Baseball! Yes folks, there are games of Major League Baseball scheduled for today. To the numbers...
For the last 2 years we've heard that Drew Stubbs needs to change his approach at the plate. The common belief is that if Stubbs could simply reduce his strike outs and make more contact he would become a better hitter. Dusty Baker has frequently said that Stubbs needs to be "more aggressive" at the plate. It appears as though Stubbs has bought into Baker's advice, and he's having the worst season of his career.
As you can see, the K rate and walk rate are relatively similar from year to year. Stubbs is making more contact this year, and striking out less, but the change is negligible. The major difference for Stubbs this year is he is seeing fewer pitches. He is putting the ball in play early in the count. This aggressive approach is part of the reason his OBP and BB% are down.
Sure, there are many factors that are contributing to Stubbs' horrible year at the plate (low BABIP for instance). However, one thing is clear to me... Drew Stubbs is never going to be a "contact hitter," and trying to change his approach at the plate can only hurt his development. Stubbs is clearly trying to be more aggressive and put the ball in play this year, but he still strikes out a lot. No matter how he approaches his at bats, strike outs will always be a problem for Stubbs. Can we just accept that, and let him go back to being the player he was in 2010?
The number of starting pitchers the Reds have use through 85 games this year. As our friend Joel Luckhaupt points out:
#Reds have never used 5 or fewer SP in 85 games before. Only 3 times since 1951 have they used 6 (1996, 1992, 1986).
This is amazing and scary at the same time. Historically speaking, the Reds have been extremely lucky this year in terms of the health of their rotation. When you consider the options available if one of the five starting pitchers goes down, it becomes even more frightening.
Joey Votto isn't just a great hitter, he is amazingly consistent. Take a look at his career numbers by month.
- There is no month in which Votto's batting average is less than .311
- While his OBP drops off a bit after June, he makes up for it with an increase in power. His OBP in the 2nd half of the season drops 24 points, while his SLG increases by 20 points, leaving his OPS nearly unchanged (.972 in the first half, .968 in the second half).
- Don't expect Votto's record setting pace for doubles to drop off. For his career, Votto has hit more doubles (50) in September than any other month.