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View Full Version : Drew Stubbs- poor hitter or second unluckiest man in America?



Plus Plus
07-23-2012, 10:08 AM
http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/de-lucker-2-0-hot-fresh-new-xbabip/


Combining Fielding Independent wOBA (FI wOBA for shortsies) and slash12′s xBABIP, we can get a specific wOBA calculation that strips away unusual luck, whether good or bad. It is important to remember these are both regression-based calculators, so they are backward-looking, not forward looking.

For the statisticians out there:


An R-squard of .97 which makes sense, given the absence of park factors makes FI wOBA a more than worthy substitute for FIO. I personally prefer the more intuitive plus scale of FIO, but for accuracy, FI wOBA is bar-none the better choice.

(The correlation is between FIO or FIwOBA vs wRC+)

Anyway, back to the matter at hand.

The article produces a wOBA of .296 for Stubbs, against a FIwOBA of .354, for a difference of .058- good for second unluckiest (to Yunel Escobar) in baseball.

Votto is second in baseball among hitters (to Josh Hamilton) with at least 250 PAs in FIwOBA.

Cueto and Cairo are 450th and 451st among hitters with at least 45 PAs in FIwOBA (the second and third worst in baseball, to only Brett Hayes).

Anyway, back to Stubbs. Is his poor showing this season a result of luck, the league adjusting to him, poor utilization, or regression in skillset? Personally, I see Stubbs as a player who has a tool (hit) that lags far behind his other tools. This leads the fan to see a player who makes no contact or poor contact way too often for his own good. When combined with what appears to be an unclear plan or lack of control while at the plate, he can be very frustrating.

What do you think?

(I apologize for the strange writing style in the article that I linked to- it seems so casual for FanGraphs...)

PuffyPig
07-23-2012, 10:26 AM
I don't think any stats correlate bad luck to no contact, so I'm going to assume that Stubbs is getting bad luck after he makes contact.

Since he has blazing speed and decent power, I'm assuming he has been very unlucky this year. Becuase his W and K-rates are in line with past years.

Patrick Bateman
07-23-2012, 10:30 AM
No question that he's not a great hitter.

He has histroicalyl got by at the MLB level by posting high BAPIP's (around .330) which is not just luck. When he makes contact, he often has the ability to get on base when he hits the ball slowly to the left side because of his speed, plus he does hit the ball with authority a good amount of the time he does make contact. In total, it shows that an above average BAPIP around .330 should be mostly expected with Stubbs going forward until he loses a step. Watching him run this year leads me to suggest he's still running at the same speed as in ptior years, therefore, I would expect that the low BAPIP this year to be represented by a string of bad luck rather than a trend going forward, and he should be able to get back to where he was a few seasons ago, which would make him a palatable starter as his peripherals (ie. K and BB %) are all in line with previous seasons.

Wheelhouse
07-23-2012, 10:46 AM
Poor hitter. Next case.

Kc61
07-23-2012, 10:54 AM
Drew had .243/.321/.364/.686 last season.

Drew has .217/.288/.356/.644 this season.

He probably has been unlucky this year, looking at all the peripherals including BABIP I'd agree with that.

But if the realistic "upside" is around 2011 levels (BABIP was .343), or slightly higher, is that really acceptable? And what evidence is there that his upside is materially higher than 2011, a season in which he had 681 plate appearances.

I know he had some better years earlier in his career, I tend to focus on recent history. He's had over 1,000 plate appearances in 2011-12, and the numbers are a few paragraphs up in this post.

Mario-Rijo
07-23-2012, 11:24 AM
Poor hitter. Next case.

Ditto.

mdccclxix
07-23-2012, 11:27 AM
On a team with the luxury to only give Stubbs the best 400 matchups at the plate, I think he could produce more than he does in 700 ab's. Then, some years, he could also potentially hit that 25-30 HR pace. He's an interesting case, and certainly one who holds power/speed potential into his early/mid 30's. If the Reds could bring a LHB CF/LF on to platoon that would be the best case for everyone involved.

Scrap Irony
07-23-2012, 11:31 AM
I'm of the opinion that Stubbs has probably been a bit unlucky, but most of his poor offensive game is due to pitchers figuring out how to pitch him (and, more importantly how not to pitch him) and his failure to adjust accordingly. IF he gets a bit lucky, he may add ten points of BA to his overall numbers.

That still makes him well below average as a starting major league CF.

Big Klu
07-23-2012, 11:35 AM
On a team with the luxury to only give Stubbs the best 400 matchups at the plate, I think he could produce more than he does in 700 ab's. Then, some years, he could also potentially hit that 25-30 HR pace. He's an interesting case, and certainly one who holds power/speed potential into his early/mid 30's. If the Reds could bring a LHB CF/LF on to platoon that would be the best case for everyone involved.

I heard that Rick Ankiel is available.

Plus Plus
07-23-2012, 11:37 AM
Poor hitter. Next case.

OK, but why?

In 2010, Stubbs had a line of .255/.329/.444 for a wRC+ of 110. In 2012, Stubbs has (so far) a line of .217/.288/.356 for a wRC+ of 79.

His BB% is down slightly, at 9.4% to 8.6%. His K% is also down slightly, at 28.8% to 26.8%. His BB/K ratios are almost exactly the same, at 0.33 to 0.32. His HR/FB is down slightly, at 15.9% to 14.8%. LD% is up, at 15.5% to 16.0%. Really, the only big differences can be seen in his GB/FB ratio, his BABIP, and, oddly, his ISOp.

GB/FB ratio went from 1.09 to 1.59. However, with Stubbs' speed, one might expect a higher number of base hits because of this (obviously, at the cost of home runs, but the drastic increase could maybe offset this?).

BABIP went from .330 (and .343 in 2011) to .277. Clearly, this would have an effect upon his hitting stats.

ISOp is the strangest one for me. In 2010, his ISO was at .189. Last season, it dropped to .121, and then this season it is at .139. Again, obviously part of the explanation lies in the change in batted ball type and therefore a decrease in home runs. But the question then becomes- why did Stubbs lose so much power?

In 2010 Stubbs was the center fielder of the power. Since then, he has seen his ISO go down hugely and I can only see a part of the explanation in the stats that I see. Anyone else have an idea?

Patrick Bateman
07-23-2012, 11:41 AM
I think his true talent is more than likely around a .710-.730 OPS (assuming he was perhaps a little lucky in his first few seasons) with about .320ish OBP. With average fielding in CF, that makes him a useable starter, mostly just against left handed pitchers. He has value, but I think only if used properly (its clear that he cant hit RH pitching at this point, and his fielding doesnt make up for that). There aren't that many better hitting CF's in baseball than can also field the position well.

Stubbs is a nice guy to split with a left batter in CF, unfornautely the Reds haven't had a good option to pair with him, as Heisey seems to have similar flaws to Stubbs and cant be matched up well.

brad1176
07-23-2012, 11:46 AM
OK, but why?

In 2010, Stubbs had a line of .255/.329/.444 for a wRC+ of 110. In 2012, Stubbs has (so far) a line of .217/.288/.356 for a wRC+ of 79.

His BB% is down slightly, at 9.4% to 8.6%. His K% is also down slightly, at 28.8% to 26.8%. His BB/K ratios are almost exactly the same, at 0.33 to 0.32. His HR/FB is down slightly, at 15.9% to 14.8%. LD% is up, at 15.5% to 16.0%. Really, the only big differences can be seen in his GB/FB ratio, his BABIP, and, oddly, his ISOp.

GB/FB ratio went from 1.09 to 1.59. However, with Stubbs' speed, one might expect a higher number of base hits because of this (obviously, at the cost of home runs, but the drastic increase could maybe offset this?).

BABIP went from .330 (and .343 in 2011) to .277. Clearly, this would have an effect upon his hitting stats.

ISOp is the strangest one for me. In 2010, his ISO was at .189. Last season, it dropped to .121, and then this season it is at .139. Again, obviously part of the explanation lies in the change in batted ball type and therefore a decrease in home runs. But the question then becomes- why did Stubbs lose so much power?

In 2010 Stubbs was the center fielder of the power. Since then, he has seen his ISO go down hugely and I can only see a part of the explanation in the stats that I see. Anyone else have an idea?

I think it's merely the fact that pitchers adjusted to him and Stubbs can't adjust to the pitchers. His ISO and BABIP have dropped due to not hitting balls sharply, more often than not he's hitting weak grounders and popups that are easily fielded.

Patrick Bateman
07-23-2012, 11:58 AM
I think it's merely the fact that pitchers adjusted to him and Stubbs can't adjust to the pitchers. His ISO and BABIP have dropped due to not hitting balls sharply, more often than not he's hitting weak grounders and popups that are easily fielded.

Why aren't his strikeouts increasing then? (believe it or not they are right in line with normal).

brad1176
07-23-2012, 12:16 PM
Why aren't his strikeouts increasing then? (believe it or not they are right in line with normal).

It could be that he's trying to cut down on his swing, slap the ball just to make contact. What are your thoughts?

Plus Plus
07-23-2012, 12:31 PM
I think it's merely the fact that pitchers adjusted to him and Stubbs can't adjust to the pitchers. His ISO and BABIP have dropped due to not hitting balls sharply, more often than not he's hitting weak grounders and popups that are easily fielded.

If pitchers have adjusted to him, then it isn't really showing up in pitch distribution. He's getting a little more "wiggle" stuff (curve, slider, two-seam fastball compared to four seam) and a little less "straight" stuff (four-seam fastball, changeup) but the difference is like 2% in each pitch.

So it isn't like we have a Pedro Cerrano case here where the league figured out that Stubbs can't hit a curveball. The pitch distribution is close to the same as it has been.

Kc61
07-23-2012, 01:33 PM
I agree with Plus Plus that Drew's major issue has been a major loss of power. In 2010, his SLG was .444. In 2011, it was .364. In 2012, .356.

Why? Here's my view. Stubbs last year found himself striking out at very high rates. So he has tried to slow up his swing a bit, concentrate on contact, and not hit for power as much.

The result has been pretty disastrous. His strikeout percentage this year is a bit better than last, but the production is even worse.

IMO he'd be better off as a free swinger, not worrying about the Ks, just try and hit the ball hard.

Last comment on Stubbs - he has a lot of trouble fouling off pitches with two strikes. Watch Phillips. Lots of two strike counts, but he stays alive with foul balls until he get something to hit. When Stubbs swings with two strikes, it is too often a clean miss.

Tom Servo
07-23-2012, 02:00 PM
A little bit of column A, a little bit of column B.

Rojo
07-23-2012, 02:45 PM
Why? Here's my view. Stubbs last year found himself striking out at very high rates. So he has tried to slow up his swing a bit, concentrate on contact, and not hit for power as much.

That's my take -- a massive over-correction to the near-record K's last year. Take what a player gives you and don't worry too much about what he doesn't. In Stubbs case thats 20 homers, 30-40 SB's, 90+ runs scored and good defense. Learn to live with the K's.

RedFanAlways1966
07-23-2012, 03:32 PM
Is this the same guy who had trouble getting on base while doing a 3 or 4 game stint at Dayton (low A) this year? Not sure 3 or 4 games is near the sample size we look to use, but just sayin'...

RedsManRick
07-23-2012, 04:00 PM
Drew had .243/.321/.364/.686 last season.

Drew has .217/.288/.356/.644 this season.

He probably has been unlucky this year, looking at all the peripherals including BABIP I'd agree with that.

But if the realistic "upside" is around 2011 levels (BABIP was .343), or slightly higher, is that really acceptable? And what evidence is there that his upside is materially higher than 2011, a season in which he had 681 plate appearances.

I know he had some better years earlier in his career, I tend to focus on recent history. He's had over 1,000 plate appearances in 2011-12, and the numbers are a few paragraphs up in this post.

This. To the extent that his 2012 numbers are worse than 2011, we're looking at a BABIP induced drop in AVG. Some of that could be a function of a low LD%, but some of it is probably luck as well. So long as he strikes out 26% of the time (or more) he'll never hit for a good average.

What troubles me is the loss of power. In his call up in 2009 and full year of 2010, he hit for solid power, a ~.180 ISO. Last year that dropped to .121 and this year he's at .139. What gives?

The biggest changes are that:

1) Stubbs started putting the ball on the ground. In 2009 & 2010, Stubbs had roughly the same number of GB and FB, with a ratio of ~1.1. In 2011 that jumped to 1.42. This year it's at 1.59.

2) Stubbs started seeing fewer strikes. The % of pitches he sees in the zone has dropped from 52% in 2009, to 48% in 2010, to 45% the last two years. Pitchers have realized that they don't have to throw him stuff in the zone.

These could be related. He could be hitting more grounders because he's not getting as much to hit solidly. It also could be a function of purposeful approach; we know he's been coached to make better use of his speed. I'd love to see a scouting type look in to whether he's adjusted his swing, his approach or both.

Stubbs, like Adam Dunn, is simply not all that talented when it comes to putting the bat on the ball. My prescription would be to stop using him in a way that exacerbates his weakness. Bat him 7th or 8th and let him swing away. (I'd love to see him 7th, pitcher, Hanigan). Take advantage of the power when you can get and otherwise let him use his speed to manufacture runs at the bottom of the order.

A Drew Stubbs that is swinging harder, taking pitches he's not comfortable with and generally spending less time trying to be a more conventional "hitter" is, in my estimation, more likely to be the .250/.330/.440 hitter who is an asset to the team. Just don't expect anything more than that in any circumstance.

Rojo
07-23-2012, 04:10 PM
It also could be a function of purposeful approach; we know he's been coached to make better use of his speed. I'd love to see a scouting type look in to whether he's adjusted his swing, his approach or both.

If this is the case, it needs to paired with a few more drag bunts to open up the infield. Not that that I think the ground ball approach is a good one. He's not Brett Butler.

Mario-Rijo
07-23-2012, 04:15 PM
There's no proof to back up the suspicion Stubbs has changed a thing. Slugging would go down if people get a book and pitch to it which is the most likely happening.

mth123
07-23-2012, 08:30 PM
Poor hitter. He was not a good hitter in the minors. He was not a good hitter in college. Now he doesn't hit against the best pitching in the world and people want to call it bad luck?

He's a strong and fast guy who never really was able to hit but people overestimated what he could become because of his size, strength and speed. Baseball history is filled with guys just like that who could never really hit. Reggie Taylor? Ruben Rivera? Mike Kelly? Dewayne Wise? Its goes on and on.

mth123
07-23-2012, 08:39 PM
There's no proof to back up the suspicion Stubbs has changed a thing. Slugging would go down if people get a book and pitch to it which is the most likely happening.

I think the splits are telling the story. He crushes lefty pitching and can't hit anything against RHP. Lets see he's a RH hitter. What, again, is the reason that pitchers have platoon advantages? Oh yeah. Its the breaking ball that breaks away from the hitter. That would be from RH pitcher to RH hitter. Lefties can't do that to him and, Voila, he hits lefty pitching pretty well.

He can't hit it when a righty throws it. He never really could. Expecting him to doesn't make sense.

nate
07-23-2012, 08:56 PM
I got nothin' for now but nice post and good discussion.

High five!

Will M
07-23-2012, 09:11 PM
Like other folks here I play fantasy baseball. Of course this is not the same as real baseball. However I have learned a few things about trades.

1) Always trade a guy to another team that actually wants him. Each owner/team values players differently. A guy you think is bad could be in demand by another team.

2) Sell before "the bloom is off the rose". Its always tough to know if you are selling too soon. But wait a bit too long & suddenly the guy you kept has no trade value.

What does this mean in regards to Stubbs? If there is a team out there that values Stubbs then IMO the Reds should trade him to them. I think he is a 5th outfielder who can play CF vs LHP or go in for defense. But another team may feel he is a better player than this & give the Reds value. However, if the team waits too long ( & I'm right about his true talent ) then he has a lot less value.

Big Klu
07-23-2012, 11:24 PM
Poor hitter. He was not a good hitter in the minors. He was not a good hitter in college. Now he doesn't hit against the best pitching in the world and people want to call it bad luck?

He's a strong and fast guy who never really was able to hit but people overestimated what he could become because of his size, strength and speed. Baseball history is filled with guys just like that who could never really hit. Reggie Taylor? Ruben Rivera? Mike Kelly? Dewayne Wise? Its goes on and on.

Maybe he chose the wrong sport? Mack Brown recruited him to play WR at Texas, but he elected to play baseball instead.

westofyou
07-23-2012, 11:29 PM
Maybe he chose the wrong sport? Mack Brown recruited him to play WR at Texas, but he elected to play baseball instead.

Harry Craft 2.0

RedlegJake
07-24-2012, 12:44 PM
At least football wasn't all that popular in the Harry's day. Always felt sorry for Harry as he joined the Navy in '42 and never made it back as a player. He was an exceptional defensive centerfielder with speed much like Drew Stubbs, low average, with some power and I'm amazed you remembered him and made the parallel WOY.