Reds looking toward future
Take talent, not quick fixes
BY JOHN FAY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The Reds weren't looking for immediate help when they picked Drew Stubbs in the first round of Tuesday's amateur draft.
Stubbs is a center fielder from the University of Texas. The Reds have a guy named Ken Griffey Jr. who's playing pretty well in center field.
While the philosophy of the Reds has shifted to trying to win immediately, senior scouting director Chris Buckley had no mandate from general manager Wayne Krivsky to fill holes.
"I've known Wayne for a long time," Buckley said. "We wanted to get the best prospect, they guy who will be the best major leaguer down the road."
They think that's Stubbs, but he's a long way from Great American Ball Park. If he signs, Stubbs will start at Billings (Mont.), the Reds' rookie ball team.
In the old Paul Brown tradition, the Reds chose Stubbs because he was the best player available.
"To us, he was the best athlete in the draft," Buckley said.
Stubbs, 21, just completed his junior year for the Longhorns. He is similar to last year's top Reds pick, Jay Bruce, in that he combines speed and power. Stubbs is 6 feet 4 and 210 pounds, and Baseball America rated him as the best defensive player, best athlete and second-best baserunner among the college players in the draft.
"He can really, really run," Buckley said. "He can run like Rocco Baldelli."
Baldelli, a Tampa Bay outfielder, stole 27 bases in as a rookie in 2003.
"Speed is probably my best asset," Stubbs said. "A lot of guys don't have that."
"I have the chance to change the game with my legs," Stubbs added.
Stubbs, who is from Atlanta, Texas, was drafted in the third round out of high school by the Houston Astros. The Astros tried to sign him to a $900,000 bonus, but the commissioner's office asked the team not to exceed the third-round bonus average by so much and the deal fell apart.
"It was disappointing," he said. "But when it fell apart, I think it may have been the best thing for me. I wanted to go to college."
Stubbs seems ready to sign this time. The Reds have money in the budget to get a deal done, and they already have talked to Stubbs' agent, Ryan Ware.
"The way we've been talking recently, we pretty much came to an agreement that I wouldn't be difficult to sign if I was drafted," Stubbs said. "I'm not sure how quick the actual signing will take place. When it comes to negotiations, I think all that's pretty much ironed out and I won't be a problem to sign at all."
Stubbs hit .342 with a .439 on-base percentage this year, with 12 home runs, 58 RBI and 26 steals in 231 at-bats. He struck out 60 times.
"Hopefully, he can cut that down," Buckley said.
Stubbs is confident he can.
"I think when I get more at-bats it will cure a lot of those problems," he said. "I don't consider myself a guy that's one of those big power hitters that's either going to hit a home run or strike out. I think I'm more of a balanced hitter that can hit for average. My development over the next few years will cure a lot of those problems."
The Reds picked 18 players - 13 college players, two junior college players and three high school players - on Tuesday. Buckley said they haven't decided to go more heavily on older players.
"We tried to balance it," Buckley said. "It wasn't by design."
Among the Reds' other picks:
Round 2: Sean Watson, a right-handed pitcher from the University of Tennessee. He was the Vols' closer this year, going 4-3 with a 4.61 ERA and 11 saves. "We thought he was best arm on the board," Buckley said.
Round 3: Christopher Valaika, a shortstop from the University of California-Santa Barbara. "A good offensive player," Buckley said.
Round 12; Logan Parker, a first baseman from the University of Cincinnati. "He's a better athlete," Buckley said. "He could also play left or right field."