Drew Stubbs: 2011 Fantasy Undervalued

Here are three real players that are currently being drafted in three different parts of fantasy drafts, the 9th round, 12th round or 17th round:

Player #1: .297 avg, 12 HR, 7 SB, 79 R, 60 RBI in 2010 (27 yr old)
Player #2: .251 avg, 17 HR, 0 SB, 63 R, 69 RBI in 2010 (32 yr old)
Player #3: .255 avg, 22 HR, 30 SB, 91 R, 77 RBI in 2010 (26 yr old)

It’s pretty puzzling to know that Player #3 is the one being drafted in the 17th round currently (the other two players were Nick Markakis and Ryan Ludwick).  The 17th round draft pick is none other than Drew Stubbs, if the title of this article didn’t give it away for you.

Now, it should be noted that most projection systems are pegging Stubbs for a slight drop in production from those numbers.  One of the two main issues with Stubbs is his strikeouts.  He was third in strikeout percentage last year, ranking right behind Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn.  Yet, Stubbs doesn’t have quite the huge power output similar to those fellows in order to offset the issue.  The 22 HR’s are nice and they don’t seem to be a product of his home ballpark as 9 came on the road and the average distance was fairly good across the board.  He’s got some similarities to those power hitters as well due to the fact that he’s a major fly ball hitter too. That’s something he needs to work on in order to get on base more and  really take advantage of his speed.

His minor league numbers suggest a player who struggled to find his power and relied on his good speed as he hit 28 HR with 121 SB in 423 games.  The power came into shape in the majors now which allowed him to hit 30 HR in 192 games thus far.  Without the minor league history to back up his power, it’s hard to put complete faith in another 20+ HR season.  But, even if the power drops, a 15 HR season with 30 SB and 80+ Runs and RBI’s is nothing to scoff at even if the batting average is around .260 or so.

Yet, despite the weaker minor league numbers, the pedigree has always been there to be a power hitter as he was a top draft pick and early prospect reports noted the following:

“Stubbs has very impressive raw power, but it really isn’t translating into homerun numbers. At this point, Stubbs’ efforts to limit his strikeouts and improve his contact rate have robbed him of some power. However, if Stubbs can improve his contact rate, then the power should eventually follow”

Perhaps in the majors, he just chose to accept his nature as a guy who strikes out a lot as he went back to focusing on hitting for power.  It’s hard to say exactly what it was exactly but his HR/FB rate doesn’t seem unsustainable even if it is a bit high.

Stubbs ended 2010 on a hot streak where it seemed he was making progress in turning more of his ground balls into line drives which netted him a .310 average over the last two months of the season (49 games).  His walk percentage even went up significantly over those last two months.  All of that extra time on base meant more stolen bases too, of course.

If those last two months are any indicator, he could be due to raise his average and stolen base numbers even if his power does take a slight dip this season.  Last season was his first full season in the majors so it would certainly make sense that he would get better as the season went on as the coaches worked with him.  Regardless of what happens in 2011, the perfect storm of bad seasons for Stubbs would likely still be worth a gamble in the 17th round or even far before that.

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