8. Cincinnati Reds: Drew Stubbs, OF (Texas)
Stubbs has been associated with the “Can He Hit?” question since people have ranked the 2006 draft-eligible players. However, from a facts perspective, he has *never not* hit. As a freshman, at one of the country’s largest programs, Stubbs earned an everyday spot. He was one of the better players on a 2005 club that won the national title, drawing rave reviews for his defense in center. The College World Series proved Stubbs to be a freak athlete – and freak athletes with contact problems draw an unfortunate group of comps.
Last summer, Stubbs hit well with wood, hitting .304 for the USA Baseball National team. And this year, given the role of leading the Texas attack, Stubbs thrived, coming to play on every day of the week. There are serious contact problems, yes, but Stubbs skillset counteracts that. His speed and power should yield higher BABIP rates than than most players, meaning we don’t have to write him off as Torii Hunter just yet (how many can say that?).
If all else fails, Stubbs will sit on a Major League bench, able to play all three OF positions, and able to steal a base, hit a home run and draw a walk at will. If all goes well, he is the best position player eligible to be drafted.
I was skeptical initially, but after looking at Stubbs’ stats and what he did in his career at Texas, I think this is a decent pick. I would have rather had an arm, but I can’t fault the Reds for taking Stubbs.
Let’s hope Stubbs and Jay Bruce join Austin Kearns in the Reds outfield in a few years (with Adam Dunn at first base, of course).