Drew Stubbs: 2014 Player Grade


Brought on as a platoon player with Charlie Blackmon, Drew Stubbs more than earned his keep as a member of the 2014 Colorado Rockies.

Coming out of spring training, a big concern for the Rockies was their glut of outfielders. It’s hard to believe now, but Corey Dickerson didn’t even make the team initially. That turned out to be the right choice, as Charlie Blackmon had an otherworldly April, but ultimately Dickerson belongs with the big league club, and it’s hard to know whom he ought to replace.

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Of course, that question is not nearly as difficult to answer now that Michael Cuddyer is gone (blessedly, in my opinion). Also, Carlos Gonzalez never fully healed from anything in 2014, which makes his status for 2015 doubtful. Now, we appear to be reduced to Dickerson, Blackmon, and the subject of today’s evaluation: Drew Stubbs.

The short version on Stubbs is that we could do far, far worse for an everyday center fielder. He accumulated 2.5 fWAR (tied with batting title winner Justin Morneau for 4th best on the team) and a 113 WRC+ (tied for 5th among players who appeared in at least 50 games). This is solid contribution from a guy who was expected to hit well against lefties and utterly tank against righties, as has been his tendency.

Stubbs’s non-tankage was a big and pleasant surprise. His splits still aren’t great, but nobody’s are. Even Morneau and his .319 batting average only managed to hit .254 against lefties. As my colleague Hayden Kane noted early in the season, Stubbs was showing life when facing right-handed pitchers, driving the ball to all fields. Stubbs’s season-end batted ball chart shows that he sustained that production for the most part:


In fact, Stubbs’s 2014 OPS against right-handed pitchers was nearly a hundred points over his career average. Whether this is a Coors Field inflation or not, the fact remains that he did good for the Rockies. He also did it without getting injured, a miraculous feat for anyone in purple pinstripes this season.

At this point, Stubbs’s biggest downside is probably his defense; he committed 7 errors in 113 games in center field and saved zero defensive runs. Better than a negative number, but still a goose egg. His UZR, -1.4, is classified by Fangraphs as “below average,” and most Rockies are on the positive side of zero. For a team that generally plays solid defense, Stubbs sticks out as being a liability, especially in center.

Going forward, the team will need to find a way to use Stubbs productively. He has played right field in the past, but many feel that Cargo, when healthy, is our best fit there. Deciding what to do with Stubbs in 2015 will mean calculating whether his health and consistency at the plate are worth sacrificing a few defensive runs. For 2014, I give him a B+.

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