My SportsBlogs Nation colleague Burnt Orange Nation sat down with Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus back in April, and one of the topics of conversation was Texas (and now Reds) outfielder Drew Stubbs:
Burnt Orange Nation: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Kevin. Let's start with some current Horns before we talk about some of the guys that are already competing in the professional ranks. Texas' top prospect is outfielder Drew Stubbs. From my perspective, he's already got the range to play centerfield in the pros, and he obviously carries a big stick, but the 39 strikeouts in 137 ABs is worrisome. How do scouts project Stubbs, and is he still a Top 10 pick?
Kevin Goldstein, Baseball Prospectus: Anytime, it's always fun talking about college baseball. I think you just pretty much nailed the book on Stubbs, and I think you may be even underselling the defense. I know one scouting director who think Stubbs is among the top 10 centerfielders in the game at any level, and that's remarkable praise. In addition, all of the tools are there for him to be a top-flight offensive player as well, but as you note, his ability to make contact is a huge concern for scouts. I think the most alarming thing really has been the lack of progress in Stubbs game. You would like to see a nice upward climb in production and a nice decline in strikeouts, but Stubbs has really remained pretty steady. His stock is definitely down from where it was at the beginning of the season. He's still first-round easy, and somebody picking high may take a chance because of his high ceiling, but some position players like Long Beach State's Evan Longoria have passed him on most team's boards.
One of the top 10 centerfielders in the game at any level, already. I'm assuming that's talking about his defense, and I have to say that's pretty exciting.
In a few years our defense is going to be much improved, and that'll help to improve the pitching. You just have to remember the '99 team, and the strong up the middle defense that it had (Pokey, Larkin, Cameron) to realize how important a team's defense can be. So many pitchers had career years that year, and it obviously had something to do with the players playing behind them.