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RedsManRick
07-22-2011, 12:03 PM
I swear I read some version of this phrase at least once a day. Stubbs is supposedly a poor fit for leadoff because of his strikeouts.

But assuming we're talking about a given level of production (say a .350 OBP), I can't for the life of me figure out why strikeouts are such a bad thing for the leadoff hitter.

What am I missing? The only thing that makes strikeouts worse than other types of outs is that they have no potential to advance other runners. But I'd be willing to bet that, over the course of the season, the leadoff hitter tends to come to bat with less people on base than any other position in the lineup. And strikeouts do have the advantage of forcing the pitcher to generally throw more pitches.

This isn't meant to be a question about the value of strikeouts themselves. But rather, why is it supposedly so bad for a leadoff hitter, in particular, to strikeout? I'd certainly rather see my leadoff guy striking out than a 6th hitter who's supposed to be an "RBI guy".

Will M
07-22-2011, 12:41 PM
i believe Ks are overrated. i suspect these 'nonproductive outs' (as opposed to a grounder to 2B that advances the runner to 3rd) add up to maybe one loss a year for the whole team. maybe. I look at OPS (or OPS+) with a bit of a preference for the OBP part of it. put your best guys at 3-4. put the next best OBP/OPS guys at 1-2 then fill out 5-6-7-8.

Stubbs problem isn't the Ks in general. its that he has sooooo many of them that overall his OPS isn't that great.

757690
07-22-2011, 12:48 PM
I swear I read some version of this phrase at least once a day. Stubbs is supposedly a poor fit for leadoff because of his strikeouts.

But assuming we're talking about a given level of production (say a .350 OBP), I can't for the life of me figure out why strikeouts are such a bad thing for the leadoff hitter.

What am I missing? The only thing that makes strikeouts worse than other types of outs is that they have no potential to advance other runners. But I'd be willing to bet that, over the course of the season, the leadoff hitter tends to come to bat with less people on base than any other position in the lineup. And strikeouts do have the advantage of forcing the pitcher to generally throw more pitches.

This isn't meant to be a question about the value of strikeouts themselves. But rather, why is it supposedly so bad for a leadoff hitter, in particular, to strikeout? I'd certainly rather see my leadoff guy striking out than a 6th hitter who's supposed to be an "RBI guy".

With leadoff hitters in general, and with speedy leadoff hitters specifically, the more balls they put into play, the more they will get in base.

And remember we are only talking about what a hitters does with two strikes, so he doesn't have to lose much power or aggressiveness overall. He just needs to focus on making contact with two strikes.

HotCorner
07-22-2011, 12:52 PM
i believe Ks are overrated. i suspect these 'nonproductive outs' (as opposed to a grounder to 2B that advances the runner to 3rd) add up to maybe one loss a year for the whole team. maybe.

The games from Monday and Tuesday against Pittsburgh come to mind. This team had gone through a recent stretch of bases loaded 0 or 1 out and not score a single run mostly due in part to striking out rather than making contact for a groundout or flyball.

IslandRed
07-22-2011, 12:56 PM
RMR, I think you're probably reading too much into it. Or, alternatively, you're reading what they say but what they say isn't really what they mean. :cool:

This isn't a "strikeout is just another out" argument. This is about Stubbs, specifically, piling up strikeouts in such quantity that it's a limiting factor on his ability to put up a sufficiently high OBP to be a good leadoff hitter.


But assuming we're talking about a given level of production (say a .350 OBP), I can't for the life of me figure out why strikeouts are such a bad thing for the leadoff hitter.

But Stubbs isn't putting up a .350 OBP and the Ks are a big reason why. Any hitter that whiffs that much needs an unnaturally high BABIP (or hit a lot of home runs) to overcome that anchor-drop on the batting average. Or else he needs to draw a ton of walks to have a high OBP even with a low BA. Stubbs can leg out a hit and take a walk, but not quite enough (yet) to bring his OBP up to leadoff-worthy.

Will M
07-22-2011, 12:57 PM
The games from Monday and Tuesday against Pittsburgh come to mind. This team had gone through a recent stretch of bases loaded 0 or 1 out and not score a single run mostly due in part to striking out rather than making contact for a groundout or flyball.

fair enough. i guess i was thinking about annoying announcers who praise a guy who makes an out that advances the runner. getting a guy from 2B to 3B by making an out is a non issue 99% of the time. you are correct that this IS a big deal if its a sacrifice fly.

RedsManRick
07-22-2011, 01:18 PM
With leadoff hitters in general, and with speedy leadoff hitters specifically, the more balls they put into play, the more they will get in base.

And remember we are only talking about what a hitters does with two strikes, so he doesn't have to lose much power or aggressiveness overall. He just needs to focus on making contact with two strikes.

Of course, but why not then just make the conversation about OBP, rather than focusing on how that OBP is generated?

It seems to me that the idea getting put forward again and again is that contact rate, moreso than other skills, is a choice. While approach certainly has an effect, players like Stubbs can't turn themselves into Juan Pierre or Michael Bourn by changing their 2-strike approach any more than those guys could turn themselves in to Stubbs or Soriano by taking bigger hacks early in the count.

The thinking seems to be: "Stubbs is really fast. Therefore Stubbs should be a leadoff hitter. But his OBP is too low to be a good leadoff hitter. Let's do what we can to raise that OBP". But Stubbs isn't a leadoff hitter. Trying to get him to alter his approach to increase contact is likely to going to come at the expense of power. And I'd hate to think that part of the reason his slugging is down this year is because he's trying to keep the ball on the ground in order to fit somebody's idea of a leadoff hitter.

I just find it frustrating that we spend so much energy trying to turn players in to players that they aren't rather than finding ways to maximize the value of the skills they have. Dusty in particular seems to have molds of what certainly players should be and then tries to turn his guys in to those archetypes at the expense of making best use of the players they actually are.

jojo
07-22-2011, 01:25 PM
No one should strike out. Ever. Not even pitchers. Especially not pitchers because they should be world class bunters and base runners. ;)

Kc61
07-22-2011, 01:33 PM
[QUOTE=RedsManRick;2444470]Of course, but why not then just make the conversation about OBP, rather than focusing on how that OBP is generated?

QUOTE]

The issue is failure to make contact.

The strikeout itself is no worse than other outs usually.

A hitter who fails 180 times per season to make contact and strikes out has no chance to help his team. He can't get on via error. He can't move a runner along. He can't get a base hit. He can't hit a home run.

High strikeout hitters have fewer chances to get hits. They have, essentially, forfeited 180-200 chances to do something productive. Those at bats can't lead to anything good. No contact was made.

A high OBP/walks guy reduces the problem.

But generally, strikeouts are no good because the hitter has failed to make contact and nothing good can come from the at bat.

jojo
07-22-2011, 01:42 PM
Do hitters that strikeout more, see more pitches?

If so, would one trade that for the lost opportunity of not getting on base via error?

kaldaniels
07-22-2011, 01:52 PM
No more line drives either, cause they cause runners to get doubled off.

Mario-Rijo
07-22-2011, 02:04 PM
Do hitters that strikeout more, see more pitches?

If so, would one trade that for the lost opportunity of not getting on base via error?

One can do both....so I won't get into that debate.

Mario-Rijo
07-22-2011, 02:05 PM
The issue is failure to make contact.

The strikeout itself is no worse than other outs usually.

A hitter who fails 180 times per season to make contact and strikes out has no chance to help his team. He can't get on via error. He can't move a runner along. He can't get a base hit. He can't hit a home run.

High strikeout hitters have fewer chances to get hits. They have, essentially, forfeited 180-200 chances to do something productive. Those at bats can't lead to anything good. No contact was made.

A high OBP/walks guy reduces the problem.

But generally, strikeouts are no good because the hitter has failed to make contact and nothing good can come from the at bat.

Well said and this is pretty much how I feel about it.

IslandRed
07-22-2011, 02:20 PM
As a rule, I agree with the idea that you don't want hitters to strike out, or change their approach to avoid striking out. Still. Throughout baseball history, many excellent hitters let 'er rip until they got two strikes and then they focused on putting the ball in play. The modern argument against that is, it cuts down on their potential to hit for power. But... that assumes there's actual power production to lose, doesn't it?

Let's look at splits for a moment. OK, once the count reaches 0-2 or 1-2, all hitters are worse. But not equally worse. When the count reaches 0-2 or 1-2, having Stubbs at the plate is exactly like having Paul Janish up there. Or a pitcher. Take your pick. Short of calling checkmate and not actually making the pitcher throw strike three, it's difficult to form an argument that Stubbs can possibly be less productive in those situations. So why not shorten up on 0-2 or 1-2 and see if it helps?

reds44
07-22-2011, 02:22 PM
Drew Stubbs is a bad fit for leadoff because he's in his 3rd year in the majors and has a career OBP of .329.

cumberlandreds
07-22-2011, 02:23 PM
[QUOTE=RedsManRick;2444470]Of course, but why not then just make the conversation about OBP, rather than focusing on how that OBP is generated?

QUOTE]

The issue is failure to make contact.

The strikeout itself is no worse than other outs usually.

A hitter who fails 180 times per season to make contact and strikes out has no chance to help his team. He can't get on via error. He can't move a runner along. He can't get a base hit. He can't hit a home run.

High strikeout hitters have fewer chances to get hits. They have, essentially, forfeited 180-200 chances to do something productive. Those at bats can't lead to anything good. No contact was made.

A high OBP/walks guy reduces the problem.

But generally, strikeouts are no good because the hitter has failed to make contact and nothing good can come from the at bat.

I feel pretty much the same way. ^

I have always thought that if Stubbs cut down on his K's by a third he would be a star. Cut them in half and maybe he's a superstar. He has the speed and power to do just that. But he's got to make more contact or he will never reach his true potential,IMO.

CySeymour
07-22-2011, 02:24 PM
A hitter who fails 180 times per season to make contact and strikes out has no chance to help his team. He can't get on via error. He can't move a runner along. He can't get a base hit. He can't hit a home run.


Ryan Howard had a 167 OPS+, 5.8 WAR and an MVP award in 2006, and he struckout 181 times that season.

Mario-Rijo
07-22-2011, 02:24 PM
Of course, but why not then just make the conversation about OBP, rather than focusing on how that OBP is generated?

It seems to me that the idea getting put forward again and again is that contact rate, moreso than other skills, is a choice. While approach certainly has an effect, players like Stubbs can't turn themselves into Juan Pierre or Michael Bourn by changing their 2-strike approach any more than those guys could turn themselves in to Stubbs or Soriano by taking bigger hacks early in the count.

The thinking seems to be: "Stubbs is really fast. Therefore Stubbs should be a leadoff hitter. But his OBP is too low to be a good leadoff hitter. Let's do what we can to raise that OBP". But Stubbs isn't a leadoff hitter. Trying to get him to alter his approach to increase contact is likely to going to come at the expense of power. And I'd hate to think that part of the reason his slugging is down this year is because he's trying to keep the ball on the ground in order to fit somebody's idea of a leadoff hitter.

I just find it frustrating that we spend so much energy trying to turn players in to players that they aren't rather than finding ways to maximize the value of the skills they have. Dusty in particular seems to have molds of what certainly players should be and then tries to turn his guys in to those archetypes at the expense of making best use of the players they actually are.

I find it frustrating when right out of the gates "they are what they are" is the anthem. That isn't always true. There are some things guys can't change but I still don't buy that a player has to hurt his overall value to improve a certain portion of his game. If Drew can cut his swings and misses down somewhat reasonably, run his BA up into the .275 range and it costs him 3-5 HR's I am fine with it. But I'm not positive he would have to lose those 3-5 jacks, he might gain a few of them back by simply making more consistent contact. And again he may not lose any at all in the 1st place, I see no facts to back up this sort of thing.

While I agree that to a certain extent guys are what they are I just can't go along with accepting things that I think are fixable to some degree. Drew Stubbs can improve this part of his game, to what extent is the only question IMO. But I am not gonna harp on it all the time as long as he doesn't go all .230 and worse. And just for the record I don't see his struggles being because he has adopted a different approach his holes have just been more magnified to the opposition over time. And they are massive holes.

Johnny Footstool
07-22-2011, 02:33 PM
The issue is failure to make contact.

The strikeout itself is no worse than other outs usually.

A hitter who fails 180 times per season to make contact and strikes out has no chance to help his team. He can't get on via error. He can't move a runner along. He can't get a base hit. He can't hit a home run.

High strikeout hitters have fewer chances to get hits. They have, essentially, forfeited 180-200 chances to do something productive. Those at bats can't lead to anything good. No contact was made.

A high OBP/walks guy reduces the problem.

But generally, strikeouts are no good because the hitter has failed to make contact and nothing good can come from the at bat.

To dig up some items from past discussions...

ABs in which no contact was made can absolutely lead to good things, namely high pitch counts and walks. Don't discount the benefits of those things.

Choking up with two strikes and simply putting the ball in play doesn't make that much of a positive impact. The vast majority of those balls are turned into outs. In fact, according to this article, balls put into play with two strikes have less chance of becoming a hit than balls put into play with less than two strikes (p. 3 of the pdf).

http://ise.tamu.edu/people/faculty/Bickel/Publications/AVG_by_Count.pdf

Basically, though, strikeouts are a symptom. You have to figure out *why* a player is striking out.

"Early-count" hitters are guys who tend to hit the first good pitch they see. They end up with few walks and strikeouts, and they see fewer pitches.

"Late-count" hitters tend to wait for the perfect pitch. They end up with tons of walks and strikeouts, plus they work the opposing pitcher like crazy.

Both types of hitters can be effective, but you have to look past the number of strikeouts and check their OBP and SLG to judge how effective they truly are.

Players to avoid are guys who have low OBP, few walks, and a ton of strikeouts. These guys aren't striking out because they're waiting for a good pitch. They tend be overmatched, and you don't want them in the lineup at all.

Kc61
07-22-2011, 02:36 PM
Ryan Howard had a 167 OPS+, 5.8 WAR and an MVP award in 2006, and he struckout 181 times that season.

Right.

Here's another way to look at it.

Say two players each get 500 Plate Appearances.

Say each walks 50 times.

That leaves 450 chances to get hits for each.

A. Player one strikes out 50 times. That leaves 400 chances to get hits, hit homers, make productive outs, etc.

B. Player two strikes out 180 times. That leaves only 270 chances to get hits, hit homers, make productive outs, etc.

Player one makes contact 130 times more than player two.
This gives him much more opportunity to have successful at bats.

Once in awhile, player two - if he's as skilled as Ryan Howard was in 2006 - can contribute mightily despite 130 fewer opportunities.

But that type of season is rare. If you have two players who are otherwise equal, and one fails to make contact 130 more times, that hitter will likely suffer in comparison.

dougdirt
07-22-2011, 02:49 PM
Drew Stubbs isn't ideal to hit leadoff and it has nothing at all to do with his strikeouts or his OBP. If Stubbs had an OBP of .360, I still wouldn't like seeing him batting leadoff. Players who can hit 15-20 HR's (or more) should never be wasted batting leadoff.

RANDY IN INDY
07-22-2011, 03:01 PM
No more line drives either, cause they cause runners to get doubled off.

:lol:

CySeymour
07-22-2011, 03:06 PM
Drew Stubbs isn't ideal to hit leadoff and it has nothing at all to do with his strikeouts or his OBP. If Stubbs had an OBP of .360, I still wouldn't like seeing him batting leadoff. Players who can hit 15-20 HR's (or more) should never be wasted batting leadoff.

So, you wouldn't have "wasted" Rickey Henderson batting leadoff?

Wheelhouse
07-22-2011, 03:11 PM
I swear I read some version of this phrase at least once a day. Stubbs is supposedly a poor fit for leadoff because of his strikeouts.

But assuming we're talking about a given level of production (say a .350 OBP), I can't for the life of me figure out why strikeouts are such a bad thing for the leadoff hitter.

What am I missing? The only thing that makes strikeouts worse than other types of outs is that they have no potential to advance other runners. But I'd be willing to bet that, over the course of the season, the leadoff hitter tends to come to bat with less people on base than any other position in the lineup. And strikeouts do have the advantage of forcing the pitcher to generally throw more pitches.

This isn't meant to be a question about the value of strikeouts themselves. But rather, why is it supposedly so bad for a leadoff hitter, in particular, to strikeout? I'd certainly rather see my leadoff guy striking out than a 6th hitter who's supposed to be an "RBI guy".

The statement would be better phrased, "Super fast players shouldn't strike out" Does that make any more sense?

dougdirt
07-22-2011, 03:14 PM
So, you wouldn't have "wasted" Rickey Henderson batting leadoff?

Not once. That guy had an OPS+ of a middle of the order bat. Yes, a part of it was because he had a high OBP, but he also had a good SLG, especially for his time period he played in. He had 14 seasons with an OPS over .800. Heck, he led the league in OPS one season. He would have been much more valuable batting 2nd or 5th than he would have been first. Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth would have been the best leadoff hitters ever if someone put them at the top of the line up for their entire careers. Simply because Henderson was the best leadoff hitter ever doesn't mean he should have been hitting leadoff.

dougdirt
07-22-2011, 03:16 PM
The statement would be better phrased, "Super fast players shouldn't strike out" Does that make any more sense?

Maybe it is just me, but I see speed as a complimentary skillset to ones offense, not something it should be built around. Speed is nice to have, but no player has ever been a good hitter because he was fast. A lot of players have been good hitters because they had a good eye or had a power or were able to make good contact.

Mario-Rijo
07-22-2011, 03:21 PM
Not once. That guy had an OPS+ of a middle of the order bat. Yes, a part of it was because he had a high OBP, but he also had a good SLG, especially for his time period he played in. He had 14 seasons with an OPS over .800. Heck, he led the league in OPS one season. He would have been much more valuable batting 2nd or 5th than he would have been first. Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth would have been the best leadoff hitters ever if someone put them at the top of the line up for their entire careers. Simply because Henderson was the best leadoff hitter ever doesn't mean he should have been hitting leadoff.

2nd I might be intrigued by, maybe even 3rd under the right circumstances, 5th no way would I waste him down there getting less PA's.

Mario-Rijo
07-22-2011, 03:23 PM
Maybe it is just me, but I see speed as a complimentary skillset to ones offense, not something it should be built around. Speed is nice to have, but no player has ever been a good hitter because he was fast. A lot of players have been good hitters because they had a good eye or had a power or were able to make good contact.

But hitters have been more productive hitting with that particular complimentary skill to what extent is debatable. One I won't debate with you again because it would do no good.

Brutus
07-22-2011, 03:29 PM
For me, one of Stubbs' biggest assets is his ability to beat out a throw to first or avoid a double-play because of his speed. But none of those things ever come into play if he's striking out.

In my opinion, a double-standard has been borne to the new generation of statistical thinking. We laud pitchers for their ability to miss bats, as we know more balls in play the more likely it is they get a hit, but we loathe discussing hitters that strike out a lot and downplay it as a big deal.

I don't think strikeouts are always the worst thing in the world, but a player misses too many opportunities (not just for productive outs) by not putting the ball in play -- especially if that person has as much speed to make things happen as Stubbs.

westofyou
07-22-2011, 03:40 PM
148 TB / 129 K not a great ratio, I'd like to see more daylight between TB numbers and K's, take Bobby Bonds 1970 season as a lead off hitter, 334 TB / 189 K, much easier to accept.

K rates become cumbersome when they don't have the payoff in the connection made by the batter.

RANDY IN INDY
07-22-2011, 03:45 PM
148 TB / 129 K not a great ratio, I'd like to see more daylight between TB numbers and K's, take Bobby Bonds 1970 season as a lead off hitter, 334 TB / 189 K, much easier to accept.

K rates become cumbersome when they don't have the payoff in the connection made by the batter.

Now you're making too much sense.;)

757690
07-22-2011, 03:48 PM
Of course, but why not then just make the conversation about OBP, rather than focusing on how that OBP is generated?

It seems to me that the idea getting put forward again and again is that contact rate, moreso than other skills, is a choice. While approach certainly has an effect, players like Stubbs can't turn themselves into Juan Pierre or Michael Bourn by changing their 2-strike approach any more than those guys could turn themselves in to Stubbs or Soriano by taking bigger hacks early in the count.

The thinking seems to be: "Stubbs is really fast. Therefore Stubbs should be a leadoff hitter. But his OBP is too low to be a good leadoff hitter. Let's do what we can to raise that OBP". But Stubbs isn't a leadoff hitter. Trying to get him to alter his approach to increase contact is likely to going to come at the expense of power. And I'd hate to think that part of the reason his slugging is down this year is because he's trying to keep the ball on the ground in order to fit somebody's idea of a leadoff hitter.

I just find it frustrating that we spend so much energy trying to turn players in to players that they aren't rather than finding ways to maximize the value of the skills they have. Dusty in particular seems to have molds of what certainly players should be and then tries to turn his guys in to those archetypes at the expense of making best use of the players they actually are.

It's not about making players something they are not, it's about making players better.

Pierre and Bourne can't become power hitters because they aren't strong enough, the lack the physical ability to be a power hitter.

But it doesn't take any specific physical ability to make more contact with two strikes, it just takes a different approach. You shorten your swing, and focus on making contact instead of driving the ball.

This approach was taken by nearly every hitter before the steroids era, but was abandoned by most when they learned they could hit nearly every pitch over the wall. But now that that era is over, I think it's time to go back to contact approach. Many hitters are already doing that. Stubbs should be one of those hitters.

What effect that would have on him?

Currently, he is one of the worst two strikes hitters in the game. Here's his line with two strikes:

.147 .230 .237 .467

Here's Jonny Gomes'

.153 .235 .274 .509

Here's Jay Bruce's

.169 .242 .313 ..559

Here's Scott Rolen's

.213 .304. .364 .668

So Stubb is worse than Jonny Gomes with two strikes, around 100 OPS points worse than Bruce and 200 OPS points worse than Rolen.

Stubbs is on pace to K 218 times this season. Let's say he cuts that by 100 K's and puts 100 more AB's into play. Currently, with 2 K's he has a .342 BABIP. So that's 34 extra hits. He walks 18% of the time when he doesn't K, so that would be an extra 18 BB's. Add in around 5 more times because of errors, and that's 57 more times on base.

Considering Stubbs scores 46% of the time that he is on base, he would score 26 more runs. And that is just the runs that he would score, and doesn't include the runners that would score because of him putting the ball in play.

Now he would likely lose power, but he currently has one of the lowest SLG with 2 strikes in the game.

Even it cuts his power in half and all the extra hits are singles, he still would be adding at least 10 runs created by making more contact.

Unless cutting down his swing with two strikes would ruin his swing before two strikes, it really would be beneficial for Stubbs to try it. It probably would add at least a full win to his production.

dougdirt
07-22-2011, 03:52 PM
This approach was taken by nearly every hitter before the steroids era, but was abandoned by most when they learned they could hit nearly every pitch over the wall. But now that that era is over, I think it's time to go back to contact approach. Many hitters are already doing that. Stubbs should be one of those hitters.
Care to provide an example of someone who has drastically cut down on their strikeout rate from the steroid era to now? How about 10 examples?



Stubbs is on pace to K 218 times this season. Let's say he cuts that by 100 K's and puts 100 more AB's into play. Currently, with 2 K's he has a .342 BABIP. So that's 34 extra hits. He walks 18% of the time when he doesn't K, so that would be an extra 18 BB's. Add in around 5 more times because of errors, and that's 57 more times on base.
No player is ever going to cut down on their strikeouts by that much. It might be one thing to go from 60 strikeouts to 40, but from 175 to 100 is an incredible drop that isn't likely plausible. To reach something like 175+ strikeouts there is a big underlying reason for it and it likely resides in your skillset rather than approach. You can't just change that skillset that much to make such a difference.

Mario-Rijo
07-22-2011, 04:01 PM
Care to provide an example of someone who has drastically cut down on their strikeout rate from the steroid era to now? How about 10 examples?

Somebody has to be the first right, just sayin'.



No player is ever going to cut down on their strikeouts by that much. It might be one thing to go from 60 strikeouts to 40, but from 175 to 100 is an incredible drop that isn't likely plausible. To reach something like 175+ strikeouts there is a big underlying reason for it and it likely resides in your skillset rather than approach. You can't just change that skillset that much to make such a difference.

Probably not but he can't just keep K'ing 220 times a season and be considered an important piece of the puzzle. His BA will continue to nose dive, his BB numbers will continue to decline and he'll be wishing he could be a Mike Cameron Comp. I don't give a crap how good his baserunning and defense are if he sets the "Stubbs Line" as the new bar for incompetence.

dougdirt
07-22-2011, 04:11 PM
Somebody has to be the first right, just sayin'.

I guess so, but the poster said a lot of guys are doing it already.



Probably not but he can't just keep K'ing 220 times a season and be considered an important piece of the puzzle. His BA will continue to nose dive, his BB numbers will continue to decline and he'll be wishing he could be a Mike Cameron Comp. I don't give a crap how good his baserunning and defense are if he sets the "Stubbs Line" as the new bar for incompetence.

I don't want to see that many strikeouts either and I am generally a "strikeouts don't matter much" type of guy. But as with everything else, there are limits to such statements. If Stubbs falls into the 150-180 range, it is bad, but something he can be fairly productive with. Heck, even at the pace he is on now, he has been slightly below average for an MLB center fielder offensively.

I would like to see Stubbs improve the strikeout numbers, I just don't think its going to happen to the extent as the quoted poster thinks is feasible.

757690
07-22-2011, 04:14 PM
Care to provide an example of someone who has drastically cut down on their strikeout rate from the steroid era to now? How about 10 examples?

It would be players who never played in the steroid era, so probably not. I was referring to new players coming up. And considering how much harder pitcher throw now, and teams desire to get pitchers with higher K rates, I would imagine that actual K rates would be on the rise anyway.


No player is ever going to cut down on their strikeouts by that much. It might be one thing to go from 60 strikeouts to 40, but from 175 to 100 is an incredible drop that isn't likely plausible. To reach something like 175+ strikeouts there is a big underlying reason for it and it likely resides in your skillset rather than approach. You can't just change that skillset that much to make such a difference.

Really just making a statistical point. I used 100 because it's a nice, easy, round number. Sorry for not being clear on that.

But I disagree about it being a mostly skillset issue. Anyone can shorten their swing. It's very easy to do, and most of the time doesn't effect your swing on other pitches. Most of it has to do with waiting on pitches and learning how to foul off the ones you don't like. There is some skill in that, but it mostly is approach.

Kc61
07-22-2011, 04:18 PM
A big issue here is what the Reds expect from Stubbs.

Do they care if he's a good field, no hit centerfielder? Many such types have stayed in the major leagues for a good while.

If so, he'll probably hit seventh in the lineup eventually. That's about where a .720 OPS guy belongs.

If the Reds do expect Stubbs to be a top of the order hitter, then he has to improve and the best way to do that is to try to shorten his swing and cut down on the Ks.

dougdirt
07-22-2011, 04:24 PM
It would be players who never played in the steroid era, so probably not. I was referring to new players coming up. And considering how much harder pitcher throw now, and teams desire to get pitchers with higher K rates, I would imagine that actual K rates would be on the rise anyway.

Pitchers aren't throwing any harder today than they were from 93-2006.



But I disagree about it being a mostly skillset issue. Anyone can shorten their swing. It's very easy to do, and most of the time doesn't effect your swing on other pitches. Most of it has to do with waiting on pitches and learning how to foul off the ones you don't like. There is some skill in that, but it mostly is approach.
Changing your swing isn't very easy to do. If it were, a lot of guys would be better hitters than they are. There are plenty of guys who have the right tools to be good hitters, but just aren't. As for learning to foul off pitches you don't like, I think you are incredibly gullible if you think hitters can honestly intentionally foul a ball off in the Major Leagues. It happens by accident for players who are good hitters when they try to hit the ball forward. No one is thinking "man I should really swing at this with my 'foul ball" swing rather than my 'hit the ball' swing. It doesn't work that way in the pros. There is much too small a margin for error.

RedsManRick
07-22-2011, 04:27 PM
This isn't about strikeouts, people. We've had that debate 100 times. It's about strikeouts as they pertain to being a leadoff hitter. Stubbs isn't a great leadoff hitter because he doesn't get on base a ton. And that's in part because he strikes out a lot. But why the obsession with the strikeout? Why when we have a leadoff hitter with a .330 OBP who juts doesn't walk do we not hear about that. My point: too many people view strikeouts as a function of will, not skill. And if there is any spot in the lineup where strikeouts do the least amount of damage compared to other types of outs, it's at leadoff. That is to say, if there's one spot where people shouldn't care about strikeouts being different than normal outs, it's at leadoff.

But instead, as this thread shows, people get all worked up about strikeouts as if they're some big moral failure instead of just one way hitters fail. Could Stubbs choke up? Could he cut down on his swing? Yeah, I guess. And he could never hit another HR. It's not as easy as just changing our your grip. Players take the approach they do because over the course of the 15+ years they've been learning the game, they've adapted their approach to their skill set. To some extent, tweaking an approach can help. But you risk robbing Peter to pay Paul. Taking away a guy's HR power so he can leg out some IF singles is likely a net loss. But people see Ichiro do it and so want to shoehorn Stubbs in to that idea of a hitter.

dougdirt
07-22-2011, 04:29 PM
This isn't about strikeouts, people. We've had that debate 100 times. It's about strikeouts as they pertain to being a leadoff hitter. Stubbs isn't a great leadoff hitter because he doesn't get on base a ton. And that's in part because he strikes out a lot. But why the obsession with the strikeout? Why when we have a leadoff hitter with a .330 OBP who juts doesn't walk do we not hear about that. My point: too many people view strikeouts as a function of will, not skill.
I don't even know if its about the strikeout solely. I imagine if the Reds simply had a guy as fast as Brandon Phillips who was the exact same player as Stubbs is otherwise, we wouldn't hear it as much. But so many people seem to think that chopping the ball into the ground is going to mean Stubbs can turn into a .290 hitter because of his speed.

RedsManRick
07-22-2011, 04:33 PM
The statement would be better phrased, "Super fast players shouldn't strike out" Does that make any more sense?

Really, the phrase should be "nobody should ever strike out". Striking out is bad. If players could all be the exact same except that they never struck out, they'd all be better. But it doesn't work that way.

My problem is with the use of the word "should". "Should" suggests choice, but Stubbs doesn't choose to strike out. Just like he was born with a gift to run really freaking fast, he was not born with great hand-eye coordination. People just seem unwilling to accept that. Just because he would be better if it he struck out less and didn't change anything else doesn't mean that's actually possible.

Could he lower his strikeout's marginally through a different approach (swinging earlier) or cutting down his swing with 2-strikes? Yes. But he's not going to turn in to Ichiro with power no matter what approach he takes. If he were capable of being a significantly better hitter merely by trying to strike out less, he probably would have done it by now.

Expecting/asking players to be productive in a certain way instead of just having them be as productive as possible and adjusting your strategies & tactics to maximize the value is a recipe for failure.

757690
07-22-2011, 04:39 PM
Pitchers aren't throwing any harder today than they were from 93-2006.


Changing your swing isn't very easy to do. If it were, a lot of guys would be better hitters than they are. There are plenty of guys who have the right tools to be good hitters, but just aren't. As for learning to foul off pitches you don't like, I think you are incredibly gullible if you think hitters can honestly intentionally foul a ball off in the Major Leagues. It happens by accident for players who are good hitters when they try to hit the ball forward. No one is thinking "man I should really swing at this with my 'foul ball" swing rather than my 'hit the ball' swing. It doesn't work that way in the pros. There is much too small a margin for error.

I sucked at baseball, but when I did play, I have two swings. One for before two strikes and one after. I learned in in college from another player. It took about a day in the batting cage to master the two strike swing, and it had no effect on my regular swing. Guys I played with did it all the time, and they were not great athletes.

I and many other hitters I know definitely can foul off a pitch that they don't like. That's part of the shortened swing. You wait just an instant longer and with the shortened swing, the ball almost always slices away into the stands or straight back. Ted Williams was the master of it and taught many other hitters how to do it. Again, it takes about a day in the cage to learn it.

Making more contact is mostly approach, not skill, unless you count stubbornness as a skill, lol. Talk to most hitters, they will tell you that.

Chip R
07-22-2011, 04:46 PM
Ted Williams was the master of it and taught many other hitters how to do it. Again, it takes about a day in the cage to learn it.



Great. Let's see if the Reds can get Ted Williams' frozen head to help Stubbs with his 2 strike swing.

757690
07-22-2011, 04:51 PM
[QUOTE=RedsManRick;2444636]Taking away a guy's HR power so he can leg out some IF singles is likely a net loss. QUOTE]

Run the numbers. I did and it showed that it was net gain, at least 1 run for every 10 more balls put into play, assuming your power is cut in half.

757690
07-22-2011, 04:53 PM
That is to say, if there's one spot where people shouldn't care about strikeouts being different than normal outs, it's at leadoff.



I completely agree, and that's a great point. :)

dougdirt
07-22-2011, 05:02 PM
I sucked at baseball, but when I did play, I have two swings. One for before two strikes and one after. I learned in in college from another player. It took about a day in the batting cage to master the two strike swing, and it had no effect on my regular swing. Guys I played with did it all the time, and they were not great athletes.

I and many other hitters I know definitely can foul off a pitch that they don't like. That's part of the shortened swing. You wait just an instant longer and with the shortened swing, the ball almost always slices away into the stands or straight back. Ted Williams was the master of it and taught many other hitters how to do it. Again, it takes about a day in the cage to learn it.

Making more contact is mostly approach, not skill, unless you count stubbornness as a skill, lol. Talk to most hitters, they will tell you that.

You, your college teammate and Ted Williams weren't facing anything close to the kind of pitching that Drew Stubbs is facing day in and day out, so nothing that you guys were able to do against the substandard pitching is relevant to what Drew Stubbs should be able to do.

757690
07-22-2011, 05:08 PM
You, your college teammate and Ted Williams weren't facing anything close to the kind of pitching that Drew Stubbs is facing day in and day out, so nothing that you guys were able to do against the substandard pitching is relevant to what Drew Stubbs should be able to do.

And none of us (outside of Ted) have the talent and physical skills that Drew Stubbs has. I'll call it even.

Brutus
07-22-2011, 05:11 PM
You, your college teammate and Ted Williams weren't facing anything close to the kind of pitching that Drew Stubbs is facing day in and day out, so nothing that you guys were able to do against the substandard pitching is relevant to what Drew Stubbs should be able to do.

Come on, Doug, that's a silly position. Drew Stubbs is leading the majors in strikeouts by a large margin. So clearly even Stubbs' peers, who are facing the same pitching on a daily basis he's facing, are able to do something he's apparently not doing.

dougdirt
07-22-2011, 05:13 PM
Come on, Doug, that's a silly position. Drew Stubbs is leading the majors in strikeouts by a large margin. So clearly even Stubbs' peers, who are facing the same pitching on a daily basis he's facing, are able to do something he's apparently not doing.

Sure, but it isn't purposely choosing to foul off baseballs.

Johnny Footstool
07-22-2011, 05:22 PM
Right.

Here's another way to look at it.

Say two players each get 500 Plate Appearances.

Say each walks 50 times.

That leaves 450 chances to get hits for each.

A. Player one strikes out 50 times. That leaves 400 chances to get hits, hit homers, make productive outs, etc.

B. Player two strikes out 180 times. That leaves only 270 chances to get hits, hit homers, make productive outs, etc.

Player one makes contact 130 times more than player two.
This gives him much more opportunity to have successful at bats.

Once in awhile, player two - if he's as skilled as Ryan Howard was in 2006 - can contribute mightily despite 130 fewer opportunities.

But that type of season is rare. If you have two players who are otherwise equal, and one fails to make contact 130 more times, that hitter will likely suffer in comparison.

You're logic isn't sound here. You're mixing outcomes and opportunities.

And regardless, you should be concentrating on what a player does when he's *not* striking out.

signalhome
07-22-2011, 05:23 PM
Why isn't it simply possible that Stubbs lacks the hand-eye coordination to make more contact? Why does it have to be that he's just stubborn and unwilling?

AtomicDumpling
07-22-2011, 05:24 PM
I don't care how the leadoff hitter makes his outs. I only care about how many outs he makes. And that goes the same for hitters anywhere in the lineup.

There are many highly productive hitters that strike out often. In fact, many of the best hitters strike out a lot. Look at the list of guys at the top of the list of all-time strikeouts and you will see a lot of Hall of Famers.

Strikeouts are actually the least harmful type of out to make. In other words, if you are going to make an out then striking out is often the best way to do it. People fret about strikeouts being an "unproductive" out because you can't advance a runner. However what they tend to fail to realize is all the bad things that can happen when you make a contact out. Hitting into a double play is far, far more harmful than striking out -- not only have you made two outs but you erased a runner that had already gotten on base (something that only happens 1/3 of the time). Making contact can cause the lead runner to be thrown out. A line drive or flyball frequently causes a baserunner to get doubled off. Making contact can cause a good base runner to be replaced with a bad one. It could lead to a baserunning injury -- it happens a few times each year and can put a player out for a long time.

Occasionally a strikeout is even preferable to getting a hit. For example, there is a runner on second and the batter hits a sharp single to right field and the runner gets thrown out at home. Or say a man is on second and the batter beats out an infield hit on a close play, but the runner on second rounds third and tries to score when the throw goes to first and he gets thrown out.

Add in the fact that in the vast majority of cases it makes no difference what type of out is made. If there are two outs or there is nobody on base the type of out matters not. Most of the time even when there are runners on base it still doesn't matter what type of out was made.

Seeing a lot of pitches leads to both walks and Ks. Guys who strike out a lot also tend to walk more often, which helps their OBP.

In most games there are several instances where the team would have been better off if the hitter had struck out instead of making an out a different way. Watch tonight's game and ask yourself after every at-bat if the result was worse than a strikeout.

The net effect of strikeouts is no more harmful than other ways of making outs. People should stop focusing on strikeouts. What matters is how many outs you make, not how you make them.

reds44
07-22-2011, 05:24 PM
Why isn't it simply possible that Stubbs lacks the hand-eye coordination to make more contact? Why does it have to be that he's just stubborn and unwilling?
The same reason why Volquez not being able to throw strikes his because he's too dumb or too afraid.

757690
07-22-2011, 05:31 PM
Why isn't it simply possible that Stubbs lacks the hand-eye coordination to make more contact? Why does it have to be that he's just stubborn and unwilling?

Why can't it be both?

Considering how K's he has, it's probably not just one thing.

AtomicDumpling
07-22-2011, 05:45 PM
I sucked at baseball, but when I did play, I have two swings. One for before two strikes and one after. I learned in in college from another player. It took about a day in the batting cage to master the two strike swing, and it had no effect on my regular swing. Guys I played with did it all the time, and they were not great athletes.

I and many other hitters I know definitely can foul off a pitch that they don't like. That's part of the shortened swing. You wait just an instant longer and with the shortened swing, the ball almost always slices away into the stands or straight back. Ted Williams was the master of it and taught many other hitters how to do it. Again, it takes about a day in the cage to learn it.

Making more contact is mostly approach, not skill, unless you count stubbornness as a skill, lol. Talk to most hitters, they will tell you that.

I think the last thing in the world Drew Stubbs should do is alter his swing based on the count. That is pretty much guaranteed to makes things worse. The only guy on the Reds that can situationally adjust his swing is Joey Votto and I think he has been doing it way too often this year and it has sapped his power.

Stubbs needs to improve his pitch recognition most of all. He needs to study more film of upcoming pitchers to learn the pitcher's motion and delivery. Stubbs is too easily fooled by changing speeds. Usually when he swings and misses it is his timing that is off rather than the accuracy of his swing. I think he needs to look for a certain pitch and sit on it instead of trying to react to every individual pitch that is thrown.

IslandRed
07-22-2011, 07:38 PM
Expecting/asking players to be productive in a certain way instead of just having them be as productive as possible and adjusting your strategies & tactics to maximize the value is a recipe for failure.

If you're talking about 30-year-olds whose careers are about maintaining the skills they have, then sure.

But again, to me, this isn't about telling Stubbs, "you should be striking out less because you're a leadoff hitter." This is about telling Stubbs, "this is what's in the way of you getting better." I don't believe he's a finished product and I don't believe it's a waste of time for him to work on the huge gaping flaw in his game that's holding him back.

RedsManRick
07-22-2011, 07:46 PM
If you're talking about 30-year-olds whose careers are about maintaining the skills they have, then sure.

But again, to me, this isn't about telling Stubbs, "you should be striking out less because you're a leadoff hitter." This is about telling Stubbs, "this is what's in the way of you getting better." I don't believe he's a finished product and I don't believe it's a waste of time for him to work on the huge gaping flaw in his game that's holding him back.

Out of 155 qualified hitters, Stubbs ranks:
30th lowest in O-Swing% (% of pitches out of the zone swung at)
80th lowest in Z-Swing% (% of pitches out of the zone swung at)
8th lowest in O-Contact%
12th lowest in Z-Contact%

This is a guy who doesn't chase very much and is solidly middle of the pack in swinging at strikes, so it's not like he's necessarily too agressive nor too patient. This is a guy who simply struggles to make contact, pure and simple. Yes, he can and perhaps should work on cutting down on his swing to address that. But I think you vastly over-estimate the ability for hitters to increase their ability to make contact. Sure, Stubbs could improve. But why do people seem to think a guy can make drastic improvement in contact when they wouldn't make the same comment about speed or power? Contact rate is a more like those things than it is plate discipline. It's a physical ability. And Stubbs is pushing 27, he's not some fledgling prospect trying to figure out how his body works...

Wheelhouse
07-22-2011, 07:51 PM
[QUOTE=dougdirt;2444550]Maybe it is just me, but I see speed as a complimentary skillset to ones offense, not something it should be built around. Speed is nice to have, but no player has ever been a good hitter because he was fast. A lot of players have been good hitters because they had a good eye or had a power or were able to make good contact.[/]

Actually, any player who's got a bunch of infield hits has become a better hitter because of speed. Stubbs has the ability to get 50 infield hits a year. Speed also effects the opponent's defense.

RedsManRick
07-22-2011, 08:00 PM
Maybe it is just me, but I see speed as a complimentary skillset to ones offense, not something it should be built around. Speed is nice to have, but no player has ever been a good hitter because he was fast. A lot of players have been good hitters because they had a good eye or had a power or were able to make good contact.

Actually, any player who's got a bunch of infield hits has become a better hitter because of speed. Stubbs has the ability to get 50 infield hits a year. Speed also effects the opponent's defense.

Doug's point is that while speed can help you leg out more infield hits, you can't be a good hitter on infield hits alone. A guy who is a poor hitter but who is really fast is still a poor hitter.

And 60% of the way through the season, the league leader in infield hits is Ichiro, who is on pace for 35. And precisely to Doug's point, Ichiro is hitting .265/.312/.314. Without taking walks and without any power, Ichiro is a below replacement hitter this year, despite striking out as little as he has in 10 years.

IslandRed
07-22-2011, 08:07 PM
I think you vastly over-estimate the ability for hitters to increase their ability to make contact. Sure, Stubbs could improve. But why do people seem to think a guy can make drastic improvement in contact when they wouldn't make the same comment about speed or power?

As noted elsewhere in the thread, hitters all throughout baseball history have had a "contact" swing that succeeded in making contact more frequently than their "hit the ball as hard as I can" swing. So, yes, I assume it is possible. Speed and power are tools; contact is a skill to me, and skills can improve. (To a point.)

It's also possible that Stubbs is already trying that and it isn't working, or that he isn't trying it but it wouldn't work even if he did. No guarantees.

What we know for certain is, there are specific counts in a plate appearance where Stubbs becomes worthless. That's all I'm talking about -- trying to find a way to produce something in the situations where he's producing virtually nothing. Especially since those situations are frequent enough that they're a drag on his overall performance.

Brutus
07-22-2011, 08:21 PM
What especially hurts Stubbs is that while he's been one of the worst in the majors at simply making contact, as a percentage of pitches he swings at, he's also swung at far fewer pitches than league average. So some of it is self-inflicted in that he takes a lot of pitches and then when he's forced to swing with two strikes, he's not shortening his swing and making contact.

So either he needs to change his approach at the plate in general or change his swing with two strikes. Because his current methodology is not working.

fearofpopvol1
07-22-2011, 08:54 PM
To me, as RMR suggested, it's silly to only look at the Ks for Stubbs. It's all about the OBP. You want your leadoff guy to get on base at a good clip, to be a placeholder for the guys behind you. That's just not in Stubbs' game. I'd like to see him put in the 2 hole honestly. Or if not there, then the 5-6 hole. He looked a lot better and more comfortable in the 6 spot last year. But Dusty's conventional wisdom says to put the speediest guy at the top of the lineup, regardless of their game.

jojo
07-22-2011, 09:26 PM
The biggest problem with Stubbs to date isn't what he's done over his first 1200 PAs. It's what he hasnt done over his first 2400 defensive innings. He has yet to emerge as an elite defensive center fielder. Regardless of debates about his power potential, defense was always going to be a significant part of his value and thus far, he hasnt reached that potential.

Mario-Rijo
07-22-2011, 09:35 PM
Really, the phrase should be "nobody should ever strike out". Striking out is bad. If players could all be the exact same except that they never struck out, they'd all be better. But it doesn't work that way.

My problem is with the use of the word "should". "Should" suggests choice, but Stubbs doesn't choose to strike out. Just like he was born with a gift to run really freaking fast, he was not born with great hand-eye coordination. People just seem unwilling to accept that. Just because he would be better if it he struck out less and didn't change anything else doesn't mean that's actually possible.

Could he lower his strikeout's marginally through a different approach (swinging earlier) or cutting down his swing with 2-strikes? Yes. But he's not going to turn in to Ichiro with power no matter what approach he takes. If he were capable of being a significantly better hitter merely by trying to strike out less, he probably would have done it by now.

Expecting/asking players to be productive in a certain way instead of just having them be as productive as possible and adjusting your strategies & tactics to maximize the value is a recipe for failure.

I think this whole point is a bit overstated. Asking players to improve something is a reasonable expectation for anyone and everyone. What you are trying to tell all of us is that you know Stubbs cannot improve his contact because he just wasn't born with great hand eye co-ordination. First of all hand eye co-ordination is something that is improvable thru practice, it's not a talent it is a skill. Maybe he can and maybe cannot improve his but I don't think you can know that for sure watching him play the game of baseball. The fact is you don't know that he can't improve his contact rate, you don't know what his problem is, it may very well be that he is just being stubborn. I'd say there is a bit more proof of that than any other possibility. Why, well when he has choked up in his career he has shown positive results relative to what he was doing when he wasn't choked up at the same stage. But then when this happened (for Donnie Scott in Dayton) Stubbs gave no creedence to it helping and eventually went back to doing it his way (though he still does choke up a bit to his credit). That doesn't concrete unwillingness as his problem but it doesn't help his case IMO. The fact is none of us really know and it's really fair to speculate anything or nothing at all.

But to suggest that you know with certainty what his problem is and that the naysayers should just stop saying he is unwilling is a big time reach at best. Same arguments we have always had about Dunn and nothing was ever settled and neither will this because we will likely never really know. But skills are fixable, guys do close holes in their swing, they can improve things with approach and I think Stubbs can do but as long as he can hang around .250 I am not gonna get overly worked up about it because unlike Dunn he has other ways he can help the team. But I do know one thing for certain, the more conversations like this we have the more people will begin to take sides and that isn't particularly good for Stubbs.

757690
07-22-2011, 09:44 PM
The biggest problem with Stubbs to date isn't what he's done over his first 1200 PAs. It's what he hasnt done over his first 2400 defensive innings. He has yet to emerge as an elite defensive center fielder. Regardless of debates about his power potential, defense was always going to be a significant part of his value and thus far, he hasnt reached that potential.

That's a good point. He really hasn't improved defensively much, if at all, since he came up.

Hopefully, he's just a slow learner, lol.

cincinnati chili
07-23-2011, 02:40 AM
Of course, but why not then just make the conversation about OBP, rather than focusing on how that OBP is generated?


Amen. Whether he gets on base by "putting the ball in play", working the count, or voodoo, doesn't matter.

It would be nice to see Stubbs take a different approach with a guy on third and less than 2 outs. Otherwise, I could care less about the strikeouts.

Brutus
07-23-2011, 03:31 AM
No one can improve an OBP if they don't "focus on how it's generated."

Stubbs' has a .330 OBP. Included in that is a high BABIP and a sufficient walk rate. So it stands to reason that it IS his strikeouts holding him back from a higher OBP. I'd say it's very relevant to discuss how it's generated.

That's like Ford saying 'let's focus on getting cars built' without discussing the details of how to actually build the car.

So look at this way: Stubbs has a .351 BABIP. We can't expect that to go any higher to improve his OBP. That leaves us to either improve his walk rate (9.2% currently) or lower his strikeout rate (29.9%). It seems very clear of those three components what needs done. Yes?

GAC
07-23-2011, 05:44 AM
An outs and out. But I want a higher OB% at lead-off then what Stubbs is currently bringing. But we currently don't have any other alternatives at lead-off other then Stubbs.

But lets quit talking so much about the lead-off spot and emphasize the spot in the order that is really killing us...... clean-up!

dabvu2498
07-23-2011, 06:32 AM
12 of Stubbs' 41 career HRs have come with 2 strikes on him. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Johnny Footstool
07-23-2011, 10:29 AM
12 of Stubbs' 41 career HRs have come with 2 strikes on him. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

What percentage of Stubbs' ABs have included a two-strike count? I'd imagine it's disproportionally high, too.

Johnny Footstool
07-23-2011, 10:32 AM
No one can improve an OBP if they don't "focus on how it's generated."

Stubbs' has a .330 OBP. Included in that is a high BABIP and a sufficient walk rate. So it stands to reason that it IS his strikeouts holding him back from a higher OBP. I'd say it's very relevant to discuss how it's generated.

That's like Ford saying 'let's focus on getting cars built' without discussing the details of how to actually build the car.

So look at this way: Stubbs has a .351 BABIP. We can't expect that to go any higher to improve his OBP. That leaves us to either improve his walk rate (9.2% currently) or lower his strikeout rate (29.9%). It seems very clear of those three components what needs done. Yes?

That walk rate isn't good.

It's like I said earlier, when a guy has a poor walk rate and a lot of strikeouts, he's overmatched. He needs to improve pitch recognition make some improvements in his swing to make *quality* contact. If he can do those things, his walks will increase and his Ks will decline.

dabvu2498
07-23-2011, 11:46 AM
What percentage of Stubbs' ABs have included a two-strike count? I'd imagine it's disproportionally high, too.

676/1208 plate appearances.

mth123
07-23-2011, 12:17 PM
Stubbs is a platoon player in the Gomes mold. Speed and defense is all that separates them. He may as well get a mohawk. The main objection that I have to Heisey getting more PT in LF is that I think he should be starting in center against RHP.

Stubbs looks like a lefty killer, pinch runner and defensive replacement. Ryan Spilborgs comes to mind, but Stubbs has more tools IMO.

RedsManRick
07-23-2011, 12:39 PM
No one can improve an OBP if they don't "focus on how it's generated."

Stubbs' has a .330 OBP. Included in that is a high BABIP and a sufficient walk rate. So it stands to reason that it IS his strikeouts holding him back from a higher OBP. I'd say it's very relevant to discuss how it's generated.

That's like Ford saying 'let's focus on getting cars built' without discussing the details of how to actually build the car.

So look at this way: Stubbs has a .351 BABIP. We can't expect that to go any higher to improve his OBP. That leaves us to either improve his walk rate (9.2% currently) or lower his strikeout rate (29.9%). It seems very clear of those three components what needs done. Yes?

This starts with the presupposition that his #1 goal should be increasing his OBP. In general, I'm fine with that idea for all hitters. And if you start with the idea that Stubbs should be a leadoff hitter, it makes all the more sense. But if you accept the package of skills he has and look at how you can best maximize their value, maybe it doesn't make sense to put such a weight on cutting down the strikeouts if it adversely affects other things.

I get your point and I agree with it. Stubbs is not going to move the OBP needle substantially without cutting down on his strikeouts. However, at some point, a player bumps against his physical limitations. We know he has power; one way to strike out less is to have pitchers throw you fewer strikes as a result of being scared of grooving you one. Maybe the route to fewer strikeouts is trying to hit for more power, not less.

Just to illustrate the point, what if Stubbs' focus on cutting down his strikeout numbers through early count swinging and cutting down his swing with 2 strikes is the reason his SLG is down 50 points? I certainly don't know this to be the case, but I think it's a question worth asking.

When you ask a guy to change his approach, you can't just hold everything else steady. It affects his numbers across the board. It's possible that by emphasizing with Stubbs a thing he's not physically capable of doing much better than he already does, he could be underperforming his potential elsewhere.

I'm all for the idea of him cutting down on his strikeouts. I'd just like to see an example or two of a player who cut way down on strikeouts and came out significantly ahead. But most of all, I'd like to see people worry about maximizing a player's production based on his skill set, rather than on the imagined role we'd like him to fill in the batting order.

Cooper
07-23-2011, 01:46 PM
I've always wondered if his defensive metrics aren't effected by the size of the park he plays in. You have a big center field area to cover and i would think that it would boost your numbers, but i may be speakiing out of turn -it's possible the latest metrics factor that in.

Tony Cloninger
07-23-2011, 02:30 PM
What especially hurts Stubbs is that while he's been one of the worst in the majors at simply making contact, as a percentage of pitches he swings at, he's also swung at far fewer pitches than league average. So some of it is self-inflicted in that he takes a lot of pitches and then when he's forced to swing with two strikes, he's not shortening his swing and making contact.

So either he needs to change his approach at the plate in general or change his swing with two strikes. Because his current methodology is not working.

I was told in response to one of my posts in regards to him a few weeks back....that with his 25+ homer potential, he should be just left alone. No trying to use his speed to see if he can bunt his way on.

I mean if you want him as your 6th hitter to sit there and hit 25-30 HR and have a BA around .250 and OBP about barely .330 then that's fine. I think he could be better than that by taking the approach you state and at least trying to bunt more. He can still hit for power but be a better hitter overall.

Brutus
07-23-2011, 03:25 PM
That walk rate isn't good.

It's like I said earlier, when a guy has a poor walk rate and a lot of strikeouts, he's overmatched. He needs to improve pitch recognition make some improvements in his swing to make *quality* contact. If he can do those things, his walks will increase and his Ks will decline.

League average this year is 8.2%. He's 12% above league average. You don't consider that good?

Johnny Footstool
07-23-2011, 04:38 PM
League average this year is 8.2%. He's 12% above league average. You don't consider that good?

No, I don't. It's slightly above average. It would have to be over 10% to even start a discussion.

Brutus
07-23-2011, 04:44 PM
No, I don't. It's slightly above average. It would have to be over 10% to even start a discussion.

It's still above average. That might not be great, but if it's above average, I can't believe that isn't considered good. After all, "above" average kind of says it all.

Raisor
07-23-2011, 05:45 PM
Great. Let's see if the Reds can get Ted Williams' frozen head to help Stubbs with his 2 strike swing.

I haven't read the rest of the thread yet, but a billion bonus points for Ted Williams frozen head.


Edit to add:
Alright, I read the rest of the thread.

Feels like 2004 all over again.

Bad Fundamentals will show up in 3...2...1...