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Thread: Stubbs vs. Votto

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    BobC, get a legit F.O.! Mario-Rijo's Avatar
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    Stubbs vs. Votto

    Just one mans opinion and it's not mine in fact I'd disagree with the premise but I found it interesting nonetheless. This is a post and obviously poster on another forum.


    Can Drew Stubbs be as Good as Joey Votto?
    by Charlie Scrabbles on Oct 26, 2009 8:00 AM EDT in Off-season


    We all know Joey Votto was by far the best player on the Reds this past season. He single-handedly carried the offense on his broad and capable shoulders. Some say he is more than a man but less than a god, like some kind of demi-god, or archangel, or X-man. He posted an impressive 4.4 WAR according to FanGraphs. That is solid All-Star-level production. Joey Votto is good at baseball. But is he really the best player on the team? Consider the following:


    Drew Stubbs came up in mid-August and saw action in just 42 games. He looked all right at the plate, holding his own and posting a slash line of .267/.323/.439. That OPS of .762 is nearly identical to his career minor league OPS of .765. Of course, he hit for more power and got on base less (his career minor league line is .269/.364/.401), but considering the small sample size it's still a pretty accurate reflection of the skill set he showed in the minors. This isnt a wild aberration like Chris Dickerson's debut in '08, and I think it is totally reasonable to believe he can continue to hit like a league-average hitter. His solid walk rate (he's never had an OBP lower than .353 at any minor-league level), decent-but-not-shabby ISO (steadily around .150), steady K-rates, and luminous BABIP rates (kid gets a ton of infield hits) scream "consistent" to me. He is precisely the kind of hitter whose minor league numbers translate well to the majors.

    His early projections for next year aren't as optimistic about his future performance though. ZiPS sees him posting a measly .653 OPS for next season. As we talked about a few days ago, Bill James projects him much better, foreseeing a .726 OPS. Not as good as his small-sample-sized performance from the end of '09, but not as Taverasian as ZiPS thinks. Now, normally I trust these advanced projection systems more than I trust my gut, but on this one I think they are missing the mark. I think, for the reasons stated above, Stubbs is far more likely to OPS around .750 than .650.

    So if Stubbs hits like a league-average hitter, then how can he be as good as Joey Votto, the Joey Votto who OPS'd .981, posted a .418 wOBA, and stole my heart?

    Checking the WAR leaderboards over at FanGraphs, one particular player really caught my eye. He was the most valuable center fielder in the Major Leagues last year. He's not Grady Sizemore, Curtis Granderson, Torii Hunter, or Matt Kemp. He's not Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, or B.J. Upton. He's Franklin Gutierrez, and he's the best gloveman in the league.

    Gutierrez OPS'd .764 last season, his first as a Mariner. He was a tick above league-average with the bat, accumulating 6.3 BRAR. But boy, he was a '64 Fender Stratocaster in classic white with triple single-coil pickups and a wammy barin the field. He posted 28.5 FRAR in 153 games, the best mark in all of baseball at any position. This was good for 5.8 total WAR.

    Stubbs was nearly equal to Gutierrez with the glove last season, albeit in a small sample size. Stubbs posted a UZR of 7.7 in just 42 games, which extrapolates into a UZR/150 of 22.3. Of course, it is not a foregone conclusion that Stubbs can keep up that level of glovesmanship over a full season. But all the scouting reports say that he can. Since he was drafted in '06 (ahead of Tim Lincecum), he's been heralded as a future gold-glover. It is not good science to take such a small sample and use it as a representative sample, but in this case I think Stubbs really is that good. His minor league TotalZone numbers think so (found at minorleaguesplits), the scouts think so, and so I think so.

    So Gutierrez had the best season according to WAR of any center fielder in the league last season, and his game is nearly identical to that of Drew Stubbs. A league-average bat and an elite glove at a premium position makes for a very valuable player.

    So what is the takeaway from all this? At the very least, we can see how there is much, much more to winning baseball games than just hitting the ball with the bat. Votto is an elite hitter, but he plays a weak defensive position and is merely average there in comparison to his peers. Stubbs is the exact opposite of Votto, with an average bat and an elite glove. I'm not ready to seriously consider Stubbs to be the same caliber of player that Votto is (though it makes for a hooky title), but I can envision a future, as early as next season, where this is the case.
    FWIW I love good defense and believe it very neccessary but offensive brilliance is harder to find so I'd go with that when forced to make a choice.
    "You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."

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  3. #2
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Stubbs vs. Votto

    I think its possible that Votto and Stubbs have similar WAR at the end of 2010. I don't believe for a second that Votto is a 320/410/570 hitter. He is a good hitter, but his peripherals suggest he is more of a .285/.365/.500 type of hitter (give or take a little in the OBP/SLG). Stubbs is, at least in my opinion, a guy who is a .260/.345/.425 hitter. So obviously Votto comes out ahead on the offensive side of things BIG TIME. But defensively Stubbs is arguably one of the 5 best center fielders in baseball and Votto plays first base. Much like the offense the two supply, its just not comparable. The big difference of course is that everyone feels comfy that Votto can be an .850 OPS bat with lots of room on the higher end for that. Some question whether Stubbs can be a .700 OPS bat right now.

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    Re: Stubbs vs. Votto

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    I think its possible that Votto and Stubbs have similar WAR at the end of 2010. I don't believe for a second that Votto is a 320/410/570 hitter. He is a good hitter, but his peripherals suggest he is more of a .285/.365/.500 type of hitter (give or take a little in the OBP/SLG). Stubbs is, at least in my opinion, a guy who is a .260/.345/.425 hitter. So obviously Votto comes out ahead on the offensive side of things BIG TIME. But defensively Stubbs is arguably one of the 5 best center fielders in baseball and Votto plays first base. Much like the offense the two supply, its just not comparable. The big difference of course is that everyone feels comfy that Votto can be an .850 OPS bat with lots of room on the higher end for that. Some question whether Stubbs can be a .700 OPS bat right now.
    I disagree with the WAR assessment unless the Stubbs we saw toward the end of last season is in play (hitting 15-20 HRs). Even then, I think Votto's WAR is higher. It's not like Votto's defense at 1B is below average or something. He plays a very good 1B.

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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Stubbs vs. Votto

    It's likely that a great deal of Stubbs' value will be derived from his defense and the position he plays.

    In a lot of ways he looks like the polar opposite of a player like Adam Dunn from a WAR perspective.

    I'd predict that those who think AD was very valuable will tend to undervalue Stubbs while those that think AD was overvalued will tend to value Stubbs more highly.

    That said, it will be interesting to see if there is a meeting of the minds given a new player will likely stimulate discussion on some older, seemingly hashed over topics.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    High five! nate's Avatar
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    Re: Stubbs vs. Votto

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    It's likely that a great deal of Stubbs' value will be derived from his defense and the position he plays.

    In a lot of ways he looks like the polar opposite of a player like Adam Dunn from a WAR perspective.

    I'd predict that those who think AD was very valuable will tend to undervalue Stubbs while those that think AD was overvalued will tend to value Stubbs more highly.

    That said, it will be interesting to see if there is a meeting of the minds given a new player will likely stimulate discussion on some older, seemingly hashed over topics.
    I can totally believe that the delta between Adam Dunn's overall worth and a hopeful take on Stubb's overall worth is smallish.
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

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    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: Stubbs vs. Votto

    I agree with most everything in this article. Who is Charlie Scrabbles, by the way?

    Regardless, I was ready to cue up the debate over the usefulness of UZR in a WAR calculation. It could erupt any minute now.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Member Highlifeman21's Avatar
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    Re: Stubbs vs. Votto

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus the Pimp View Post
    I agree with most everything in this article. Who is Charlie Scrabbles, by the way?

    Regardless, I was ready to cue up the debate over the usefulness of UZR in a WAR calculation. It could erupt any minute now.
    Charlie Scrabbles is a poster over at Red Reporter.

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    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: Stubbs vs. Votto

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlifeman21 View Post
    Charlie Scrabbles is a poster over at Red Reporter.
    Thanks. I thought it sounded like a pornographic name.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Stubbs vs. Votto

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus the Pimp View Post
    I agree with most everything in this article. Who is Charlie Scrabbles, by the way?

    Regardless, I was ready to cue up the debate over the usefulness of UZR in a WAR calculation. It could erupt any minute now.
    I'm not a fan of how he mixed BP stats with WAR in his argument (because BP sets replacement level differently than WAR). But I think his conclusion is alright with the caveat that Doug brought up being that its possible Stubbs isn't a league average bat.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: Stubbs vs. Votto

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    I'm not a fan of how he mixed BP stats with WAR in his argument (because BP sets replacement level differently than WAR). But I think his conclusion is alright with the caveat that Doug brought up being that its possible Stubbs isn't a league average bat.
    I completely missed the BP reference for Gutierrez until you mentioned it. I stopped checking BP when their glossary became alphabet soup. What is their threshold for replacement?
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Member Highlifeman21's Avatar
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    Re: Stubbs vs. Votto

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    I'm not a fan of how he mixed BP stats with WAR in his argument (because BP sets replacement level differently than WAR). But I think his conclusion is alright with the caveat that Doug brought up being that its possible Stubbs isn't a league average bat.
    Possible that Stubbs isn't a league average bat?

    Try highly probably....

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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Stubbs vs. Votto

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus the Pimp View Post
    I completely missed the BP reference for Gutierrez until you mentioned it. I stopped checking BP when their glossary became alphabet soup. What is their threshold for replacement?
    They don't really say several people have tried to back engineer it and the consensus seems to be that a replacement level team in BP's eyes would win around 30 games. That said, they change how they calculate their metrics without any disclosure so at this point, who knows? I've kind of quit trying to keep up with their super secret monkeying.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    High five! nate's Avatar
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    Re: Stubbs vs. Votto

    I think combining a Dunn and Stubbs thread would be very Redszoney.
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

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    Re: Stubbs vs. Votto

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus the Pimp View Post
    Thanks. I thought it sounded like a pornographic name.
    I thought he used to sing with the Wiggles.

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    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: Stubbs vs. Votto

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    They don't really say several people have tried to back engineer it and the consensus seems to be that a replacement level team in BP's eyes would win around 30 games. That said, they change how they calculate their metrics without any disclosure so at this point, who knows? I've kind of quit trying to keep up with their super secret monkeying.
    Ah yes, they are still singing the proprietary tunes.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda


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