I read a quote this evening in an article Mark Sheldon wrote tonight from the Winter Meetings at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennesee. The piece referenced comments made by Walt Jocketty about the Reds interest in a leadoff hitter and it went on to discuss the ongoing negotiations with free agent Ryan Ludwick.
As the article reached its conclusion Sheldon reminded readers of the variety of leadoff men Dusty employed, namely Zack Cozart, Brandon Phillips and Drew Stubbs. Mark then shared this quote from the mouth of Dusty Baker: ”We’re trying to get Stubbs into the maturity of a leadoff man because he’s a perfect leadoff man for the team if he could get it together.” This simple statement of fact says more about the Reds organization than anything else I have read this year. Let’s read between the lines at what Baker is saying:
Drew Stubbs is the perfect leadoff man if…
- He could hit?
- He could be patient at the plate?
- He could put the ball in play and allow his speed to take over?
- He could just avoid striking out more than he gets a hit? (To answer the question I know you are thinking, in Drew Stubbs career he has 588 strikeouts and 431 hits. He has never had a season where he had more hits than K’s and the last two seasons he has amassed 50 more strikeouts than hits both years.)
The problem with Stubbs is that by all accounts he is very bright. My impression is that while quite intelligent he lacks the focus and self discipline to move to the instinctual level of a natural superstar. Pete Rose was gifted with heart and an unquenchable desire to win. If Drew Stubbs could ever tap into that this Cincinnati Reds team will win a World Series championship.
Can Drew come through? If you have read previous posts that I have written you will find I feel in my heart it is time to move on and more is the pity. A team with Stubbs and Billy Hamilton on the bases together would be a sight to behold and opposing pitchers would be in fear of their speed coupled with Joey Votto‘s uncanny ability to hit with runners in scoring position.
At this point Billy is the future and reading Dusty Baker’s own words, barring a trade he still holds hope that Drew Stubbs might step to the plate and assume his rightful role as the Reds leadoff hitter. Hope is a good thing, even when it may not be the right thing.
Follow me on Twitter @JohnHeitz