This afternoon, I saw the news that the Reds had traded centerfielder Willy Taveras, along with third baseman Adam Rosales, for Aaron Miles. I didn't realize until a fellow owner in one of my NL-only keeper leagues mentioned that Reds may have handed the centerfield job to Drew Stubbs by dealing Taveras.
The fact that a Dusty Baker managed team is going with youth over experience is a sign of the changes in player evaluation that has taken place since we saw the Colorado Rockies and the Tampa Bay Rays make the World Series in two of the last three years. More and more teams are allowing young pitching and hitting prospects to pitch/play in place of older, more experienced players.
This trade benefits Drew Stubbs value in fantasy leagues immensely. Stubbs was called up in mid-August of 2009, after yet another injury to Willy Taveras. Stubbs responded by hitting 8 HRs, driving in 17 runs, scoring 27 runs and stealing 10 bases in 180 at bats. He hit .267-.323-.439 with the Reds, and Bill James' projections for him may not be so outlandish after all. James projects Stubbs to go 11-51-76-51-.267-.336-.390. I have a feeling the 51 SBs may be a bit high, but Stubbs did steal 46 bases in AAA before getting called up.
Stubbs should find himself batting leadoff in 2010 as he batted leadoff in every game but two after getting the call to the big leagues last year. Stubbs will have to improve his K% and BB% if he wants to keep his job, as he struck out in 27% of his at bats with the Reds, with a BB% of only 7.7%.
Stubbs has a career OBP of .364 in the minors, but he struck out over 100 times in each of the last three years in the minors, with a high of 142 back in 2007. Should he be able to increase the BB% and reduce the K%, Stubbs could be a mixed league sleeper in 2010.