The Cleveland Indians acquisition of Drew Stubbs could not have come at a better time for the former Cincinnati Reds 2006 first round draft pick. Stubbs seems to be an almost always undervalued commodity providing elite level defense with some power and speed on the base paths. The reason Stubbs tenure ran out with the Reds in a disappointing manner is that they unfairly blamed his poor lead-off production for being what was between them and a title. While Stubbs strikes out too much and lacks the on-base percentage to be a good lead-off hitter, he still holds offensive value to go along with his incredible defense.
Here are a few reasons why Drew Stubbs will have a rebound season in 2013:
- As touched on earlier Stubbs experience with the Reds had become toxic, there was an inordinate amount of pressure placed on Stubbs because of his prospect pedigree that seemed to weigh him down. A change in scenery even just up the road in Cleveland should serve to free and relax Stubbs.
- Indians manager Terry Francona seems to get the best out of his players be it through his unsurpassed positivity (something Stubbs could use) or an innate ability to tap into the guys in his clubhouse.
- The largest substantiated criticism of Stubbs is his abysmal contact rate. This is a due critique as his strikeout issues have never really improved. In order to address this problem Stubbs will be shifting from a large leg-kick to a toe-tap as a way to begin his swing. The hope being with this change that it will keep his core more stable and will prevent him from being off-balance at different points in his swing.
- Lastly is luck, well the more analytic baseball approach to luck. The statistic used is BABIP (Batting Average On Balls In Play) is pretty simple but still valuable. This basically measures batting average excluding strikeouts. Stubbs career BABIP is around .320 compared to last season’s disappointing .290. What this means is that last season was probably a statistical outlier and thus this season should represent a regression to the mean. If it regresses even a reasonable amount Stubbs should hit .245 with 15 homers and 30 steals in the nine hole this season.