Bringin’ the Noise: Stalking Stubbs
This spring, Goodyear, Arizona is the epicenter of hype. Curious fans, media types and fame hungry Annie Savoys have descended onto the suburban desert community hoping to catch a glimpse of a growing legend, Cuban pitching sensation Aroldis Chapman(notes).
Overshadowed by the golden-armed import, the former ’06 first-round pick is a young Red who deserves to be drenched in exaggeration. Though his late-season promotion from Triple-A Louisville a year ago attracted marginal fanfare, the gritty centerfielder’s impact was indelible. His invaluable across-the-board contribution (180 at-bats, .267-8-17-27-10) was the championship-making push deeper mixed and NL-only owners desperately needed. According to Baseball Monster, only nine other outfielders, among them position behemoths Ryan Braun, Matt Kemp(notes) and Matt Holliday(notes), yielded a higher profit during the most critical time of the fantasy season.
Expect significant growth in 2010 …
Unconventional best describes Stubbs’ leadoff profile. His historical minor league OBP trends and propensity for strikeouts are the anti-Ichiro(notes). Last year, he notched a lowly .323 OBP and 0.31 BB/K rate with the senior club. Suffice it to say, he definitely won’t compete for batting titles. Still, the youngster remains unapologetic for his attacking nature. From MLB.com:
“I feel like I’ve worked counts but at the same time, I’m aggressive if I get a good pitch to hit and try to drive it,” Stubbs said. “Curtis Granderson(notes) and Grady Sizemore(notes) can do that also. Those are two great guys to follow. They do a lot of things well. They get the extra-base hits and home runs and also get on base and stir up the base paths a little. Seeing their success is something I can try to emulate.”
Despite his shortcomings, Stubbs, like comparables Granderson and Sizemore, is a top-of-the-order combo meal – high levels of saturated fat, sodium and abundant fantasy flavor included. Consuming him in drafts could lead to increased blood pressure and statistical euphoria. He truly is a rare combination of power and speed.
The hitter-friendly specs of the Great American Ballpark combined with the Reds’ powerful lineup – Joey Votto(notes) is destined to have a mammoth year – only amplify his overall worth. Cincy, which averaged just 4.15 runs per game last year, the seventh-worst mark in the majors, will most certainly exhibit more offensive potency. More importantly, unlike Chapman, Dusty Baker can’t destroy Stubbs.
By showing increased selectivity at the plate, a mind-blowing, Eric Byrnes(notes) in ’07-like campaign isn’t completely unfathomable for the 25-year-old. Saber godfather Bill James agrees. Because he can be acquired in Cody Ross(notes)/Jack Cust/Marlon Byrd(notes) territory (ADP 311.78, OF69) he is quite possibly the most intriguing late-round selection available in mixed formats. Since he’s firmly entrenched as Baker’s opening day centerfielder and based on his minor league track-record, a .265-15-45-90-40 output seems attainable.
Chapman may be the most desired Reds prospect in most drafters’ eyes. But for the budding outfielder, an acre of performance is worth the whole Land of Promise.