Originally Posted by Homer Bailey
Many reasons. Some may include seeing more fastballs lower in the lineup, less pressure to work deep into counts and draw walks, being put in more situations with guys on base, meaning more fastballs, etc., etc.
Pressure seems possible, though I suspect in the aggregate batter hit about the same regardless of where they are in the lineup. Maybe Stubbs feels pressured when he hits higher in the lineup. Maybe. If he does, he's probably an outlier.
I'd be interested to see the data on how he's being pitched because I find it highly unlikely that pitchers are handling him differently now than they did at the beginning of the season. Stubbs' strengths and weaknesses are the same now as they were then, so why would pitchers change their strategy when facing him? He had a .507 OPS as a leadoff hitter this year. Batting seventh, he's got an .855 OPS. If his change in performance is due to a change in strategy on behalf of opposing pitchers, then it seems as if advanced scouts and all the people who work with video throughout the NL are bad at their jobs. That seems pretty unlikely to me. Even with runners on base, pitchers should want to face the .507 guy, not the .855 guy. This is why I suspect he just started out slow. He's been pretty much who I thought he was over the course of the season: a .750ish guy, though I admit I thought he'd have a higher OBP and a lower SLG.