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If Dickerson Goes on the DL, Who Should the Reds Bring Up?

Since Jay Bruce went on the disabled list, the Reds have been playing somewhat thin in the outfield. Dusty Baker has been splitting time between Jonny Gomes, Laynce Nix, Chris Dickerson, and Jerry Hairston Jr. while Willy Taveras plays center field full time. Now that Chris Dickerson is injured, and potentially going on the DL, the Reds should look at adding an outfielder to the roster.

The problem is that there are no other outfielders on the 40-man roster. The current crop of outfielders in Louisville consists of Drew Stubbs, Daniel Dorn, Chris Heisey, and Darnell McDonald. Dorn hasn't shown any indication that he is ready to be called up, plus he hasn't played in 5 days (injury?). McDonald is having a very good season (.312/.343/.550) in Louisville, but he looked dreadful in the Majors and really isn't much of a prospect. I know he has just as good of a chance at being called up as anybody, but can anyone honestly say they'd be excited to see McDonald again?

That leaves us with Drew Stubbs and Chris Heisey. I've noticed a fairly even split on the site between who should get the call up, so I figured it would be good to break down the discussion a little more scientifically. Here are some arguments on either side:

  • First-round draft pick in 2006
  • Gold Glove level defense in center field. Considered by some to be the best defensive outfielder in the minors
  • Never posted an OBP below .360 in an entire season
  • 37 stolen bases this season with just 6 caught stealing
  • Slugging just .366 this season in Louisville and has never slugged over .421 in an entire season
  • Has struck out 413 times in 403 career games in the minors
  • Highest batting average in a season is .277, career average is .269
  • Second highest OPS (.960) in the organization for 2009 behind only Joey Votto
  • Excellent defense at all three outfield positions
  • Numbers have improved at every level in the minors
  • Has only 230 career strikeouts compared to 158 career walks in 418 games
  • Just a 17th round pick in 2006, only recently became identified as a real prospect
  • Just over 500 plate appearances above A-ball, including only 110 in AAA
  • His 2009 are much better across the board than his previous seasons, which could be the result of a small sample

The hard part of this conversation is that these guys have different styles of play. Stubbs is looking like he will fill the role of lead-off hitter well, while Heisey is probably more of a 2-7 hitter. This makes it harder to compare them on the surface because when you look at the numbers (after the jump), Heisey is clearly a better hitter than Stubbs. On the other hand, though, Stubbs might be more ready to fill his projected role immediately. That is to say, Stubbs could possibly come up and play center field today while posting a .350+ OBP and stealing a few bases. He's not going to hit for much power or drive in a ton of runs, but if he can get on base, that's a big step up from what we've been getting in the lead-off spot.

You could make an argument that Heisey's bat shows more offensive potential and therefore he may need more time in Louisville to keep refining his skill. Jay Bruce showed us this year how hard it can be in the Majors if you have flaws in your approach. Ultimately, it looks like a decision like this is going to come down to the scouts' opinions of where each player is at.

Or the Reds will just punt and call up Darnell McDonald.

Drew Stubbs BA OBP SLG OPS
4 Seasons .269 .366 .405 .770
Rook (1 season) .252 .368 .400 .768
A (1 season) .270 .364 .421 .785
A_adv (1 season) .261 .366 .406 .772
AA (1 season) .315 .400 .402 .802
AAA (2 seasons) .273 .359 .387 .746
Chris Heisey BA OBP SLG OPS
4 Seasons .303 .375 .462 .837
Rook (1 season) .286 .362 .400 .762
A (1 season) .289 .350 .436 .785
A_adv (2 seasons) .292 .382 .438 .820
AA (2 seasons) .340 .409 .554 .963
AAA (1 season) .316 .352 .500 .852

Data provided by