I was hoping the Reds would have him skip Sarasota and begin in Chattanooga.
Stubbs is Reds’ Bruce for ’08
SARASOTA, Fla. — He’s an outfielder, he’s a Texan, and he’s among the top prospects in the Cincinnati Reds organization.
Jay Bruce? Correct.
Drew Stubbs? Right again.
A year after Bruce rocketed through Cincinnati’s farm system and became the top prospect in all of baseball according to Baseball America, Stubbs is ready to make his own upward surge. The 23-year-old center fielder from Texarkana will begin this season at high Single-A Sarasota but hopes to be in Chattanooga by June, which is when Bruce briefly arrived last summer before continuing on to Triple-A Louisville.
“I’ve had a pretty good spring, and if I can keep up the things I’ve been doing and build off that, I think I’ll be there before too long,” Stubbs said. “Being consistent in all phases of the game is the main thing. Rather than being great a few days of the week, I need to be good every day. That’s my goal.”
In 129 games last year in Single-A Dayton, Stubbs hit .270 with 29 doubles and 12 home runs, stole 23 bases and led the Midwest League with 93 runs scored. The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder batted .321 in August, and Baseball America listed him after the season as the best defensive outfielder among Reds minor leaguers.
Stubbs enters this season as the No. 5 prospect in Cincinnati’s organization and baseball’s No. 100 prospect overall.
“I’ve played a couple of intrasquad games against him, and he looked pretty good,” new Lookouts manager Mike Goff said. “He’s very talented physically, and he’s a guy I’m hoping before the year is over that we’ll see in Chattanooga.”
Because he’s an outfielder from Texas, comparisons to the 20-year-old Bruce are inevitable.
The Reds drafted Bruce straight out of high school in 2005 and signed him for $1.8 million. They drafted Stubbs, who chose to play three seasons for the Texas Longhorns, first in 2006 and signed him for $2 million.
“We’re both outfielders from Texas, but I think our style of play is different,” Stubbs said. “He’s left-handed and does some things I don’t do, and I do a few things he doesn’t do. I think it’s just more coincidence than anything else that we’re from the same state and in the same organization, but any time anybody does make a comparison, I take it as a compliment because of the success he’s had.
“Hopefully in a few years, we’ll both be in the same outfield.”
Stubbs said he met Bruce not long after the 2006 draft and they have been in close contact since.
Terry Reynolds, Cincinnati’s director of player development, agreed that Bruce and Stubbs are alike in some ways and different in others. Most of their similarities are positives, he added, but not all of them.
“Drew has things to work on just like Jay does,” Reynolds said. “Strikeouts are an issue for both of them. Jay has probably been a more consistent hitter and is a bigger and stronger guy who can play center or corner, but Drew is a pure center fielder. They are different breeds of cat, but there are also similarities.
“Both are first-round picks. Both have all sorts of tools. Both are good players and good kids, so you would hope they would be on similar tracks.”