Cincinnati Reds batter Drew Stubbs throws his bat as he reacts after being called out on strikes. Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Leading Off for the Cincinnati Reds...

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.

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Tags: Billy Hamilton Cincinnati Reds Drew Stubbs Dusty Baker

  • beeker

    Indeed, that statement says a lot.

    If you told me that Stubbs would be the #8 hitter until he earned his way up in the order, I would be OK with that. I place a high value on his defense (too high?), but he refuses to choke up with two strikes like Votto and Phillips and his swing is too big. It’s as big as Adam Dunn’s!

  • AdamTwelv

    Stubbs has a lot of potential and the intangibles are there. Question is, can the Reds afford to wait any longer for him to develop? My answer is no. The Reds already got lucky with Bailey and the window is already closing with Votto and Philips in their primes.

    Stubbs has value to a larger market team that could use him as a spark deeper in the batting order. It was no coincidence that Posey had men on base when he stepped to the plate and pretty much won the series for the Giants.

    The Reds must get a lead off hitter or expect the same disappointing outcomes. I love the way Hamilton looks but he is not ready and there are no guarantees there, either.

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