Re: Centerfield 2013
It's worth noting that despite hitting more groundballs than ever in 2012 (GB have the highest natural BABIP), Stubbs BABIP dropped 50 points last year, 40 points below his prior career average. Because he still had a .290 BABIP, that's easy to overlook. We might just say that he was getting lucky before last year. But elite speed is one of those things that correlates with a reliably higher than average BABIP. So what happened?
In 2012, he had a .241 BABIP on GB. In 2011 that was .328. In 2010 that was .360. In 2009 that was .315.
One of a few things happened.
- He start hitting a lot more weak grounders
- Teams started defending him very differently
- He stopped being really freaking fast
If that overall BABIP went back up to .330, that's going to be about 25 points of AVG/OBP and 30 to 40 points of slugging. Then he's looking at a line of .240/.310/.370. That's certainly nobody's idea of a star, particularly against RHP, but it's easily playable.
I think we've attributed too much of Stubbs' decline to his contact issues and not accounted enough for what looks to be a a nice helping of bad luck. That's not to say we shouldn't be worried about his contact issues or trying to improve in CF, just more even handed in our narrative.
Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.