What is Drew Stubbs?

Stubbs has all the natural ability in the world. (Image: sportsautosttm.com)

John Fay recently wrote about the questions surrounding Stubbs.

Is Drew Stubbs a power-hitter, contact-hitter, speedster, high on-base percentage guy, or just a runner?

According to Fay, Dusty Baker has instructed Stubbs to figure out his game. Throughout 2010, fans and analysts wondered why Drew Stubbs would not bunt to get on base. A guy with that tremendous speed ought to be able to bunt for base hits often much like former Red Norris Hopper used to do. Hopper, with only limited at-bats, often would lead the National League in bunt hits.

Other fans wanted Stubbs to swing away as his power seemed to increase as the season went on. Well one thing is for sure: Drew Stubbs has a lot of power.

Dusty Baker said of Stubbs: “I want him to find out who he is. Sometimes it might take a couple of years. When a guy has that much skill and there’s so many things he can do, there’s a period of confusion. Is he a hitter? Is he a slugger? Is he a high on-base percentage guy? Is he a take guy?”

Stubbs himself also suggested that at time he may not even know. There are so many tools to his game that he has at his exposure. It will be crucial in 2011 for Stubbs to stick to whatever plan he creates for his at-bats. When Stubbs gets on base, he can use his legs, but while at the plate, Stubbs ought to be concentrating on simply driving the baseball.

Drew Stubbs posted a war of 3.2 in 2010, and he sported a .330 BABIP (batting average on balls in play). Such numbers are solid and would suggest great success for Stubbs at the plate. However, Stubbs unfortunately struck out in 24% of his at-bats.

The strikeout rate is way too high for a hitter of Stubbs ability, and Marty Brennaman criticized Stubbs for being too passive at the plate in 2010. Stubbs has a good batting eye and is not plagued with Juan Francisco or Edwin Encarnacion where they chase anything within 10 feet of home plate. Instead he often watches too many hittable pitches go by.

Over the last month of 2010, Stubbs batted .350 with 7 home runs and 18 RBI. His strong finish has Stubbs feeling very confident going into 2011.

“I just worked on getting stronger, getting in shape,” Stubbs said. “That’s really all you can do in the offseason, then use this here in spring training to kind of refine your approach at the plate and work on defense. It’s kind of hard to simulate on-the-field activities in the offseason.”

Drew Stubbs stands at 6’4 and 200 pounds. His long strides and speed make him one of the better center fielders in the National League. Many Reds fans have predicted that Drew Stubbs could win a Gold Glove in the very near future.

So I could write all day about Stubbs tools and physical ability, but still many in the Reds clubhouse are not quite sure what to expect from Stubbs in 2011.

ESPN predicts: 88 runs, 18 home runs, 69 RBI’s, and 31 SB with a .251 BA. These stats show a regression in all areas but stolen bases. Therefore, it seems as if many in the national media are still not aware of the extreme talent that Drew Stubbs possesses.

His success will be determined by his ability to modify his approach at the plate from where it was in 2010 while still utilizing his unique power and speed combination.

Stubbs stats from 2010 are shown below:

Year AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB SO BA OBP SLG OPS+
2010 514 91 131 19 6 22 77 30 168 .255 .329 .444 108
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/3/2011.

Stubbs really came on in the second half of the season, and he played his best baseball down the stretch.

In 2011, I see Stubbs providing the following numbers:

BA: .268
Runs: 91
2B: 22
HR: 24
RBI: 81
SB: 34

I believe that Stubbs will be able to avoid the extended slumps that plagued him in 2010. Therefore, strikeouts will be down. Batting average and on-base percentage will be up.

More hits will equal more production for Stubbs in 2011

Topics: 2011 Preview, Drew Stubbs, Dusty Baker, Edwin Encarnacion, ESPN, John Fay, Juan Francisco, Marty Brennaman, Norris Hopper, Reds Baseball, Spring Training, Toronto Blue Jays

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  • beeker

    I like that Stubbs is still under the radar for a lot of people right now. Once he figures out his approach at the plate and catches fire, a lot of fans around MLB are going to have a serious case of CF-envy.

    Stubbs will be the most dangerous when he figures out bunt hitting, but he should never, ever consider himself a slap-hitter. He needs to be comfortable hitting for power, hitting for contact and sprinkling in some timely bunt hits, taking what the pitcher gives him. That will probably take a couple of years to figure all of that out, but he will be stinking dangerous!

  • Nug

    His body and skills remind me of Dale Murphy (of the 80′s Atl Braves). Whether Stubbs develops into Murphy or Gary Redus (whose stats are eerily similar to Stubbs at the same stage) depends on his baseball aptitude.
    Hopefully he gets good coaching and enjoys a long successful career, but at the same time we have to be objective and realize that just because he’s young doesn’t guarantee he’ll continue to get better. I’m hoping for more, but I don’t think ESPN’s projections are unreasonable.

  • John Bell

    This is my only beef with Dusty Baker. He keeps wanting to put hitters into categories. Baseball is simple, so every at bat should be the same whether you’re able to hit for power or not. The same thing happened with Jay Bruce when he came up. He was pounding the ball into the gaps, hitting the ball out of the park and hitting the ball the opposite direction. Suddenly he’s told he’s a power hitter, so for the next year and a half, all he did was try to hit the ball out of the park. He finally settled down and started going with the pitch again last year, but it took a LONG time.

    If anyone out there is coaching their kids in baseball this spring, I’m going to help you out. Listen up. It doesn’t matter whether or not you can hit the ball out of the park 1 out of 10 times or 1 out of 100. It only matters if you can get your teammates across the plate more times than the other team in 7 or 9 innings. Know what the situation dictates and do your best with the pitches you’re given. If you have to work a walk, do it. If you have to bunt, get it down and keep it away from the pitcher. If you have to hit the ball through the right side, hit the left side of the ball and drive it through the hole. Play the game the way it was meant to be played.

    Rant complete – resume your regularly scheduled interweb browsing. :)

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