Minors report: Stubbs hard at work
Reds outfield prospect looking to make strides at the plate
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Not content with his accomplishments from his first professional season, Reds 2006 first-round draft pick Drew Stubbs did what a lot of young Minor Leaguers often do.Looking to improve, Stubbs went to the organization's Sarasota complex and participated in last fall's instructional league. "You're able to get a lot more one-on-one instruction from the instructors," said Stubbs, an outfielder who was selected eighth overall last summer. "During the season, those guys are kind of roving around to the different Minor League spots. You've got so much knowledge on top of you when you're here." Stubbs, who came out of the University of Texas, batted .252 with six home runs, 24 RBIs and 19 steals in 56 games over a short-season for rookie level Billings. Highly rated for his speed and athleticism, especially in center field, the 22-year-old still has work to do at the plate. With 32 walks, compared to 64 strikeouts, he needs to be more selective. According to Baseball America, his long swing has given him trouble with breaking pitches and also made him strikeout prone. The Reds had Stubbs work in the fall with Ken "Squeaky" Parker, a Reds pro scout and senior assistant of player development. "Each time you step up to the plate, you gain more experience and you can be a better player," Stubbs said. The organization was satisfied that Stubbs made progress. "He's a very hard worker," said Grant Griesser, the Reds' assistant director of player development. "He's a very intelligent kid. I think he's the kind of kid that will make adjustments and will make them quickly. He's a tremendous athlete." Stubbs, rated as the Reds' fifth-best prospect by Baseball America, is enjoying his first Spring Training at the Minor League camp. "I've been impressed by the way everybody has come back ready to play," he said. "It's an exciting deal, especially for first-timers like us to prepare for the first full professional season. It's a lot of fun to be out here." On the move: Left-handed reliever Jon Coutlangus has looked decent through his first five games. Coutlangus, who pitched at Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville last season, has worked 4 1/3 scoreless innings and allowed three hits and two walks while striking out three.
Name in the game: Former Reds great George Foster arrived at Reds camp late last week. Foster, who played for Cincinnati from 1971-81, will work with hitters in both the Major and Minor League camps.They're No. 1: 2005 first-round pick Jay Bruce played in his first big-league spring games this past week. Bruce, a right fielder, appeared in two split-squad games on Thursday -- both against the Pirates. He went 1-for-2 in the first game and 0-for-3 in the second game. The 19-year-old was 0-for-1 Saturday vs. Boston. Class of '06: Right-handed pitcher Josh Roenicke, Cincinnati's 10th-round pick last year, went 2-0 with a 4.63 ERA in 21 games with the Gulf Coast League Reds and Billings in his first pro season. Roenicke, who played college ball at UCLA, is the son of Gary Roenicke and the nephew of Ron Roenicke -- both were former big-league outfielders. What they're saying: "Jay can beat you a lot of ways. He's got great power, he steals bases, hits for average, a plus defender in the outfield, can play center, play right. He's really worked on his effectiveness against left-handed pitching. That was a big key for his development last year. In the second half, he started doing well vs. lefties. As a long left-handed hitter, that's the hardest thing. You don't see that many now in pro ball. He's starting to see them and recognize what he's got to do to get his hits off of left-handers." -- Griesser, talking about Bruce's development at Class A Dayton last season.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.