Let me get one thing straight- I have a major league mancrush on Drew Stubbs. It happens. Like my infatuation with Dexter Fowler or Dave’s fascination withJerome Williams, it’s just a bit of guy love between two guys… (count it, Scrubsreference). Stubbs came up a nifty prospect, nothing to break down doors about, but thought to be a useful guy. He produced 8 homers and 10 steals in only 196 plate appearances in his call up in 2009 before becoming a late round GEM in 2010, banging out 22 homers and stealing 30 bases in 584 PA. A legitimate 30-30 threat, Stubbs was grabbed in many a later round draft time in 2010. So in looking forward to 2011, I’m investigating what guys you’ve probably heard of, be it a semi-touted prospect, a down-on-his-luck flameout (still holding a candle for Alex Gordon, anyone?), or a player who has produced in a small sample are capable of producing in multiple categories for very little cash (in auctions) or may not be drafted (in other formats). That sentence could probably use a good edit but alas, I am lazy. The point is, here is a guy who will, like Stubbs, provide a cheap power/speed combo in 2011:
Jose Tabata, unlike my last Stubb-ish sighting Peter Bourjos, is not as likely to sneak up on anyone in 2011. Jose Tabata had a pretty darn good year in 2010. Tabata has excellent speed. Tabata slaps the ball around. Let us use a similar means of looking at Tabata as I did with Stubbs and Bourjos- XBH/PA and steals. As I have described before, Stubbs in his call-up hit an XBH about once every 14 PA’s and in 2010 hit one every 12.4- this is my barometer for extra base hits and all the players I’m discussing have the capability to steal 30 plus bases. Tabata stole 19 bases in the majors and 25 in the minors in 2010, 44 steals in 693 PA, or once every 15.75 times he stepped up to the plate. In 2010 in the majors and minors, Tabata hit 7 homers. In his minor league career he displayed excellent doubles gap power. In the majors it is not unreasonable to think that with proper time batting (read 600-ish PA), Tabata could hit 10 homers while stealing 40 bases.
So let’s talk extra bases. I’m assuming, as most seem to be, that Tabata will steal around 30 bases. In 2010 in AAA, Tabata hit 13 doubles, 2 triples, and 3 homers in 252 PA – good for an XBH every 14 PA, the magic number. So let’s look at the numbers in the majors: 21 doubles, 4 triples, and 4 homers in 441 PA, or an XBH every 15.2 PA. Remember this is coming with 44 steals across the two levels. Now I get to the juicy part: Bill James likes him too. He has him pegged for 30 doubles, 3 triples, 7 homers and 37 steals in 612 PA. That is looking forward to an XBH every 15.3 PA and a steal every 16.5 PA. I liked Tabata last year as a pick up and I like him even more with some experience going into 2011. Watch him, heck, take a late round flyer on him. He’s a good source for 30 steals and could surprise you with his extra base proficiency.