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View Full Version : Speedy Stubbs is key for 2011



Ron Madden
02-05-2011, 04:15 AM
Good stuff from one of my favorite Reds Beat-Writers of all-time John Erardi.

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20110204/SPT04/302040090?GID=q08HeAtnoO4FYhyVowKzqym7ZGmpMbHNeuUh 6kaI7ng%3D

Here's another very good piece from Erardi.

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20110203/COL19/302030109/1156/COL19/Erardi-What-s-not-to-like-about-2011-Reds-

.

GAC
02-05-2011, 04:55 AM
Good stuff from one of my favorite Reds Beat-Writers of all-time John Erardi.

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20110204/SPT04/302040090?GID=q08HeAtnoO4FYhyVowKzqym7ZGmpMbHNeuUh 6kaI7ng%3D

I really like Erardi too. Loved this from the article....


The point: Pay attention to how many outs a guy makes, regardless of how he makes them. Strikeouts aren’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 Stubbs’ already general excellence in every other phase of the game, the Reds would do well to eschew the “cutdown on the strikeouts” theme with the man from Texarkana.

Stubbs, as well as Bruce, have all the tools. What they lack, needs to gain, is experience. They both had their ups/downs and inconsistency at the ML level, and you're going to have that with youth/immaturity. Just be patient with these guys, and allow them to make those adjustments and get acclimated.

SunDeck
02-05-2011, 08:59 AM
I understand what Erardi is saying about strikeouts, but at the same time I don't understand why a player wouldn't be concerned with improving in that area. An out is an out, for sure, but a ball in play has a higher chance at being a man on base than a strikeout. And there is also a lot of value in being able to foul off a lot of balls, protecting the plate and making the pitcher throw as many pitches as possible.

Razor Shines
02-05-2011, 10:32 AM
I understand what Erardi is saying about strikeouts, but at the same time I don't understand why a player wouldn't be concerned with improving in that area. An out is an out, for sure, but a ball in play has a higher chance at being a man on base than a strikeout. And there is also a lot of value in being able to foul off a lot of balls, protecting the plate and making the pitcher throw as many pitches as possible.

Well it all depends on how they go about improving their strike out rate. What seems to happen often is guys tend to get more aggressive giving up some of their patience. They swing at more borderline strikes giving themselves up with weak outs. If you're trying to avoid the strike out then you do what you can to keep from getting to 2 strikes, even if that means swinging at some pitches that you shouldn't.

I agree with Erardi. If Stubbs improves his strike out rate it'll come from experience and it shouldn't come from changing his approach.

lollipopcurve
02-05-2011, 10:35 AM
Good piece from Erardi. The less people harp on Stubbs needing to bunt regularly, the better.

reds1869
02-05-2011, 10:44 AM
Erardi is the best. I had the chance to meet him this summer and I'm very glad I did!

Homer Bailey
02-05-2011, 10:52 AM
I've been a huge Stubbs fan ever since I saw him play for the first time. I'm really hoping to see him turn the corner this year and continue his progression, but for some reason I get the feeling he may regress slightly at the plate. That being said, I expect a lot more people to take notice of his defense this year.

reds1869
02-05-2011, 11:54 AM
If you want some entertainment, read the comments section where posters are ripping on Erardi and "stat geeks." They are foaming at the mouth over the suggestion that a strikeout is just another out. :)

OnBaseMachine
02-05-2011, 12:13 PM
That is a great article. Another excellent piece from John Erardi with some help from Joel Luckhaupt.

I really enjoyed watching Stubbs play last season. I was so glad to see the Reds stick with him through the struggles despite some screaming from fans to send him down. He's fun to watch at the plate and on the bases but I really enjoy watching him on defense. He gets great jumps and makes everything look easy out there. I remember quite a few times him tracking down a ball in the gap that I thought was an easy double or triple off the bat. You won't see him on very many highlight reels because he catches balls standing up that most other guys have to dive for.

In the Q&A, Stubbs says his favorite moment of the 2010 season was the Jay Bruce walk-off clinching home run. That moment may not have been possible if not for Stubbs' defense. If you may recall, he robbed Carlos Lee of a 2-run HR in straightaway CF earlier in that game.

I agree with the premise of the article. The Reds have a special talent in Stubbs. As early as this season I think we could see him develop into a 30/30 type of player (I think he'll eventually be a 40-50 stolen base guy).

edabbs44
02-05-2011, 01:43 PM
I've been a huge Stubbs fan ever since I saw him play for the first time. I'm really hoping to see him turn the corner this year and continue his progression, but for some reason I get the feeling he may regress slightly at the plate. That being said, I expect a lot more people to take notice of his defense this year.

It will be interesting to see Johnny Uzr's opinion of him this year.

dougdirt
02-05-2011, 01:47 PM
The comments of that article made my head explode. Some super glue has me back together, though I am looking a little cartoonish right now.

As far as strike out improvement goes, if you can do so without changing the strengths of your game, go for it. But if you pull an Adam Dunn and change your game while lowing your strikeouts, its not really a good idea. (He swung more both inside and outside the zone, made less contact and had a drastically lower OBP despite a drastically higher average (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/adam-dunns-changed-plate-approach/) - Fangraphs article from yesterady)

Again though, most of the criticism of Stubbs and players like him come from what Erardi talks about in the article.... people focusing on what guys can't do instead of what they can.

RedsManRick
02-05-2011, 02:52 PM
The comments of that article made my head explode. Some super glue has me back together, though I am looking a little cartoonish right now.

As far as strike out improvement goes, if you can do so without changing the strengths of your game, go for it. But if you pull an Adam Dunn and change your game while lowing your strikeouts, its not really a good idea. (He swung more both inside and outside the zone, made less contact and had a drastically lower OBP despite a drastically higher average (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/adam-dunns-changed-plate-approach/) - Fangraphs article from yesterady)

Again though, most of the criticism of Stubbs and players like him come from what Erardi talks about in the article.... people focusing on what guys can't do instead of what they can.

When people like to focus on strikeouts, I'd like to compare two guys and subtract out the things they both do -- then see which leftover stuff you'd rather have. People (everyone) struggle to weigh many things at once at the same time. The math of say "60 strikeouts vs. 80 ball-in-play outs and 10 double plays" is not easy to do in one's head. The strikeouts most likely are much less fun to watch and feel worse -- but many people confuse that with actual run production.

At least with Stubbs, the speed and defense will make him more exciting that Dunn was to watch. That should keep most of the saber-haters off his back.

I'd love to sit down with some of those commenters and just walk through things one simple step at a time. I've yet to see somebody take a hard close look at sabermetric basics and still dismiss it as ignorant to the "real game".

TheNext44
02-05-2011, 06:46 PM
I think that the whole K debate misses the real issue. Batting with two strikes.

Stubbs is terrible at it, hence the K's. If he just learned to be a better two strike hitter, meaning be smarter with two strikes and not be at complete mercy of the pitcher, he would be much more productive hitter overall.

NL Average slash line with two strikes:

.179/.245/.274

Stubbs:

.150/.235/.245

for comparison:

Bruce:

.172/.243/.340

Phillips:

.202/.260./.286

Gomes:

.152/.233/.280

Even Gomes is better at two strikes than Stubbs.

dougdirt
02-05-2011, 07:09 PM
I think that the whole K debate misses the real issue. Batting with two strikes.

Stubbs is terrible at it, hence the K's. If he just learned to be a better two strike hitter, meaning be smarter with two strikes and not be at complete mercy of the pitcher, he would be much more productive hitter overall.

NL Average slash line with two strikes:

.179/.245/.274

Stubbs:

.150/.235/.245

for comparison:

Bruce:

.172/.243/.340

Phillips:

.202/.260./.286

Gomes:

.152/.233/.280

Even Gomes is better at two strikes than Stubbs.

EVen looking at the numbers you posted, Stubbs really isn't all that much worse than average with two strikes on him. In 100 plate appearances, he fails to reach base one less time than the "average" player with two strikes on him. That means over a season we are talking about 3 or 4 hits. Is that really what is holding him back, 3 or 4 hits?

RedsManRick
02-05-2011, 07:31 PM
I think that the whole K debate misses the real issue. Batting with two strikes.

Stubbs is terrible at it, hence the K's. If he just learned to be a better two strike hitter, meaning be smarter with two strikes and not be at complete mercy of the pitcher, he would be much more productive hitter overall.


This is missing the point. Remember the whole conversation about Dunn learning to hit with two strikes? Learning to just make more contact? By and large, if guys could fix a part of their game without sacrificing something else, they would.

The point is that even with his troubles with 2 strikes (which every player who struggles with contact will have), he's a very productive player. Focusing disproportionately on his weaknesses, on what he could be if he were different, can make that hard to see.

TheNext44
02-05-2011, 07:52 PM
This is missing the point. Remember the whole conversation about Dunn learning to hit with two strikes? Learning to just make more contact? By and large, if guys could fix a part of their game without sacrificing something else, they would.

The point is that even with his troubles with 2 strikes (which every player who struggles with contact will have), he's a very productive player. Focusing disproportionately on his weaknesses, on what he could be if he were different, can make that hard to see.

I'm not talking about making more contact or K's at all. I just saying Stubbs needs to be a better hitter with two strikes. He can strike out all he wants, as long as his production with two strikes improves.

My opinion is that that is biggest difference between good hitters and great hitters. Great hitters know how to be productive with two strikes.

TheNext44
02-05-2011, 07:57 PM
EVen looking at the numbers you posted, Stubbs really isn't all that much worse than average with two strikes on him. In 100 plate appearances, he fails to reach base one less time than the "average" player with two strikes on him. That means over a season we are talking about 3 or 4 hits. Is that really what is holding him back, 3 or 4 hits?

NL league average includes everyone, pitchers, backup catchers and infielders... so a starting CF shouldn't shoot for it. Plus, once he establishes that he can be prodctive with two strikes, pitchers should approach him differently, which should improve his production in all counts.

Griffey012
02-06-2011, 02:19 AM
I think that the whole K debate misses the real issue. Batting with two strikes.

Stubbs is terrible at it, hence the K's. If he just learned to be a better two strike hitter, meaning be smarter with two strikes and not be at complete mercy of the pitcher, he would be much more productive hitter overall.

NL Average slash line with two strikes:

.179/.245/.274

Stubbs:

.150/.235/.245

for comparison:

Bruce:

.172/.243/.340

Phillips:

.202/.260./.286

Gomes:

.152/.233/.280

Even Gomes is better at two strikes than Stubbs.

Those are all Veterans, they should have better numbers than him( or in Bruce's case a guy with 1400 PA's.) That was Stubbs rookie year. I look for him to get a lot better in that department.

RedsManRick
02-06-2011, 12:17 PM
I'm not talking about making more contact or K's at all. I just saying Stubbs needs to be a better hitter with two strikes. He can strike out all he wants, as long as his production with two strikes improves.

My opinion is that that is biggest difference between good hitters and great hitters. Great hitters know how to be productive with two strikes.

My opinion is that there is no one "biggest difference" between good hitters and great ones, assuming you define greatness that by production. And if there is one thing that differentiates goodness from greatness, it is most certainly not a player's plate approach in a minority of his plate appearances.

While a batters' two-strike approach is certainly some part of what we would call his skill set, a player's ability to perform in any situation, regardless of approach, is highly dependent on his ability to do the most basic things at the plate: his vision, his hand/eye coordination, etc. Your approach does not change your fundamental skill set.

I think you are identifying an effect (what Stubbs is able to do with 2 strikes, given his skill set) and have labeled it a cause. Given Stubbs' difficulty making contact, a relatively poor 2-strike performance is to be expected. Like many did with Dunn, I think you've confused an ability/inability to do something with the knowledge or willingness of what to do.

It's not that great hitters "know how to hit with 2 strikes". It's that the skills great hitters possess generally are the same skills which allow them to be successful with 2 strikes. Drew Stubbs is not a great hitter, he's a good one -- a good one with a fairly extreme skill set. The specific composition of his skills within the "good" category make him particularly vulnerable with 2 strikes. If Stubbs gets better with 2 strikes, it will be because he's either laying off bad pitches or making more contact across the board, not because he improved his knowledge of how to succeed with 2 strikes.

I assume we'll have to agree to disagree.

TheNext44
02-06-2011, 11:18 PM
My opinion is that there is no one "biggest difference" between good hitters and great ones, assuming you define greatness that by production. And if there is one thing that differentiates goodness from greatness, it is most certainly not a player's plate approach in a minority of his plate appearances.

While a batters' two-strike approach is certainly some part of what we would call his skill set, a player's ability to perform in any situation, regardless of approach, is highly dependent on his ability to do the most basic things at the plate: his vision, his hand/eye coordination, etc. Your approach does not change your fundamental skill set.

I think you are identifying an effect (what Stubbs is able to do with 2 strikes, given his skill set) and have labeled it a cause. Given Stubbs' difficulty making contact, a relatively poor 2-strike performance is to be expected. Like many did with Dunn, I think you've confused an ability/inability to do something with the knowledge or willingness of what to do.

It's not that great hitters "know how to hit with 2 strikes". It's that the skills great hitters possess generally are the same skills which allow them to be successful with 2 strikes. Drew Stubbs is not a great hitter, he's a good one -- a good one with a fairly extreme skill set. The specific composition of his skills within the "good" category make him particularly vulnerable with 2 strikes. If Stubbs gets better with 2 strikes, it will be because he's either laying off bad pitches or making more contact across the board, not because he improved his knowledge of how to succeed with 2 strikes.

I assume we'll have to agree to disagree.

I think we have had a similar discussion before, and I donít want to get this thread too off topic, but I do want to explain my point more precisely.*

*

From my experience hitting and from talking to other hitters, hitting before there are two strikes and hitting after there are two strikes actually requires two separate skill sets.** Before there are two strikes, the goal is to find your pitch and crush it if you see it.* *After two strikes, the goal is to make the best contact you can on any pitch that you think might be called a strike.**

*

Two different approaches that require two different swings.** But the real difference between the two situations is that the latter requires the skill to foul off pitches, and imo, that ability is what separates the good from great hitters.*** The great hitters are able to see more pitches because they can foul off the pitcherís pitches with two strikes more often, increasing the chance that they see a decent pitch to hit with two strikes or get a walk.

A great example is Dunn.** He is a big strikeout guy, but he sees a lot of pitches and does a good job of fouling off two strike pitches he doesnít like.** That is why he is an above average two strike hitter, even though he Kís a ton.

*A good indication that this is a separate skill is that all types of great hitters excel at hitting with two strikes, from big power guys like Dunn and Howard, to singles hitters like Ichiro and Jeter, to all around guys like Votto and Pujols.***

A good analogy would be pitching off-speed pitches.** It basically is the same skill of throwing a ball, but some guys are able to master, a curveball, some a changeup, some a slider, and some never master off-speed pitches ever.* *But the difference between a good ptcher and a great one is who do.**

paintmered
02-07-2011, 12:01 AM
From my experience hitting and from talking to other hitters, hitting before there are two strikes and hitting after there are two strikes actually requires two separate skill sets.** Before there are two strikes, the goal is to find your pitch and crush it if you see it.* *After two strikes, the goal is to make the best contact you can on any pitch that you think might be called a strike.**


This is a fair point. And if you look at guys like Stubbs, Dunn and countless others, it's the first skill set that moved them through their respective systems and into the bigs. Shoot, in Stubbs's case, the hope of the first skill set developing was enough for the Reds to advance him through the minors. I can't think of a major league organization drafting a guy in the first round and promoting him over others to develop the two-strikes skill set absent the skill of punishing a mistake pitch.

I like to call it: the threat of mashing.

Homer Bailey
02-07-2011, 12:03 AM
I like to call it: the threat of mashing.

I think we have our nickname for the 2011 Cincinnati Reds.

RedsManRick
02-07-2011, 12:11 AM
To put it briefly, 44, I think you're combining two things -- the approach and the ability to execute a given approach. I think the reason Stubbs is a poor 2-strike hitter is because he's a poor contact hitter. His skills simply don't allow him to succeed batting average-wise in the approach hitting with two strikes requires.

Now, it's fully possible that he's not using the preferred 2-strike approach you've described. But it seems to me that's not the issue so much as it is him just having trouble putting the bat on the ball.

Regarding Dunn, I'm skeptical about your claim about his ability to foul balls off. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'd just like to see some data. I see he's hit .151/.274/.303 with 2 strikes on his career. So he's not getting any more hits than Stubbs. Sure, he's historically better able to lay off pitches out of the zone and does more damage when he does make contact, but that could be said about him in any account.

Anyways, I actually don't think what we're saying is all that different. What differentiates the good and the great with 2 strikes is not striking out as much and instead getting hits and walks. However, what I think we're seeing is that from the perspective of a player, he can't consciously change his skill set, will himself to be better. Going from good to great is largely a function of approach and effort. But from the perspective of the analyst, looking at player A vs. player B, what truly differentiates those guys is the ability to execute on that approach based on the players' abilities. Sure, Stubbs can improve -- but he'll never be Joey Votto. And that's not a function of his approach, but rather his hand-eye coordination and the extent to which it allows him to put the bat on the ball.

Jpup
02-07-2011, 09:45 AM
Ks don't bother me and I have argued that Ks are just like any other out 99% or the time, but what does drive me crazy, is someone just standing there watching a fastball go down the middle with 2 strikes. I haven't looked, but it seems that Stubbs does that an awful lot.

If it were a curve, change, or something that fooled him then I would understand. A fastball down the middle for strike 3 is borderline unacceptable to me. I know they are probably looking for something else, but I think you should always look fastball and adjust to everything else. I know it's not as easy as that, but it's does drive folks crazy.

Roy Tucker
02-07-2011, 09:48 AM
I like the ring of "Speedy Stubbs".

bucksfan2
02-07-2011, 10:35 AM
I am a believer that K's can and do matter. I think they can be more important when you take someone with the unique skill set that Stubbs has. First of all you have to look and realize how woeful Stubbs is at hitting with 2 strikes. Stubbs hits .150/.235/.245 with two strikes on him. So to say that he would be sacrificing any part of his offensive game if he changes his approach with two strikes is wrong. He really isn't doing anything when he is down and behind in the count.

Couple that with the fact that Stubbs is uber fast. Anytime he puts the ball on the ground and in play he has a chance at getting a hit. And I don't see a double play as much of an issues and his speed pretty much eliminates that. I can remember one time that he was doubled up and it was a tailor made DP and it was a bang bang play at 1st. So I guess my point is if he shortens up his swing, changes his approach he isn't sacrificing much and it could make him much more dangerous. There really is no comparison to Adam Dunn here, two different players with two completely different makeups.

RedsManRick
02-07-2011, 11:53 AM
So I guess my point is if he shortens up his swing, changes his approach he isn't sacrificing much and it could make him much more dangerous. There really is no comparison to Adam Dunn here, two different players with two completely different makeups.

I don't disagree that if Stubbs could change his approach in such a way as to increase his contact rate with 2-strikes and that, given his speed, he would benefit from doing so. As you note, his speed makes this a fundamentally different conversation than with Dunn.

However, I still think we tend to underestimate, if not completely overlook, the interaction between skills and approach. Players have an innate ability to hit for contact, much they way they have an innate ability to hit for power. Sure, they can approach things differently. But their ability to succeed in a given approach is limited by their physical abilities. We get this when it comes to speed and power, but forget about it when it comes to contact. For some reason, we treat swinging and missing like a character flaw instead of a physical limitation.

I'm sure Stubbs can improve his contact rate with 2-strikes. But we shouldn't act like it's just a decision he can make and suddenly he's Ichiro. Our expectations need to be realistic. What would we expect from asking Paul Janish move to a take and rake approach early in the count? That seems silly on the face of it to expect much. Why would we have greater expectations for Stubbs?

Roy Tucker
02-07-2011, 12:07 PM
I think its a volatile thing to change a guy's approach at the plate. You run the risk of totally messing him up.

I think it takes a great amount of patience to work on just one little thing at a time and get that totally ingrained into a hitter's approach. Let him get used to that one little thing before moving on to the next. If you take bigger bites, you run a very real risk of just totally screwing up a hitter.

Like I tell my wife about our kids, it's like steering an ocean liner. It takes a long time for it to turn. Be happy with very small increments of change. Eventually, they accrue and the boat does turn. Just takes a long damn time to do it.

Dan
02-07-2011, 12:39 PM
I've said this before, but I think it bears repeating. Strikeouts aren't the problem. It's the BB/K ratio you want to look at. A player who is swinging at anything (looking at you, Juan Fransisco) is going to have a very low ratio, like 1/10. That doesn't translate to success. But a player who selectively swings only at balls in the strike zone, even if he doesn't make contact all the time (maybe a 1/2 ratio), is going to have a higher OBP. When he does make contact he's going to hit the ball better than the 1/10 guy.

Stubbs is borderline at this point. Not very easy to predict his ultimate success. But I like what I saw last season and hope it continues.

TheNext44
02-07-2011, 07:15 PM
If the assumption that hitting with two strikes uses the same skills as just hitting overall is true, than the list of players who hit will with two strikes would mirror the list of players who generally hit well when ahead in the count. * Both would match up will with the player's overall numbers.

I haven't done an extensive study yet, but just looking at the Reds, it appears that the opposite is the case:

In the first group of power hitters, they all have similar numbers (except for Votto) when hitting ahead in the count. If you just used these numbers, except for Votto, you would have a hard time figuring out who the above average hitters were from the average. * But if you did use these numbers, you would notice that Stubbs is the best, while Rolen was the worst. * Compared to their overall numbers, using how they hit when ahead in count does not seem to be a good method of projecting who is better overall. **

However, if you look at their numbers with two strikes, it matches nearly perfectly with who is just average and who is above average. **

If you look at the non-power hitters, you get the same result. * Looking at just how they hit ahead in the count, you might conclude that Bloomquist is the best hitter, and Phiilips and Janish are close to the same as the worst. * But if you look at how the perform with two strikes, you will see that it nearly perfectly matches who the better hitters are. **

This is way too small to be conclusive, but I have a feeling more extensive research would yield similar results. *


Votto 1.230 0.662 0.958
Rolen 1.071 0.672 0.867
Gomes 1.106 0.514 0.790
Stubbs 1.131 0.480 0.770
Bruce 1.124 0.583 0.800
Hernandez 0.916 0.552 0.747
Phillips 0.906 0.546 0.746
Janish 0.873 0.470 0.634
Bloomquist 0.923 0.498 0.653

Sorry, posting from iPad. First set of numbers is ops ahead in the Count. Second ops with two strikes and third is overall ops.

RedsManRick
02-08-2011, 01:09 PM
If the assumption that hitting with two strikes uses the same skills as just hitting overall is true, than the list of players who hit will with two strikes would mirror the list of players who generally hit well when ahead in the count. * Both would match up will with the player's overall numbers.

I don't think this is the case at all. Perhaps I wasn't clear, but it's not that hitting with two strikes uses the same skills, in the same proportion, as hitting at any other time.

It's that a player's skills don't change based on the count. A player who struggles to make contact on 2-1 will generally struggle to make contact on 1-2. The approach determines the extent to which certain skills come in to play.

A few thoughts:
- Sample size is not a minor concern when you start taking splits. I would suggest you look at career performance or at least 3 years.
- Using OPS makes this more difficult, precisely for the reasons we're discussing. Getting on base and hitting for power are borne of different skills. If the batter's ability to utilize his skills varies, the affect would be more apparent by isolating OBP from SLG

This analysis sort of misses the boat. The primary reason Stubbs struggles to hit well with two-strikes is not that he's taking the wrong approach. It's that his skill set limits his ability to execute on the standard 2-strike approach which emphasizes contact & protecting the zone.

A 2-strike situation encourages batters to swing more than they otherwise might, as they want to avoid a called 3rd strike. For players like Stubbs, who generally struggles to make contact, this exacerbates a weakness which they can offset in other counts through patience and doing a lot of damage when they do make contact.

Sure, Stubbs can choke up and shorten his swing in an effort to make more contact. But relative to other players, he's still going to struggle to put the bat on the ball. Expecting Stubbs to significantly improve his contact rate with 2-strikes is akin to expecting Paul Janish to significantly improve his slugging when he's ahead in the count. Will it change some, yes. Will it change drastically, no. It's not a function of approach, it's a function of ability.

TRF
02-08-2011, 02:35 PM
It's not a function of approach, it's a function of ability.

I can't disagree with this more.

The ability to change approach is a skill. Some players have it, some don't. Most, I'd wager don't. But there are those that do.

Most have the ability it seems to change approach at 3-2 vs 0-2. Losing the battle at 0-2 isn't nearly as bad as losing it at 3-2. You've seen a minimum of 5 pitches, you better have an idea of what you need to do to get on base. Notice I didn't state put the ball in play.

I can't fault a player for getting owned on an 0-2 count. Show me a player that doesn't. now, 2-2 or 3-2, that's different.

I do believe that SOME players can alter their approach and get on base with 2 strikes. I don't think it is common. And in most cases, not necessary.

bucksfan2
02-08-2011, 03:05 PM
I'm sure Stubbs can improve his contact rate with 2-strikes. But we shouldn't act like it's just a decision he can make and suddenly he's Ichiro. Our expectations need to be realistic. What would we expect from asking Paul Janish move to a take and rake approach early in the count? That seems silly on the face of it to expect much. Why would we have greater expectations for Stubbs?

There is an issue of talent here. Stubbs has talents and skills that a player like Janish can't touch. Some things just are God given and Stubbs has those while Janish does not.

I really don't take much of an issue with Stubbs approach at the plate. If he continues to develop like we have seen over the past year or so we have an All Stat caliber player in CF. But it breaks down to the age old want from fans to see the player continue to improve on their skills and work on areas that they are lacking. I don't want Stubbs to sacrifice much if any of his game, just to change an approach in a unique situation.

I see this similar to what Joey Votto does at times when he gets behind in the count. He goes into protect mode. He lengthens his stance, cuts down on his swing, and defends the plate. He hits the ball depending on where it is pitched. Votto may sacrifice some power but his ability to do that with two strikes makes him a dangerous hitter. Now Stubbs and Votto may not have the same talents but is it too much to ask for Stubbs to do something similar? Im not talking about drastically changing his whole approach, just to change it when he is down in the count. Anytime he puts the ball in play, especially on the ground he has a chance at a base hit.

TheNext44
02-08-2011, 03:17 PM
First, those were career numbers. *

Second, my point about Stubbs is not him making more contact. *It's about him being a more productive hitter. *There is more to being a better two strike hitter than just the ability to make contact. **

Like I said before, it's about approach and knowledge. * When you are ahead of the count, all you have to do is look for your pitch and then crush it when you get it. * You don't need to be able to recognize all of the pitcher's pitches, nor be able to figure out and adjust to what he does next. * Just wait for your pitch, and crush it if it comes, and let everything else pass if it doesn't. **

When you have two strikes, you can't just look for your pitch. *You need a different skill set to succeed here. *You have to*recognize pitches and being able to adjust to what the pitcher is doing. *You also need a new skill, the ability to foul off difficult strikes. * I think this is the main ability that separates the good from the great hitters. * The good hitters can wait for their pitch and crush it when they see it. * The great hitters can force the pitcher to either throw a hitter's pitch or walk the hitter by fouling off tough strikes. * This makes the great two strike hitter a better overall hitter, not just a better OBP guy. **

Third, that is why I think it is important to look at OPS and not just OBP. * I did separate the power hitters from the singles hitters and both sets proved the same point. * But if you insist, I did a break down of the power guys with just OBP and come up with exactly the same results:

Player Ahead 2K Career
Rolen 0.503 0.308 0.369
Bruce 0.494 0.243 0.327
Gomes 0.511 0.233 0.331
Stubbs 0.511 0.245 0.328

Again, you really can't distinguish one player from another by looking at their OBP when ahead in the count, but you can by looking at their OBP with two strikes. * This strongly suggests that there are two different skills here. *At least that's what I see. **

RedsManRick
02-08-2011, 03:32 PM
I can't disagree with this more.

The ability to change approach is a skill. Some players have it, some don't. Most, I'd wager don't. But there are those that do.

But even given this (that some players are better able to change their approach), a player's success within a given approach is function of his hitting skills.

I, RMR, could go up there with the perfect approach for the count and chances are I'm still going to put up a line of .000/.000/.000. By contrast Joey Votto could go up there with a stupid approach and still easily outperform me.

Approach certainly makes a difference. But you can only utilize the skills you have. No matter what approach he takes, I doubt Drew Stubbs will be able to make contact like Jeff Keppinger.

TheNext44
02-08-2011, 06:29 PM
But even given this (that some players are better able to change their approach), a player's success within a given approach is function of his hitting skills.

I, RMR, could go up there with the perfect approach for the count and chances are I'm still going to put up a line of .000/.000/.000. By contrast Joey Votto could go up there with a stupid approach and still easily outperform me.

Approach certainly makes a difference. But you can only utilize the skills you have. No matter what approach he takes, I doubt Drew Stubbs will be able to make contact like Jeff Keppinger.

But Stubbs has the talent and the skills to mash when he is ahead in the count. He's actually the best of all the power hitter on the Reds when ahead in the count. He doesn't have the talent to produce when he has two strikes. He is one of the worst of the Reds in that situation.

Your assertion just doesn't matchup with the facts. The facts are this. Nearly all MLB starters excell when ahead in the count. But only a few excell when behind in the count. That strongly suggests two different skill sets.

Let me put it a reverse way.

Nearly all MLB pitchers can put away a hitter with two strikes. The stats are overwhelming on this. However, only a few can consistantly get that second stroke before giving up a hit or walking the batter. Pitching 0-0 and pitching 0-2 require the same physical skills, buy different abilities. Same, but in reverse with batting 0-0 or 0-2.

RedsManRick
02-08-2011, 09:09 PM
But Stubbs has the talent and the skills to mash when he is ahead in the count. He's actually the best of all the power hitter on the Reds when ahead in the count. He doesn't have the talent to produce when he has two strikes. He is one of the worst of the Reds in that situation.

Your assertion just doesn't matchup with the facts. The facts are this. Nearly all MLB starters excell when ahead in the count. But only a few excell when behind in the count. That strongly suggests two different skill sets.


You are treating OPS like a skill, it's not. Ability to make contact is skill. Power is a skill. OPS is the result of those skills applied in certain situations, in certain conditions.

Different situations leverage a players' skills differently. Stubbs mashes when he's ahead in the count because of his power, his ability to lay off bad pitches and the fact that he can fly and take extra bases. The way "OPS when ahead in the count works" is that it only counts at bats which end on a ball in play or in a walk. So if you've got a guy, like Stubbs, who can take a walk and does great things when he makes contact, he's going to do well in that stat. A swing and a miss when you're ahead in the count won't show up in your OPS.

But with 2 strikes, an bat can end with a walk, a strikeout, or a ball in play, If he's got 2 strikes and swings and misses, it's game over -- it counts against him. And because he's wary about striking out by looking, he's likely expanding his strike zone (protecting the plate), leading to even a higher percentage of swings and misses. He's also likely not trying to hit for power.

The problem is not his approach. The problem is that the approach those two situations dictate leverage different skills. OPS is not a skill, it is a measure of production, of results. And those results come from a set of skills being applied in varying degrees in varying conditions. Guys who don't possess much ability to put the bat on the ball reliably are bound to struggle to performance wise with 2-strikes. It's a situation that puts extra value on just making contact because the penalty is so severe for failing to do so.

You can't ignore that and just chalk up differences in production to a guy's approach. The composition of his skill set matters -- a bunch. I can't seem to get you to see the difference and I certainly don't see things as you do, so I'm just going to drop it from this point forward and let the conversation can move on.

edabbs44
02-09-2011, 08:28 AM
2010 Stubbs ahead of the count: .358/.526/.642

2010 Pence ahead of the count: .325/.465/.599
2010 Gaby Sanchez ahead of the count: .268/.480/.486
2010 Gomes ahead of the count: .299/.463/.564
2010 Ludwick ahead of the count: .271/.470/.496

Moral of the story...tons of guys mash when they are ahead in the count.