Skeptics Say: Stubbs struck out 205 times leading the majors. His low average of .255 dropped lower still to .243. His RBI's fell from 77 to 44. His HR's dropped from 22 to 15. He left the comfort zone of the 6th spot in the lineup to being the leadoff man. At least that explains the fall in RBI production. Personally, I'm also not afraid of the drop in HR's. 15 from a leadoff man is acceptable to me. His steals did go up, from 30 to 40, and despite his struggles, Dusty Baker views his speed and glove as too valuable to take out of the everyday lineup.
Peer Comparison: Stubbs is similar to both BJ Upton and Cameron Maybin. All three get you steals, some power and a low average.
Stubbs: .243 AVG, .343 BABIP, 15 HR, 40 Steals, 10 CS
Upton: .243 AVG, .298 BABIP, 23 HR, 36 Steals, 12 CS
Maybin: .264 AVG, .331 BABIP, 9 HR, 40 Steals, 8 CS
There is one thing to look at and pause with Stubbs compared to these other guys, and that is the 100 point difference in AVG and BABIP. If he gets unlucky on some batted balls, his average could nose dive into levels that would be unacceptable despite his power/speed potential. I'm betting that he will get more hits this year, and cut down on his K's based mainly on the fact that even though he struck out more in '11 than '10, his swinging strike rate and first pitch strike rate were both lower, and his contact rate was higher in '11 than '10.
Team Outlook: Stubbs bat will still be there day in and day out in the Reds lineup. The other OF's that project to play with Stubbs aren't as good defensively and aren't nearly as fast. Given that he struck out 205 times last year, and Baker still bat him lead off, I'm being lead to believe that Stubbs has a pretty long leash.
What They're Saying: CBS Sportsline - #40 Top 80 Outfielders; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com - #22 in the Top 70 Outfielders & #72 in the Top 250; RotoChamp - #148 in the Top 300
Projection: Stubbs struck out too much for a lead off hitter and will (hopefully) be dropped back to 6th in the line up where he had a great 2010 season. He can steal from anywhere in the line up, but batting lower will give his RBI and HR's a boost back to their 2010 levels. The numbers outside the strike marks are based on him leading of.
.256 AVG, 20 17 HR, 72 48 RBI, 73 Runs, .340 OBP, .743 OPS and 32 steals in 590 AB's.