hot and Stubbs is still struggling, then Stubbs can go to AAA and get his stroke. If Dickerson tails off and Stubbs heats up, Stubbs starts in CF and Dickerson probably platoons with Gomes. Either of those are very real possibilities plus a bunch of other scenarios. There is just no way to predict at this point which scenario will play out. And since you can’t predict it, everyone would be better off slowing down and letting it unfold. Exactly the same story with the 5th starter question.

  9. Chad Dotson

    I don’t believe the sample size is that small. 20 at bats?

    Ummm…okay. Look at their ages in those minor league numbers. Wasn’t Dickerson older than Stubbs at every single level?

    I don’t really care. I like both guys. I don’t care who starts.

    Mark, of course, thought Darnell McDonald deserved to make the Opening Day roster last year, so I’m not sure we should take your advice. 😉

  10. Chad Dotson

    @al: I don’t know if you’re missing the point on purpose, but I have an idea.

    First, I didn’t say all they were going to use was spring stats. You made that up. Don’t put words in my mouth. I said IF they use these spring stats to justify going back on a decision that they told us all off-season had been made (Stubbs is the CF), then it’s dumb. These are the same players they were at the beginning of spring training. Twenty AB’s is not a reason to completely reverse course. (And again, I’m not saying it’s wrong to reverse course; I don’t know who is better and a reasonable argument can be made either way).

    Forgive me if I don’t think decisions should be made based on who “looks better” in 20 ABs. Ridiculous way to make decisions.

    Finally, the fact that Stubbs was younger at every level is something that has to be taken into account when comparing their minor league numbers. It means he’s a better prospect and is likely to improve more than Dickerson. That doesn’t mean Dickerson shouldn’t start this year as the CF.

    Now, why don’t you get rid of that big fat straw man that you’ve constructed? I NEVER said that Stubbs should play over Dickerson. I’ve said that either one could be justified. You are putting words in my mouth again. Try reading what I wrote just once. You keep saying “it seems like” I’m arguing something. Try arguing against the actual points I’ve made.

    If you want to dispute something I actually said, let me know. If you want to be obtuse and argue against statements that were never made, I don’t have time.

  11. hoosierdad

    I love how CD gets on base at a nice clip. I am worried about his ability to stay healthy. He has only started 25 games in CF and played parts of 34 games in CF. In total, he has a total of just over 300 ABs. That’s not a lot of MLB experience for a guy that turns 28 in about 3 weeks. IF the REDS are counting on him alone to handle CF, that is a big mistake. Both CD and Stubbs have to make the roster. BTW, Stubbs has already started 15 more games in CF than CD!

  12. Greenie55

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out but I think it’s clearly Stubbs job to lose. Most baseball folks seem to think Stubbs is an elite centerfielder – that will come into play I think. I am not sure that Stubbs profiles as a lead-off hitter though.