Welcome to the first edition of “The Chris Davis ManCRUSH of the Week.” In homage to our hero, Chris Davis, whom we love with all our hearts and will never give up on, the writers here at the FBC have decided to confess their true feelings for the mancrush they believe will eventually find fantasy stardom (and hopefully a spot on your roster this season). Every week the article will focus on a potential-filled player that the given author has especially high hopes for. Please enjoy!
We’ll open the series by focusing on Cincinnati’s young and exciting centerfielder, Drew Stubbs. Stubbs was a first round pick (eighth overall) after an impressive stint at the University of Texas. During his time in Austin he was a three-time All-American and a finalist for the Golden Spikes in his senior year of 2006. His rise through the minors was a quick one and he found himself with the Reds in the latter half of last season, where he posted an impressive .267/.323/.439 line with eight homers and ten steals in only 42 games. The speed shouldn’t be very surprising considering he averaged nearly 50 swipes per 162 games in the minors. The power was a bit of an outlier compared to his past output, but he does come in at 6′4″ 200 lbs and has the frame to become a solid power hitter in the majors.
Coming into this season, there have been questions of whether or not he will be able to find full time ABs in a crowded Reds outfield. His main competition in center looks to be Chris Dickerson, but early indications are that the job is Stubbs’s to lose, and manager Dusty Baker has his back. He has youth, upside and is already a plus defender, posting a solid UZR of 7.5 last season. I realize 42 games is a small sample size, but his defensive ability has always been plus and he is regarded in Reds’ circles as a better centerfielder than Dickerson. In short, he should win the job this spring and hold onto it throughout the season.
There’s a lot to like about Drew’s potential this season. He’s playing in a hitter’s park, meaning the power he showed last year could be here to stay, although I don’t expect him to reach 20 this season. He has a tendency to strike out at an above average rate, but also draws a healthy amount of walks, meaning he should be able to get on base at a better clip than he did in his cup of coffee last year. Most projection systems also have him leading off in the Reds’ lineup, which shouldn’t be a surprise given Baker’s infatuation with speedsters (see: Willy Taveras and his .275 OBP last year). If this is the case he could be in for a nice fantasy season hitting in front of Bruce and Votto and could approach 100 runs if he stays at the top of the order. That being said, his leash might be a bit shorter than the typical situation because of the aforementioned outfield depth, so early success is probably critical to his fantasy value. If he can get off to a good start, the sky might be the limit for this kid. The best statistical comparison I can find for Drew this season is similar to what B.J. Upton put up last year in Tampa Bay (11 homers, 42 steals, .241 average), although I would expect him to hit for a slightly higher average and potentially for more power. The team situation and ballpark he is playing in is perfectly suited to his abilities so I don’t feel I am going overboard in my optimism. Right now his ADP is 282, meaning you could get him anytime after the 20th round in your basic 12-man league. When people are focusing on the Nyjer Morgan/Rajai Davis/Julio Borbon types in the middle rounds, you might be better off focusing elsewhere and waiting to take my man Drew Stubbs, future fantasy superstar.
We’ll see you next week! Until then, peace, love and Chris Davis.
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