Fantasy Stubbs

The fantasy baseball season is fast approaching, and unfortunately for everyone in my league I have already over analyzed everything. My fantasy strategy typically involves drafting young players with high upside and good power numbers. In more recent years, aside from digging the long ball, I have gravitated toward players with the power and speed combination. This combination is rare and leads one to consistently have a select few players on my team. One of these players is Drew Stubbs. Drafting Stubbs late in my 2010 draft gave me great value but last year picking Stubbs early left me with a huge shortfall. After watching him closely for the last two years I wanted to further analyze the player a bit before committing myself to another rollercoaster Stubbs ride.

First lets take a brief look at Stubbs’ numbers in 2010 and 2011.

91 22 77 30 .255 .329
92 15 44 40 .243 .321

As you can see they are pretty solid across the board except average. Fantasy owners were delighted with Stubbs in 2010 as he significantly provided stats across the board and was a late round pick which gave a team tremendous value. Fantasy owners had high expectations for Stubbs in 2011 but he didn’t quite reach the numbers many were looking for at the position he was picked in. Which begs to question, where should Stubbs be drafted this year? All indicators point to Stubbs being (like last year) picked in the late 4th round to early 6th round and in my humble opinion, is too high.

Sure one might argue that Stubbs puts up McCutchen like numbers but one thing is for sure the two are entirely different hitters. McCutchen has much better plate discipline, puts the ball in play more, walks much more often all this despite the fact that he has no protection in the lineup. Stubbs on the other hand has plenty of good hitters around him and doesn’t produce like you would expect. One astonishing stat that many are unaware of is that Stubbs struck out a league leading 205 times! That was approximately 30 more K’s than Ryan Howard and Adam Dunn. How anyone struck out more than Dunn last year is astonishing considering the guy’s average last year was .159! Pitchers have essentially figured out Stubbs and he needs to adjust. McCutchen is a much better hitter than Stubbs all around and should have a bounce back season, something I’m not sure Stubbs will have. Any fantasy team would be much better off with drafting McCutchen in the 3rd then waiting to take Stubbs in the 4th or 5th.

Along with that alarming strikeout number is the fact that Stubbs’ second half of the season was nothing to write home about. His second half decline in production killed my team more than his average would normally. Stubbs hit only .230 and gave fantasy owners an abysmal 4 HRs and 12 RBI, all of this coming from a seemingly healthy player. To make matters worse, during this dry spell Stubbs was replaced by a similar player who produced quite well, Chris Heisey. Heisey doesn’t quite have the speed of Stubbs but can match his power. Heisey produced 18 HRs last year (six coming in September) while only getting 279 at bats all year. While Stubbs struggled, Heisey (the replacement) produced something fantasy owners don’t want to see.

Along with Stubbs’ late season slump he also found himself on the wrong end of the stick defensively as well. Stubbs has great range and consistently finds himself in the top five, but his UZR (which is a much better defensive indicator) put Stubbs at -2.5. This number is not good at all and his UZR in 2010 wasn’t much better only at .5 which makes him average at best. So let’s sum this up….Stubbs is struggling, striking out a ton, and isn’t great defensively? Sounds like a perfect candidate for replacement, especially if you have one. Stubbs seems like a sexy pick and coming into his third season one might expect his numbers to increase but I don’t see that happening. Stubb’s major league AVG and OBP are right in line with his minor league numbers. Any spike might be an anomaly. Stubbs may give your fantasy runs, homeruns and stolen bases but is a big risk at where he is projected to be drafted. Stubbs projections are still decent, but one might find more draft value in players like Angel Pagan, Cameron Maybin or Jayson Werth a few rounds later.

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