Another article by John Erardi in today’s Enquirer. The article is an interesting description of Stubbs ’10 season, his progress, and the sabermetric theory on “strikeouts and making contacts.” Some highlights:
The last two months were a coming out party for Stubbs and Bruce. From August 1st on, Stubbs hit .308, got on base at a near .400 clip, hit 9 home runs and stole 12 bases in 197 plate appearances. Bruce was even better (.338/.418/.699, with 15 HR in 153 plate appearances).
Having gotten a taste of the big leagues and champagne, Stubbs doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to return now to the just-make-contact mentality that produced a .364 on-base percentage in the minors, but quashed his power to only 28 home runs in 1,847 plate appearances.
Earlier in the article, he mentions that the emergence of Stubbs and Bruce in the second half carried the offense when Rolen and Gomes tailed off.
The statistics bear him out. Last year, he was rated the sixth-best Ã¢â‚¬Å“speed-and-powerÃ¢â‚¬Â guy in baseball, behind only Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Young, Carl Crawford, Alexis Rios and Hanley Ramirez. The next four in the Top Ten after Stubbs were B.J. Upton, Shane Victorino, David Wright and Matt Kemp.
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a pretty good group of ballplayers.
And who do you think led that group with the most bunts for hits? Stubbs, with four. Only one of the other speed-and-power guys had three bunts for hits (Carl Crawford), and three of them had none.
John doesn’t explain what makes up the “speed and power” rating…but that is a pretty good group of players.
And for those that say he strikes out too much, but say he turned his season around in the second half?
And, interestingly, all of StubbsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ production in the seasonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s final two months came with a strikeout ratio similar to the ratio he had the first four months.
John then goes on to describe and explain what he calls the “cardinal rule of baseball offense”:
What kills an offense is not strikeouts, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s almost any kind of out.
Stubbs struck out a team-high 168 times last year; Bruce, 136, Joey Votto, 125, and Jonny Gomes 123. Brandon Phillips struck out only 83.
But hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why Ã¢â‚¬Å“making contactÃ¢â‚¬Â can be so deceptive:
Despite having twice as many strikeouts as Phillips, Stubbs did a better job of Ã¢â‚¬Å“getting on base plus sluggingÃ¢â‚¬Â than Phillips did. And even though Phillips had a batting average that was 20 points higher than Stubbs, Stubbs had a better OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) because he walked nine more times and hit four more home runs (in 100 fewer plate appearances). Stubbs also grounded into 8 fewer double plays.
The point: Pay attention to how many outs a guy makes, regardless of how he makes them. Strikeouts arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t all that big of a deal, especially when a guy does so many other things well.
Besides, players tend to strike out a little less the more plate experience they gain. Judging by the mixed results of players trying to strike out less, and judging by StubbsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ already general excellence in every other phase of the game, the Reds would do well to eschew the Ã¢â‚¬Å“cutdown on the strikeoutsÃ¢â‚¬Â theme with the man from Texarkana.
But how does our friend, Mr. Baker feel, at least according to John:
Conventional wisdom is that Stubbs is more likely to be part of the solution to the run-production issue than the leadoff issue, if only because Baker would like to see him make more frequent contact
I have no problem with Stubbs as the run-production answer, but as with lots of other things concerning Dusty, it concerns me that his belief system is so “old school”.
And what does Rob Neyer think of Drew Stubbs?
Neyer says the key is to evaluate the total player, as opposed to focusing on what a player canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“(Stubbs) does everything well,Ã¢â‚¬Â Neyer said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He plays good defense, runs well, is a league-average hitter — maybe a little better — and draws some walks. The only thing he doesn’t do well is avoid strikeouts. It seems silly to pick the one thing he doesn’t do well and have that be the overarching (descriptor) of him, when he does five other things really well. Not only does he steal a high percentage of bases, he is really good Ã¢â‚¬â€œ one of the best — at taking the extra base.Ã¢â‚¬Â