By Mike Harris, Senior Writer for 4thandHome.com
Our first entry in this series looked at the September Star phenomenon and how an astute eye could have forecasted a Jose Bautista 2010 breakout. This week, we take a look at our first nominee, Drew Stubbs, to determine if he's destined for 2011 stardom.
Before we get into Stubbs’ prospects, let's examine the last 5 years of 20-30 players:
Alfonso Soriano 46-41
Jimmy Rollins 25-36
Jimmy Rollins 30-41
David Wright 30-34
Brandon Phillips 30-32
Hanley Ramirez 29-51
Grady Sizemore 24-33
Eric Byrnes 21-50
Grady Sizemore 33-38
Hanley Ramirez 33-35
Ian Kinsler 31-31
Matt Kemp 26-34
Jimmy Rollins 21-31
Drew Stubbs 22-30
Alex Rios 21-34
Hanley Ramirez 21-32
Our findings indicate that a 20-30 player in the majors has been pretty rare and only a few have done it more than once in the past half-decade. And when you look at the list above, it’s hard to deny that most, if not all, of these players helped managers to the fantasy playoffs in their respective years.
The question is: Did Drew Stubbs? Maybe a better question is: How many people even knew Stubbs put up these numbers last year?
Well, as we saw last week in Jose Bautista, most of us were sleeping while Stubbs put up a hot September that lead to an impressive overall stat line.
Stubbs September/October stat line was: .316–19-7–18–6. Without that September, we’re not even talking about Stubbs in this edition.
After reviewing all of Stubbs’ stats from last year, one statistic stands out to me: BABIP. Now, many will point to his “unsustainably high” BABIP of .330 last year and look for a correction in 2011. His overall BABIP last year does not concern me, mainly because it was .325 in 2009 and his minor league career suggests these BABIPs are his “norm.” His BABIP that is cause for concern, in my estimation, is his September/ October average, as displayed below courtesy of FanGraphs:
Notice his BABIP hovering around .400 while he accumulated statistics in that last month. Now THAT is unsustainable.
Stubbs did increase his BB% from 7.7 to 9.4 from 2009 to 2010, but also increased his K% from 27.2 to 32.7 (33.7 in Sep/Oct). His ISO increased, his average decreased and his OBP and SLG were pretty consistent from year to year.
Like Bautista, Stubbs began lifting the ball more as the year went on. His FB% continually increased and he didn’t bat lower than .296 after August 1st. The difference is that the .235 hitting Bautista had a sustainably low BABIP, while the .255 hitting Stubbs’ had an unsustainably high BABIP. This indicates Stubbs is more of a .270 ceiling hitter, with a basement as low as .240, perhaps.
While Stubbs is gaining hype this preseason, sit back and do not overpay for his services, especially if he starts flying off the board before the likes of a Hunter Pence. Stubbs is currently being drafted as the 44th OF off the board and if this trend continues, by all means jump on board. He will most likely repeat his 20-30 performance, so, I will say that Stubbs' value lies as the #30 OF. If he drops below that, snatch him—just don't grab too soon expecting a 2006 Soriano.
He has power and he has speed, but you might have to sacrifice categories due to some very cold spells because of his approach at the plate. That could prove frustrating in a H2H league. Of course, if he swings at the first pitch he sees in every at bat, he might break every single-season record (He batted .424 last year)...
Buy or Sell Drew Stubbs' September as a primer for 2011 stardom: SELL.
Our second 2011 Nomination coming up: Ryan Raburn.