Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/16/14
Reds-stubbs-bats-against
The Reds have been looking for a consistent leadoff hitter since the current iteration of the team began contention in 2010. Drew Stubbs was supposed to fill that role, but his performance has trended the wrong way since 2009 — after a sharp 105 wRC+ in 2010, Stubbs has posted marks of 90 and a brutal 64 in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Between Stubbs and Zack Cozart, Reds leadoff hitters hit an awful .208/.254/.327 last season. Now, the Reds are looking to fill the two holes Stubbs’s decline has left them with — leadoff hitter and center field. The club was interested in Ben Revere but the Phillies beat them to the punch. CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler reports the Reds are shifting their sights towards Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler. Knobler reports starting pitcher Mike Leake may be the cost for Fowler. Homer Bailey’s name has popped up as well. Is Fowler enough of an upgrade over Fowler for the Reds to deal away one of their MLB-ready starting pitchers? Fowler is a clear upgrade at the plate. He owns a 104 career wRC+ against Stubbs’s 88, and recent years favor him even more strongly: Source: FanGraphs — Dexter Fowler, Drew Stubbs The above chart shows wOBA, which misses the park adjustments, but the relationship is similar with wRC+ as well, just a little tighter. Many will point to Fowler’s wide home-road splits as a black eye, but Stubbs has had a similar road experience in his time as a Red — Fowler’s 79 road wRC+ outpaces Stubbs’s 70 mark. The ZiPS projections agree with Fowler’s superiority. Fowler is projected for a .273/.366/.452 slash line, a touch better than his 2011 season — roughly a 110 wRC+. Stubbs is projected for just a .230/.301/.370 line, between his 2011 and 2012 seasons — close to an 80 wRC+ — about a 15-run difference over 600 plate appearances. But what about defense? Both Stubbs and Fowler are speed demons with highly regarded defensive skillsets. Defensive metrics disagree — UZR has Stubbs 50 runs better over the past four years, nearly closing the gap with the bat. DRS, however, has Stubbs with just a 20-run lead since 2009, which would still leave Fowler as worth roughly a win more per season. Stubbs’s defense makes him well worth a roster spot even though his bat leaves a lot to be desired and seems unlikely to be fixed anytime soon. Even if Fowler is as good a defensive player as Stubbs, the difference between their bats isn’t big enough to warrant moving Homer Bailey, who took a huge step forward in 2012. Bailey posted a 3.68 ERA and 3.97 FIP at just 26 years old, made even more impressive by the constricting dimensions of Great American Ball Park as well as a no-hitter against the Pirates late in the season. But what about a deal for Mike Leake? Leake has just a 4.23 ERA and 4.43 FIP in his first 485 major league innings. The club has Tony Cingrani waiting in the pipeline to take over the fifth starter spot. Fowler could be a regular starter in center field, with Stubbs serving as a reserve outfielder able to cover center field as a defensive replacement and spot starter. Ryan Ludwick (who appears to be near a deal to return to Cincinnati) can start in left field with the stalwart Jay Bruce in right field. The Reds gave 487 plate appearances to non-starter outfielders last year — opportunities would be available for both Stubbs and Chris Heisey off the bench. Or, if the Reds trust Xavier Paul to serve as a fifth outfielder, they could explore the trade market for either reserve. Stubbs is a former top prospect with undeniable ability as a defensive center fielder, and a non-contender may find a project in him. Heisey offers reliable corner outfield defense with a sharp bat against left-handed pitching (119 wRC+ career). The difference between Dexter Fowler and Drew Stubbs is there. It’s not a grand chasm, and not one worth a budding starter like Homer Bailey. But if the Reds can pick up Fowler for a replaceable talent like Mike Leake, the flexibility and depth they would pick up in the outfielder would be worth the cost.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Short selling leaves hundreds of fans without S.B. tickets

Hamilton, Edmonds' spouses to appear on 'Real Housewives'

Aaron Rodgers wins NFL MVP

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix trolls LSU over Kevin Steele hire

2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame class announced

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jerome Bettis elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame

Report: Duncan suing financial adviser, lost $20 million

Bret Bielema wanted Dolphins to draft Russell Wilson early

Nick Diaz apologizes to fans for skipping open workout

NFLPA President compares Goodell to a 2-year-old

NFL explains how Super Bowl balls will be prepped

WATCH: 'SNL' mocks Super Bowl

Sabres had a horrific month of January

Ole Miss uses Katy Perry as prop in recruiting

PHOTO: Ezekiel Elliott gets new national title tattoo

WATCH: Rondo takes brutal knee to face from teammate

Pig auctioned off at halftime of college basketball game

Should the Super Bowl be played on a Saturday?

Underwear company shows support for Marshawn Lynch

WATCH: WVU player flips opponent the double-bird

Five NFL players who could be cap casualties in 2015

Making the case for NFL co-MVPs

WATCH: Tom Brady sings about balls being deflated

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Aaron Rodgers wins NFL MVP

Tim Duncan suing financial adviser?

Five likely cap casualties of 2015

Making the case for NFL co-MVPs

WATCH: Tom Brady sings about balls

Missy Elliott to join Katy Perry at SB?

Obama zings Pats over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's POY candidates

Super Bowl XLIX preview and predictions: Patriots vs. Seahawks

The 13 things we want to see in Super Bowl XLIX

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Tiger Woods, misses cut: ‘I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined’

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.