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View Full Version : Doc: Stubbs should channel Matty Alou & Harry Walker



redsmetz
11-06-2011, 09:42 AM
Interesting that I thought of Stubbs yesterday while reading the comments about Matty Alou. So did Paul Daugherty.

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20111105/COL03/311050175/Doc-Stubbs-could-learn-from-Matty-Hat-

RANDY IN INDY
11-06-2011, 10:33 AM
Don't think Matty Alou ever had the power potential of Drew Stubbs. Why fit a square peg in a round hole?

oneupper
11-06-2011, 10:35 AM
I think Stubbs tried choking up in the minors, as reported here in the minors forum.
Not sure how that worked, but maybe it wasn't that well.

redsmetz
11-06-2011, 10:51 AM
[WQUOTE=RANDY IN INDY;2499055]Don't think Matty Alou ever had the power potential of Drew Stubbs. Why fit a square peg in a round hole?[/QUOTE]

I think Daugherty acknowledges that to a degree with mentioning Stubbs has much more talent. He's a player I'd like to see make a jump this season.

mth123
11-06-2011, 10:56 AM
Stubbs doesn't need to change his swing. He needs to change when he swings.

757690
11-06-2011, 11:21 AM
Stubbs is a horrible two strike hitter, with virtually no power in those situations. If he choked up when he had two strikes, he probably wouldn't lose any power, but would get on base more.

mth123
11-06-2011, 11:40 AM
Stubbs is a horrible two strike hitter, with virtually no power in those situations. If he choked up when he had two strikes, he probably wouldn't lose any power, but would get on base more.

Maybe. IMO, his problem is he lets the good ones go by early in the count and puts himself in a position of swinging at the pitchers pitch all too often. Seeing a lot of pitches and going deep in the count is equated as a good thing, but its not when a guy is completely clueless up there. The purpose of going deep into the count is to work the pitcher to make him pitch to you with something you can hit hard somewhere. Stubbs is the exact opposite of this IMO. He lets the fat ones go by early and then has to swing at the less hittable ones late and makes weak contact, Ks or takes ones on the black and gets called out on strikes. Stubbs may see a lot off pitches and even get a decent amount of walks as a result, but what he does is not what plate discipline is all about. He's one of the most clueless hitters I've seen up there. I hope the Reds can find a taker who will pay the Reds something decent for Stubbs' tools and potential, but I see him fading into a part-time role followed by fringe major leaguer status over the next couple years without some major changes to his game. I'd rather the Reds get something with less potential but more certainty and let someody else try to "fix him."

RedsManRick
11-06-2011, 12:20 PM
I think Ryan Hanigan should start swinging for the fences. When Jose Bautista did that, he became awesome. I mean, what if he hit 20 HR next year? Well, that's as silly as wishcasting 100 Ks for Stubbs. Drew Stubbs is not physically capable of being a contact hitter, but that doesn't seem to stop people from suggesting he try...

I'm so tired of people treating the ability to make contact like it's primarily a function of choice. Stubbs does not have good hand-eye coordination. Cutting down his swing won't change that. Or more precisely, to the extent that it would increase his contact rate, it will very possibly do more harm to his power output than good to his batting average. In some situations, should Stubbs shorten up? Sure. Should he continue to work on his ability to lay down a bunt? Without a doubt. Should he fundamentally rework his approach such that he envisions himself a slap-hitter? No.

I think one of the big reasons STubbs struggled so much last year was confusion over what he should be trying to do. He was clearly beating himself up over the strikeouts which made him tentative. He seemed (curious if this perception is accurate) to swing more early in the count out of fear of getting behind. The lesson of Matty Alou is that player's approach should be tailored to maximize his talent. But just because a guy is fast doesn't mean he's got the talent to be a singles hitter.

CySeymour
11-06-2011, 01:02 PM
I also thing hitters back then used heavier bats then the players of today, which helps eliminate the need to choke up.

757690
11-06-2011, 01:09 PM
If you have the eye hand coordination to hit 20+ homers in the majors, you have it to be a decent contact hitter.

Being a contact hitter is mostly about approach and pitch recognition, both of which can be taught. Although, to be honest, I don't think Stubbs is very teachable.

Stubbs doesn't have to change his swing, just his approach with two strikes. If he would choke up on the bat, and focus on fouling off tough pitches, he could greatly increase his OBP. But like I said, I'm not sure he's mentally able to do that.

dougdirt
11-06-2011, 01:16 PM
If you have the eye hand coordination to hit 20+ homers in the majors, you have it to be a decent contact hitter.

Being a contact hitter is mostly about approach and pitch recognition, both of which can be taught. Although, to be honest, I don't think Stubbs is very teachable.

Stubbs doesn't have to change his swing, just his approach with two strikes. If he would choke up on the bat, and focus on fouling off tough pitches, he could greatly increase his OBP. But like I said, I'm not sure he's mentally able to do that.

I am not of the belief that pitch recognition is all that teachable. If it were, a lot more guys would be better hitters. I also don't think that "fouling off tough pitches" is something that 99.9% of hitters have the bat control to do. If guys could do such a thing, they would also be able to hit line drives when they wanted to. But they can't. The difference between a line drive and a foul ball straight back is about an inch.

jojo
11-06-2011, 01:18 PM
Stubbs doesn't need to change his swing. He needs to change when he swings.

He just needs to quit missing so much.

westofyou
11-06-2011, 01:49 PM
Doc needs to channel Jim Murray, Red Smith or Leonard Koppett.

RedsManRick
11-06-2011, 01:58 PM
Doc needs to channel Jim Murray, Red Smith or Leonard Koppett.

:beerme:

mth123
11-06-2011, 02:04 PM
He just needs to quit missing so much.

Yeah, but the reason he's missing so much is becaue he takes too many fat ones early and then has to swing at ones that are more difficult to handle with 2 strikes.

He's got the power to run into a mistake and hit it a long way and he gets walks as a side effect of being afraid to swing the bat, but he is just not a very good hitter.

If its not too late to get a decent offer, its time to deal him.

nate
11-06-2011, 03:58 PM
Being a contact hitter is mostly about approach and pitch recognition, both of which can be taught. Although, to be honest, I don't think Stubbs is very teachable.

To be honest, I don't think the Reds employ very good teachers.

The Operator
11-06-2011, 04:26 PM
I thought Adam Dunn played for the White Sox - oh wait, same thread different player.

Everyone always said the key for Dunn to be the monster everyone thought he could be was to be more aggressive early in the count - and when Dunn tried that early on in his career it led to one of his worst years ever.

Stubbs just isn't that great of a hitter. At any time in the count. Put him in the 7 hole where running into the occasional mistake and hitting it a mile can help the team more than forcing him to try and slap the ball around and then criticizing him when he doesn't do it successfully.

wlf WV
11-06-2011, 04:55 PM
Seems one side values power more than speed.Choking up improves contact.They have been doing it ever since I've been watching baseball and I suspect before.

I don't know if this is the answer for Drew,maybe something's wrong with his eyesight.

dougdirt
11-06-2011, 04:58 PM
Seems one side values power more than speed.Choking up improves contact.They have been doing it ever since I've been watching baseball and I suspect before.

I don't know if this is the answer for Drew,maybe somethings wrong with his eyesight.

Or maybe he just doesn't read the ball well. There is only so much that one can do. Everything can't be taught. Some things you are just born to be able to do better than others.

Side question.... what is the thought process behind choking up? What benefits does it give aside from shortening the length of the bat?

wlf WV
11-06-2011, 05:21 PM
Or maybe he just doesn't read the ball well. There is only so much that one can do. Everything can't be taught. Some things you are just born to be able to do better than others.

Side question.... what is the thought process behind choking up? What benefits does it give aside from shortening the length of the bat?
More control.Evidenced in that most everyone does it when bunting.As you alluded,shorter angles and arcs.

I'm not saying Drew should do this,just that contact rate can be affected.

dougdirt
11-06-2011, 05:36 PM
More control.Evidenced in that most everyone does it when bunting.As you alluded,shorter angles and arcs.

I'm not saying Drew should do this,just that contact rate can be affected.

Bunting isn't swinging, so the fact that someone does something while bunting is irrelevant to what they do while swinging.

If it does indeed give you more control, why not just use a bat that is an inch shorter and not choke up? I am not questioning you here, I am generally just curious about the whole thing.

wlf WV
11-06-2011, 05:57 PM
Bunting isn't swinging, so the fact that someone does something while bunting is irrelevant to what they do while swinging.

If it does indeed give you more control, why not just use a bat that is an inch shorter and not choke up? I am not questioning you here, I am generally just curious about the whole thing.
It's a circumstantial thing,kinda like letting the ball get deep with two strikes and taking the ball to the opposite field.

Not all AB or AB counts are the same.

The Operator
11-06-2011, 05:58 PM
Seems one side values power more than speed.No, I just like putting guys into positions where they can succeed - and that usually entails maximizing their strengths. Stubbs has a lot of raw power, but frankly he's terrible at making contact. Put him lower in the order where the K's won't hurt as bad and let him run into a few mistakes here and there and rack up a few RBI.

mth123
11-06-2011, 06:01 PM
Choking up does give you more control. Pick up a bat and try it.

It also means that you won't hit one off the handle and mostly will get the fat part of the bat on the ball, but it takes away leverage and power.

Stubbs could do this and improve a bit IMO, but it would take away the threat that makes him intriguing. He just needs to learn to not be afraid to swing at a good one instead of always looking to go 5 or 6 pitches deep into the at bat.

Plate discipline is about two things:

1. Don't swing at pitches you can't handle if you have an option.

2. Don't let a good pitch to hit go by.

IMO, Stubbs approach is more like

1. Don't swing unless you have to.

Pitchers carve a guy like that up. Stubbs doesn't have plate discipline. Not even close.

I'm not a proponent of Stubbs swinging at the first pitch or taking until he has to. I'm a proponent of: (1) swinging at pitches that are good to hit no matter where they are in the count, (2) not swinging at pitches he can't hanlde with less than 2 strikes and (3) protecting the plate when he does have two strikes. He's not very good at number 3. IMO, the best way to improve his results is not to alter his approach with two strikes, its to avoid getting himself in so many unfavorable counts in the first place.

I'm not optimistic that he can do it.

dougdirt
11-06-2011, 06:03 PM
It's a circumstantial thing,kinda like letting the ball get deep with two strikes and taking the ball to the opposite field.

Not all AB or AB counts are the same.

Well, that makes sense (the letting the ball get deeper part). I am still not entirely sure choking up does though. Not saying it doesn't, I am just not entirely sure it does either. It is something that has been done forever, but that doesn't mean it makes the same kind of difference today as it did in 1920 because we aren't using 38 inch long bats that weigh 46 ounces anymore. I am just looking for something that makes some sense to explain why it actually is beneficial.

traderumor
11-06-2011, 06:42 PM
I'm not sure I've read an article so full of baseball myths since I read Baseball Digest cover to cover growing up.

dabvu2498
11-06-2011, 07:18 PM
Doc needs to channel Jim Murray, Red Smith or Leonard Koppett.

Less likely than Stubbs hitting .330.

oneupper
11-06-2011, 08:50 PM
Texasdave from the SunDeck sent me this link.
Stubbs has been down this road before.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/2007/08/choking-up-for-big-hits/



Choking Up For Big Hits

Posted Aug. 21, 2007 8:58 am by J.J. Cooper
Filed under: Daily Dish
A little over a week ago, Dayton manager Donnie Scott and hitting coach Darren Bragg told their team that everyone was going to choke up on the bat. Tired of seeing inopportune strikeouts and looking for a way to speed up bats that were dragging in the August heat, the coaches thought choking up could help fix some bad habits.

Drew Stubbs and Juan Francisco can be thankful for the switch.

westofyou
11-06-2011, 09:24 PM
Less likely than Stubbs hitting .330.

Everyone has a ceiling, Doc bumps his head whenever he writes about baseball.

dabvu2498
11-06-2011, 09:29 PM
Everyone has a ceiling, Doc bumps his head whenever he writes about baseball.

He writes a decent enough personal interest story. Whenever he gets into "analysis," he loses me.

dabvu2498
11-06-2011, 09:34 PM
On the whole choking up issue, doesn't using a shorter, lighter bat do pretty much the same thing? Call me crazy.

TRF
11-08-2011, 03:14 PM
On the whole choking up issue, doesn't using a shorter, lighter bat do pretty much the same thing? Call me crazy.

no.

The shorter bat doesn't lose as many inches as choking up might. also there is an overall control factor.

And IMO all this is moot. the Reds had no idea what kind of player Stubbs was when they drafted him, they saw what they wanted to see: 50 SB's at the top of the order. He's not that guy.

Bat him 7th. He'll hit .260 steal 35, and hit 25 HR's. That would make him a top 5 CF offensively.

lollipopcurve
11-08-2011, 03:22 PM
the Reds had no idea what kind of player Stubbs was when they drafted him, they saw what they wanted to see: 50 SB's at the top of the order. He's not that guy.

Bat him 7th. He'll hit .260 steal 35, and hit 25 HR's.

Thing is, he practically did that in 2010, based on a very strong finish hitting 6th/7th. Then Dusty insisted on hitting him leadoff throughout most of 2011. I wouldn't put it on the organization as a whole. Dusty makes out the lineup card.

TRF
11-08-2011, 03:27 PM
Thing is, he practically did that in 2010, based on a very strong finish hitting 6th/7th. Then Dusty insisted on hitting him leadoff throughout most of 2011. I wouldn't put it on the organization as a whole. Dusty makes out the lineup card.

True, but look at his minor league numbers, where he hit the majority of the time.

They saw leadoff hitter, and Dusty fell right in with that thinking.

lollipopcurve
11-08-2011, 03:28 PM
True, but look at his minor league numbers, where he hit the majority of the time.

They saw leadoff hitter, and Dusty fell right in with that thinking.

Fair enough.

traderumor
11-08-2011, 03:36 PM
no.

The shorter bat doesn't lose as many inches as choking up might. also there is an overall control factor.

And IMO all this is moot. the Reds had no idea what kind of player Stubbs was when they drafted him, they saw what they wanted to see: 50 SB's at the top of the order. He's not that guy.

Bat him 7th. He'll hit .260 steal 35, and hit 25 HR's. That would make him a top 5 CF offensively.I think they saw speed and power #5-6 hitter who played excellent defense. So, you drop him a few spots in the order. They didn't know what they have? I'd call that a very modest disappointment. Of course, with neither of us having scouting reports and draft notes...

I think the top of the order has been from happenstance because of a need and no clear candidates.

REDREAD
11-08-2011, 03:39 PM
If it does indeed give you more control, why not just use a bat that is an inch shorter and not choke up? I am not questioning you here, I am generally just curious about the whole thing.

I think there was an infielder in the 70s or 80s that did just that.
He choked up all the time, so he just cut off part of the handle of the bat.

REDREAD
11-08-2011, 03:43 PM
True, but look at his minor league numbers, where he hit the majority of the time.

They saw leadoff hitter, and Dusty fell right in with that thinking.

I think it's more of a case that the Reds only have one guy that can bat leadoff -- Phillips. But they also like to hit Phillips in the middle of the order as well.

Other than Phillips, whoever they bat leadoff is miscast on this roster.
Stubbs is a decent compromise when you consider that, even with his warts.

TRF
11-08-2011, 03:46 PM
I've followed Stubbs career very closely. I doubted his power based on results without listening to doug's physical description of his power potential. It's been 5 years now, and here is my assessment.

Stubbs' in many ways is Adam Dunn lite. He'll probably give you 65+ BB's a year, can reach 30 HR's, but will likely sit in the 20-25 range. He'll strike out a ton. Where he differs is speed and defense. Early on, Dunn could steal a base, but he hadn't stopped growing. his frame just got too big. Stubbs what... 6'4? 6.5? Eventually his speed will diminish. His SB% is about 82% for his career, just slightly south of being truly productive, but I believe in quantity having an offsetting effect. The sheer number of SB's can be distracting as long as you stay above 80%.

I don't believe he is aggressive enough on the basepaths when he puts the ball in play. nearly 100 more AB's this year than last year and only 3 more doubles? 7 fewer HR's. He was lost at the plate the for most of the second half. Only April and July did he have anything resembling a decent OBP.

But I digress... that is looking backward.

Looking forward for him to be successful, he needs his manager to let him play his game at the plate. Let him not be concerned with fitting a specific role, but rather let his physical talents and his skill complement each other. He has tremendous speed, plus power and a stolen base ability. So let him relax, and run into a few. He's going to have guys on base, so let his swing loose. Give him the green light and encourage him to steal. Let him swing at the first pitch occasionally.

.255 .329 .444 .773 from your CF. that was his 2010 line good for 6th best in the NL.

That ain't bad.

dabvu2498
11-08-2011, 03:46 PM
The shorter bat doesn't lose as many inches as choking up might. also there is an overall control factor.


Can't these guys get bats just about whatever dimensions they want, within the rules?

If you're using a 34 inch bat and choking up 2 inches, why not just use a 31.5 inch bat?

I'm saying this because when I played, I had a mental block on choking up. For whatever reason, I couldn't stand the idea of my hands being off the knob of the bat. Easy solution: use smaller bat.

Regardless, as others have said, bat control is not Stubbs' problem. Pitch recognition/selection is.

TRF
11-08-2011, 03:51 PM
Can't these guys get bats just about whatever dimensions they want, within the rules?

If you're using a 34 inch bat and choking up 2 inches, why not just use a 31.5 inch bat?

I'm saying this because when I played, I had a mental block on choking up. For whatever reason, I couldn't stand the idea of my hands being off the knob of the bat. Easy solution: use smaller bat.

Regardless, as others have said, bat control is not Stubbs' problem. Pitch recognition/selection is.

Do you have a bat handy? the difference is the balance, where you hold the bat is different. holding a shorter bat at the end means you also have less mass to put on the ball aside from the fact that all the bat extends from your grip. choking up distributes the weight more. like holding a bat from the very end is harder than holding it from the middle even though the weight is the same.

dabvu2498
11-08-2011, 04:06 PM
But isn't that the point of choking up? To take some of the mass out of the bat?

IslandRed
11-08-2011, 04:23 PM
On the whole choking up issue, doesn't using a shorter, lighter bat do pretty much the same thing? Call me crazy.

Pretty much. But then, I think the notion is to choke up with two strikes (when his effective power is mostly nonexistent anyway, so may as well try to put it in play and leg into a hit), not the entire at-bat. Unless he's going to switch lumber mid-at-bat, that leaves choking up.

I don't know if it would work, to be honest, but I'll also say there's little to be lost in the attempt. Once in an 0-2 or 1-2 hole, may as well have one of the pitchers up there.

I also wrote this in a previous thread about Stubbs and CF:

---------------

Regarding the pitch recognition versus plate discipline -- it's got to be something. If you go to FanGraphs and look at his raw percentages -- how often he swings in and out of the zone, how often he makes contact, etc. -- and compare them to the percentages of, say, Jay Bruce and Joey Votto, it's difficult to decipher why he's striking out so dadgum much more than they are.

About all I have is a somewhat elevated strikes-out-looking rate -- he took the backwards K approximately 65 times this year (32% of his Ks, compared to 25% league average). 65 is a lot, probably the most in MLB by a wide margin, although I haven't looked it up. My amateur analysis is that this indicates "see the ball, hit the ball" isn't his thing. He goes up there guessing and if he gets something else he can't pull the trigger. That goes with a purely anecdotal observation of an at-bat against Shawn Marcum, a guy who normally throws junk. Marcum threw three straight fastballs down the pike and Stubbs never took the bat off his shoulder.

TRF
11-08-2011, 04:42 PM
But isn't that the point of choking up? To take some of the mass out of the bat?

I misspoke, well mistyped. you lose surface area and mass with the smaller bat. with chocking up. the barrel is still as large, you just have more control of it.

jojo
11-13-2011, 05:00 PM
This should do the trick....

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41s0u4fbxlL.jpg

dougdirt
11-13-2011, 05:03 PM
This should do the trick....

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41s0u4fbxlL.jpg

Bat is probably too short for Stubbs.

RFS62
11-13-2011, 05:25 PM
I'm fine with Stubbs swinging away early in the count or in a hitters count.

The idea is to shorten your stroke for more control when you have two strikes.

That's why choking up is usually done. Although Barry Bonds did it on every swing.

RedsManRick
11-13-2011, 06:14 PM
That's why choking up is usually done. Although Barry Bonds did it on every swing.

Bonds was strong enough to choke up and still drive the ball out of the yard. People ask why Stubbs power went down this year. Maybe it's because he was focused on bat control.

wlf WV
11-14-2011, 01:13 PM
It amazes me that we have suddenly become better at using their tools,than the craftsmen that have used them for over 100 years.

I can understand philosophic differences,but telling craftsmen how to use their tools?

dfs
11-14-2011, 01:28 PM
One of the characteristics of a bad organization is focusing on what a player can't do.

That's not to say I wouldn't like to see improvement out of Stubbs, but there sure are a lot of people on the periphery of the organization who downplay his talents.

Hoosier Red
11-14-2011, 02:43 PM
Choking up does give you more control. Pick up a bat and try it.

It also means that you won't hit one off the handle and mostly will get the fat part of the bat on the ball, but it takes away leverage and power.

Stubbs could do this and improve a bit IMO, but it would take away the threat that makes him intriguing. He just needs to learn to not be afraid to swing at a good one instead of always looking to go 5 or 6 pitches deep into the at bat.

Plate discipline is about two things:

1. Don't swing at pitches you can't handle if you have an option.

2. Don't let a good pitch to hit go by.

IMO, Stubbs approach is more like

1. Don't swing unless you have to.

Pitchers carve a guy like that up. Stubbs doesn't have plate discipline. Not even close.

I'm not a proponent of Stubbs swinging at the first pitch or taking until he has to. I'm a proponent of: (1) swinging at pitches that are good to hit no matter where they are in the count, (2) not swinging at pitches he can't hanlde with less than 2 strikes and (3) protecting the plate when he does have two strikes. He's not very good at number 3. IMO, the best way to improve his results is not to alter his approach with two strikes, its to avoid getting himself in so many unfavorable counts in the first place.

I'm not optimistic that he can do it.

I agree. And really the problem is that the majors aren't a place where you can work on that. I was never as down on DanO's take one strike approach in the minors, because it was using the minors for what they are, a place to get better.

I think in the majors "don't swing until you take a strike" is something that can help correct an acute problem like a guy who has been pressing for a few games, but it's an approach that won't have long standing success.

As for choking up with two strikes, I think the approach may be a mental fix more than anything. Like a golfer taking a drill onto the course with him. If Stubbs were to go a week of choking up every at bat, every time, he'd probably get a little better feel for making contact. It might be something that he can then take with him for when he swings without choking up.