|This guy gets my vote|
At one time or another, we have all heard the term "x factor" used when describing a player on a given team. But what exactly does the term "x factor" even mean? Well, according to the trusted source known as dictionary.com, the definition of it is as follows: (noun) 1. A variable in a situation that could have the most significant impact on the outcome. 2. A special talent or quality. Good to know.
Now that we have some understanding of what the label entails, a natural curiosity may be to wonder who the x factor is on the Reds. ESPN analyst and former team executive Jim Bowden provided his input on this very matter in his latest post entitled "X factors for contenders down the stretch". In it he tabs Homer Bailey as his choice for first-place Cincy. Here's what else he had to say regarding the Redlegs:
Circumstance: The top of the Reds’ rotation, led by Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos, has been a lethal one-two punch that has made the Reds a legitimate front-runner to win the NL Central. But the rest of the rotation has been suspect.
X factor: Homer Bailey. The right-hander will be a key for the Reds to not only clinch the division but to advance beyond the first round of the playoffs. Bailey has struggled of late, failing to last six innings in his past three starts. However, he also has started seven games this year in which he’s allowed just two earned runs or fewer.
Although I think Bailey is a good candidate for that role on the team, I am going to respectfully disagree with Bowden here. In my opinion, the true x factor on this ball club is Drew Stubbs. Here's why.
The team appears to go as Stubbs goes. Their record in games when he scores at least one run this season is an astronomical 42-5. On the flip side, they are 17-33 when he's in the lineup yet fails to score at all. That's a pretty good correlation if you ask me. When Stubbs crosses the dish, the Reds usually win. Pretty simple.
Furthermore, he sports a slash line (BA/OBP/SLG) of .279/.344/.493 in games with which the Reds win this year. But in losses, his line is an unsightly .142/.218/.201. He's produced 24 extra base hits (12 HR) in victories and only four (2 HR) in defeats. Again, the Reds go as he goes.
Simply put, the Reds are generally successful when Drew Stubbs is as well. To me that's the epitome of an x factor. And that's why Stubbs earns the title on this roster.
If you have another player who you would consider to be a better choice, feel free to drop a line in the comment section below.