Top-pick Stubbs ticketed for center field
Former Longhorns star needs to work on raising his batting average.
By Marc Katz

Staff Writer

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

SARASOTA, Fla. For a second straight free-agent draft, the Cincinnati Reds chose an outfielder No. 1 last summer.

Drew Stubbs played three years at the University of Texas and came with credentials. He also came with a proclivity to strike out.

"He has speed and power," said Reds Director of Player Development Terry Reynolds, who was part of the scouting department when Stubbs was drafted last summer. "He does everything well, but needs to make contact. That's the thing he needs to work on."

Stubbs will work on that in Dayton next week as the Class A Midwest League Dragons' center fielder. Last season, Jay Bruce, the No. 1 pick by the Reds in 2005, played for the Dragons, and was an all-star.

"It doesn't matter where I go," Stubbs said. "You just want to progress as quickly as possible."

Stubbs played last season at Billings, Mont., in the rookie Pioneer League. His numbers paled only to his teammates four of whom batted more than .300. Stubbs hit .252.

As a junior at Texas, Stubbs was his team's co-MVP, a first team All-American, co-Big 12 Player of the Year and a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award as the season's best college player.

Growing up in northeast Texas, Stubbs played four sports baseball, football, basketball and track in high school and was a Houston Astros fan.

"He has a lot of tools," Dragons manager Donnie Scott said. "He's known as a good defensive player. I think the guy's going to hit for power. He's got to work on his swing, like anybody else."

Sunday, Stubbs went 2-for-4 vs. Toronto.

Dragons tales

With the Reds still borrowing liberally from their minor-league complex, Reynolds has not been able to solidify any rosters.

"There's no hurry," Reynolds said. "It doesn't matter when we put the rosters together as long as everybody gets in their innings."

Right-hander Johnny Cueto, one of the sensations of last year's Dragons pitching staff, was bumped to the "low" A game Monday against the Pirates, responding with a four-inning one-hitter. He struck out five and walked one.

Former Dragons catcher Marc Suarez ('01) visited and declared Scott "the best manager I ever played for."

Forced to quit because of a bad shoulder, Suarez now works in Miami real estate.