Originally Posted by RedsManRick
I'm not so sure. I'd say that instincts (natural approach), skills, and the demands of the spot in the order all come in to play. Instincts and skills are not the same thing in my book.
Ideally, these things all align, bu sometimes they don't. Just look at Taveras' seeming unwillingness to beat the ball in the to the ground. He had the skills to leadoff if he used an approach which maximized those skills. But his instincts were to try and muscle up.
I think Phillips' instincts are suited for the 4th or 5th spot. He wants to be a HR hitter. He wants to turn on everything and yank it out of the yard. But skills aren't - he's not Jonny Gomes. As a result, we saw him roll-over on the ball to 2B and hit a ton of pop ups. I just don't think Phillips' skills and instincts are completely aligned.
I think agree on Stubbs quite a bit. Stubbs is similar to Dunn in instincts and a lesser approximation in skills -- power & discipline. But with a bit less power and a bit less discipline, Stubbs contact issues could be an issue. He makes up for it in terms of base hits through his infield singles.
this may be splitting hairs even more, but instincts can be trumped by desire. I think BP is a perfect example. he WANTS to be the 40 HR guy, but his skillset while close at times isn't suited to it. so intincts could eventually become experience+instruction=muscle memory. remember how little time a player has to react to the pitch. for a younger player like Stubbs his instincts fight the instruction, because what he's being taught conflicts with what he "knows".
It's just a guess, but it could explain a little why a player's age prime years start at 27. enough experience and instruction combine to become muscle memory.