Originally Posted by Brisco
Over and over in posts I see a debate on whther or not Drew Stubbs was a plus CF defender. Those who critique him say that statistically, he was not elite or even excellent. He did make it look easy and smooth, but he didnt get to more balls than most, and his particular weakness was for balls hit in front of him.
Let's assume that's true. I propose that maybe this was irrelevant. Maybe Stubbs' value to the team in terms of defense depended more on how he was perceived than his actual performance.
If they BELIEVE you have an elite CF behind you that is going to get to anything hit hard in the center of the field, I gotta believe that this will give pitchers more confidence towards challenging hitters in the middle of the plate. A bloop single that drops in front of Stubbs just stuff that happens in baseball. But when he is there to camp in front of a hard hit line drive off a mistake pitch, you feel that someone truly has your back.
For those that discount the mental aspect,.. think how often pitchers melt after an error. If a pitcher thinks they have to do it all alone, they start trying to throw the perfect pitch... they start nibbling, and then the walks come.
IF I am right about this... it is a huge cause for concern. It means that even if Choo or Bruce put up equal defense in center, if they don't look pretty doing it, the Reds run prevention is going to suffer.
If this is the case that you want to make, and I think that's fine, one has to acknowledge that the same principle-perception-is at work in many other aspects of the game. Along these lines one might say that Chapman should close because he would be a presence in nearly every game played and would have to be accounted for in opponents' strategy. Sabermetrics says otherwise. One could argue that strikeouts demoralize an opponent and make them feel dominated by a pitcher, causing them to lose an edge as the game progresses. Sabermetrics says otherwise. If one wants to incorporate a mental aspect into evaluating the game and its players, one has to acknowledge that SABR is a only a partial measure of performance.