The Case for Stubbs

 I read a tweet this evening as the game was getting started.

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I am not attempting to single out Mr. Johnson but I do want to examine the statement he made and determine if this is an accurate sentiment or if expectations of Drew are a bit unrealistic.  For the purposes of this analysis I decided to look at the Center Fielders across the National League and get an idea how Drew measures up against the opposition.  For those who follow me on Twitter you know that I am critical of Stubbs but not necessarily for the reason most cite.

NL Teams Center Fielder BA OBP OPS Runs RBI SB Def % Games
Arizona Chris Young .231 .325 .741 83 69 20 .995 149
Atlanta Michael Bourn .298 .324 .744 90 49 55 .992 148
Chicago Marlon Byrd .283 .332 .730 49 32 3 .989 113
Cincinnati Drew Stubbs .245 .322 .687 92 43 38 .992 150
Colorado Dexter Fowler .266 .365 .798 81 43 11 .977 117
Florida Bryan Petersen .246 .364 .747 17 7 7 .970 67
Houston Jason Bourgeois .297 .326 .684 30 15 31 1.000 90
Los Angeles Matt Kemp .320 .398 .963 103 113 40 .985 152
Milwaukee Nyjer Morgan .304 .357 .785 57 36 12 .992 112
New York Angel Pagan .261 .319 .694 66 55 31 .968 120
Philadelphia Shane Victorino .288 .365 .870 91 61 19 1.000 122
Pittsburgh Andrew McCutchen .263 .364 .825 83 88 22 .983 151
San Diego Cameron Maybin .269 .326 .726 79 38 38 .985 129
San Francisco Andres Torres .219 .307 .629 46 18 17 .985 100
St. Louis Jon Jay .304 .349 .786 54 36 6 .980 150
Washington Rick Ankiel .246 .307 .682 44 35 10 .996 113

We know about Drew’s defense.  It is not perfect but it is far better than average and would be next to impossible to replace.  Looking up and down the league the only player who stands out is Matt Kemp.  He is not quite the defender but produces more along the lines of Ken Griffey Jr. in his prime.  He is a 40/40 man so is beyond this discussion for all intents and purposes.  Stubbs has scored more runs than anyone except for Kemp in spite of the 200 strikeouts on the season.

If I were ranking the top 10 CF’s in the National League I would rank them as follows:

  1. Matt Kemp, in my mind he deserves to be the MVP this season.
  2. Andrew McCutcheon, who like Stubbs has not played up to his potential.  His production is impressive though when you consider he is alone on the Pittsburgh offense as a consistent offensive threat.
  3. Shane Victorino, no errors all season, playing well for the Phillies, and he has the second highest OPS in the group.
  4. Chris Young, not much of a batting average but good production numbers and defense.
  5. Micheal Bourn with a .298 BA and a league leading 55 steals.
  6. Drew Stubbs, combined 135 runs scored and driven in makes him a very productive center fielder.
  7. Dexter Fowler, defense is a liability here.
  8. Angel Pagan has committed the most errors in CF this season but is productive at the plate.
  9. Andres Torres.  Terrible batting average hurts him.
  10. John Jay would be higher on this list if Colby Rasmus had been traded sooner.  He will improve.

Drew is a good center fielder in comparison to players around the league.  We hold him to a higher standard because we have had a taste of what he is capable of and yearn for more.  If the Reds can get him to invest himself in a program to reduce his power to insure making contact.  Yonder Alonso is a perfect example of this kind of disciplined behavior.  When Yonder falls behind in the count with 2 strikes he gives up a little power by choking up slightly on the bat to insure making contact with the ball.  This is the approach that Drew needs to take to work to eliminate the Ks and get on base more.  If he could cut even 50 strikeouts out of his season and get on base 20 more times we would see a marked difference in the effectiveness of the Reds offense.

Tomorrow I will take a look at Jay Bruce and his Right field competition around the league.

Follow me on Twitter @JohnHeitz

 

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Tags: Andrew McCutchen Angel Pagan Cameron Maybin Center Field Chris Young Dexter Fowler Drew Stubbs Jon Jay Matt Kemp Michael Bourn Shane Victorino

  • beeker

    I agree 100%. Stubbs frustrates me too, but the answer is to teach him some discipline, not to give up on him.

    I am curious who Mr Johnson & Co proposes to put in CF after he trades Stubbs. Chris Heisey? His line isn’t all that different from Stubbs’. And then where do they turn at the end of 2012 when they are just as frustrated with Heisey and ship him out too?

  • beeker

    I agree 100%. Stubbs frustrates me too, but the answer is to teach him some discipline, not to give up on him.

    I am curious who Mr Johnson & Co proposes to put in CF after he trades Stubbs. Chris Heisey? His line isn’t all that different from Stubbs’. And then where do they turn at the end of 2012 when they are just as frustrated with Heisey and ship him out too?

  • dgsapba

    I agree there is no one with the total package that Stubbs has, with this year exception being Kemp, however what Stubbs needs to do is quite simple bunt more and choke up he could ( in my mind) BE AN EXCELLENT .280 HITTER WITH 25% fewer ks and with him leading off the Reds then would be able to find a 2,3,4,5,6,7,8, hitter such as Stubbs,Cozart, vOTTO BUT IS bRUCE A BETTER 4,5,or6 hitter?

  • dgsapba

    I agree there is no one with the total package that Stubbs has, with this year exception being Kemp, however what Stubbs needs to do is quite simple bunt more and choke up he could ( in my mind) BE AN EXCELLENT .280 HITTER WITH 25% fewer ks and with him leading off the Reds then would be able to find a 2,3,4,5,6,7,8, hitter such as Stubbs,Cozart, vOTTO BUT IS bRUCE A BETTER 4,5,or6 hitter?

  • JohnHeitz

    Thanks Beeker, always appreciate your input. Heisey is a mystery to me. As good a pinch hitter as he is you would think that would translate to better production as a regular.

    I didn’t mention this in the post but one of the things I have questioned about this team is the quality instruction offered by Brook Jacoby. I do not know the man and I feel bad questioning his ability as I often do but the one thing I can say with certainty is that Jacoby is either an ineffective instructor or the young players on this team are not listening.

    The only solution is to replace him with a voice they might respond too consistently. Drew was interviewed after the game Tuesday by expressing a willingness to improve. He was down and dejected but this can help harden him to the work that he must do to grow as a ballplayer. He wants to learn and that is the first step needed to become the player he is capable of being.

    dg I think the Reds batting order can include Cozart batting leadoff. They still need to figure out left field and Yonder’s intention to work out in Miami with John Jay at dropping a few pounds and learning how to become an effective outfielder. Jay is a great young example for Yonder to follow. With word that the Reds are going to exercise the BP option in 2012 I am becoming increasingly encouraged about next year.

  • JohnHeitz

    Thanks Beeker, always appreciate your input. Heisey is a mystery to me. As good a pinch hitter as he is you would think that would translate to better production as a regular.

    I didn’t mention this in the post but one of the things I have questioned about this team is the quality instruction offered by Brook Jacoby. I do not know the man and I feel bad questioning his ability as I often do but the one thing I can say with certainty is that Jacoby is either an ineffective instructor or the young players on this team are not listening.

    The only solution is to replace him with a voice they might respond too consistently. Drew was interviewed after the game Tuesday by expressing a willingness to improve. He was down and dejected but this can help harden him to the work that he must do to grow as a ballplayer. He wants to learn and that is the first step needed to become the player he is capable of being.

    dg I think the Reds batting order can include Cozart batting leadoff. They still need to figure out left field and Yonder’s intention to work out in Miami with John Jay at dropping a few pounds and learning how to become an effective outfielder. Jay is a great young example for Yonder to follow. With word that the Reds are going to exercise the BP option in 2012 I am becoming increasingly encouraged about next year.

  • beeker

    Is there really a need to search for a leadoff guy? I get wanting Stubbs’ speed there, but BP is thriving there quite nicely. It is wonderful that he could slide to #2 and do just as well if they found a guy for leadoff. And Cozart could be that guy. But no way do I move Stubbs back to leadoff until he makes more contact.

    John, you make a great point about Jacoby. He took heat pre-2010, but the criticism of him stopped last year when things came together. But all of the same problems that they had in 2007-2009 came back this year. I’ve heard Eric Davis’ name mentioned before as a replacement. It would be interesting to see what he could do with a guy like Stubbs.

  • beeker

    Is there really a need to search for a leadoff guy? I get wanting Stubbs’ speed there, but BP is thriving there quite nicely. It is wonderful that he could slide to #2 and do just as well if they found a guy for leadoff. And Cozart could be that guy. But no way do I move Stubbs back to leadoff until he makes more contact.

    John, you make a great point about Jacoby. He took heat pre-2010, but the criticism of him stopped last year when things came together. But all of the same problems that they had in 2007-2009 came back this year. I’ve heard Eric Davis’ name mentioned before as a replacement. It would be interesting to see what he could do with a guy like Stubbs.

  • Steven Engbloom

    After reading the previous comments…

    1. Heisey is not a leadoff guy either. His SO rate is almost as high as Stubbs. I can say that if Heisey played more, there is a chance that wouldn’t be the case. Then again, it could even be higher than Stubbs. You never know.

    2. The offense in Louisville took off after Rick Sweet inserted Cozart in the leadoff spot. Kevin has stated such. Granted, it is a different animal in AAA versus MLB, but I can see this getting a shot provided Cozart is a full go next spring.

    3. Having Stubbs choke up, cut down on his swing and bunt won’t work because this has either not been drilled into his head or he refuses to do any of those. I’m going with the former here.

    We hear where Stubbs works hard on the bunting aspect, but he still isn’t completely comfortable doing so. He has taken a stride or two on that part of his game. I don’t think he’s been given instruction on changing his approach at the plate either. I stated that recently in a post. I know John likes ripping Jacoby for the Reds offensive flaws, but some of the things these guys do at the plate should have already been taught before reaching the big club. If they’re not, then something needs to be adjusted organizationally. It doesn’t all fall on the coaches. The philosophy aspect does, but the execution of that philosophy can’t. Well, not all the time.

    Coaches coach, players play. I’ll add this…provided they’ve (players) been given the proper coaching.

  • Steven Engbloom

    After reading the previous comments…

    1. Heisey is not a leadoff guy either. His SO rate is almost as high as Stubbs. I can say that if Heisey played more, there is a chance that wouldn’t be the case. Then again, it could even be higher than Stubbs. You never know.

    2. The offense in Louisville took off after Rick Sweet inserted Cozart in the leadoff spot. Kevin has stated such. Granted, it is a different animal in AAA versus MLB, but I can see this getting a shot provided Cozart is a full go next spring.

    3. Having Stubbs choke up, cut down on his swing and bunt won’t work because this has either not been drilled into his head or he refuses to do any of those. I’m going with the former here.

    We hear where Stubbs works hard on the bunting aspect, but he still isn’t completely comfortable doing so. He has taken a stride or two on that part of his game. I don’t think he’s been given instruction on changing his approach at the plate either. I stated that recently in a post. I know John likes ripping Jacoby for the Reds offensive flaws, but some of the things these guys do at the plate should have already been taught before reaching the big club. If they’re not, then something needs to be adjusted organizationally. It doesn’t all fall on the coaches. The philosophy aspect does, but the execution of that philosophy can’t. Well, not all the time.

    Coaches coach, players play. I’ll add this…provided they’ve (players) been given the proper coaching.

  • dgsapba

    Understand and agree with you on the need of better coaching in the hitting area , however some of Drews problems are common sense he needs to use his speed and to choke up ,especially with 2 strikes —Baker needs to go and probably other coaches as well,however Jacoby is the one we both agree needs to go for sure. Next year I alsofeelgood about ,however I feel Phillips may bring more than he produces. Jocketty needs to go .

  • dgsapba

    Understand and agree with you on the need of better coaching in the hitting area , however some of Drews problems are common sense he needs to use his speed and to choke up ,especially with 2 strikes —Baker needs to go and probably other coaches as well,however Jacoby is the one we both agree needs to go for sure. Next year I alsofeelgood about ,however I feel Phillips may bring more than he produces. Jocketty needs to go .

  • beeker

    Stubbs’ main problem is pitch selection. How many times have you seen him take a pitch right down the middle, and then swing at the very next pitch that either bounces in the left-hand batters box or is up around his neck? Pitchers have done it to him all year because it continues to work. You have to think that Jacoby has pointed this out to him ad infinitum, but he isn’t getting through. Is that Stubbs’ fault or Jacoby’s fault.

    Seeing both sides, I decided to look for some numbers. If you want to blame Jacoby, you could point out that the Reds collected 1515 hits last year and only have 1381 this year. So production is indeed down. But if you want to blame the players, you could point out that the Cards have 1441 hits this year and are trailing a Brewers team that only has 1359 hits. So the key is not just the number of hits, but the situations in which those hits come. And we know how the Reds have struggled for the clutch hit this year.

    Sorry, John. I have to cede the point to Steve on this one. He got us. :)

  • beeker

    Stubbs’ main problem is pitch selection. How many times have you seen him take a pitch right down the middle, and then swing at the very next pitch that either bounces in the left-hand batters box or is up around his neck? Pitchers have done it to him all year because it continues to work. You have to think that Jacoby has pointed this out to him ad infinitum, but he isn’t getting through. Is that Stubbs’ fault or Jacoby’s fault.

    Seeing both sides, I decided to look for some numbers. If you want to blame Jacoby, you could point out that the Reds collected 1515 hits last year and only have 1381 this year. So production is indeed down. But if you want to blame the players, you could point out that the Cards have 1441 hits this year and are trailing a Brewers team that only has 1359 hits. So the key is not just the number of hits, but the situations in which those hits come. And we know how the Reds have struggled for the clutch hit this year.

    Sorry, John. I have to cede the point to Steve on this one. He got us. :)

  • JohnHeitz

    Actually I think we are all saying basically the same thing. It does not matter whether the problem is with Jacoby or not; from a psychological standpoint Brook is not getting through. My excuse for this last year, was that Drew was sacrificing plate discipline for power. This season the power numbers are down and the strikeouts are up so whatever message is being conveyed is not being received. Jacoby being replaced would allow someone with a fresh perspective to confront the situation and possibly gain buy in just by attacking the same problem in a slightly different way. I would think someone from outside the Reds current organization would be the best for this just because that would avoid any preconceived ideas from forming.

    The Cardinals have to score a lot of runs to offset a terrible defense and a weak bullpen. The Brewers have a good balance of offense, defense, starting pitching and the bullpen so they are winning. The Reds in point of fact have a good offense that could be great but the starting pitching has been inconsistent and the relief pitching which started relatively well with a couple of exceptions has broken down recently.

  • JohnHeitz

    Actually I think we are all saying basically the same thing. It does not matter whether the problem is with Jacoby or not; from a psychological standpoint Brook is not getting through. My excuse for this last year, was that Drew was sacrificing plate discipline for power. This season the power numbers are down and the strikeouts are up so whatever message is being conveyed is not being received. Jacoby being replaced would allow someone with a fresh perspective to confront the situation and possibly gain buy in just by attacking the same problem in a slightly different way. I would think someone from outside the Reds current organization would be the best for this just because that would avoid any preconceived ideas from forming.

    The Cardinals have to score a lot of runs to offset a terrible defense and a weak bullpen. The Brewers have a good balance of offense, defense, starting pitching and the bullpen so they are winning. The Reds in point of fact have a good offense that could be great but the starting pitching has been inconsistent and the relief pitching which started relatively well with a couple of exceptions has broken down recently.