Cincinnati Reds: The Legend of Drew Stubbs: The Fall of the Five-Tool Star

Evan Vogel@EvanVogelTweetsContributor IIIMay 8, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 22:  Drew Stubbs #6 of the Cincinnati Reds bats against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 22, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Reds defeated the Cubs 4-3.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Once upon a time, there was this fantastic prospect for whom Cincinnati fans were clamoring. 

Reds fans were taught to love "toolsy" players like Wily Mo Pena by old "Leatherpants" Jim Bowden.  Now, after waiting patiently for Drew Stubbs to arrive in the big leagues after being taken with the eighth overall pick in the 2006 draft, a solid future star should be arriving. 

However, Stubbs' dynamite potential hasn't lived up to what some expected, so, as always, Reds fans are ready to move on.

The issue with this ideology is that Stubbs isn't a bad player. 

He certainly isn't a contact hitter, judging by his atrocious 28.7 percent career strikeout rate, including a league-leading 205 punch-outs in 2011 and a career-worst 30.1 percent strikeout rate, but he isn't a bench player for any team in baseball.  At 27, he isn't a finished product, which makes any judgements about him immature. 

Drew Stubbs played 423 games in the Minor Leagues, accumulating a .269/.364/.401 line with 94 doubles, 16 triples, 28 home runs, 163 RBIs and 121 stolen bases.  Since joining the Reds, in 377 games, he has accumulated a .252/.324/.405 line with 51 doubles, 10 triples, 48 home runs, 148 RBIs and 85 steals. 

While Stubbs' contact rate and on-base skills haven't taken the steps that some have hoped for, he has increased his power substantially and has become a run-producer, even when 54 percent of his at bats were from the leadoff spot coming into the 2012 season. 

Drew Stubbs is a similar player to Curtis Granderson.  Granderson played a solid center field for the  Detroit Tigers and in his first two full seasons, which is all that we really have from Stubbs at this point. Granderson struck out 315 times, a 26.1 percent strikeout rate, and had 69 doubles, 32 triples, 42 home runs, 142 RBIs and 34 steals in his first two full seasons. 

However, Granderson garnered MVP votes in his second season, finishing 10th in AL voting in 2007. 

Granderson's career took off in 2011 at the age of 30, when he hit 41 home runs, led the AL in RBIs with 119 and led the Majors in runs scored with 136.  Keep in mind, he did this while striking out 169 times.  Stubbs isn't Granderson, though.

Sometimes you just have to appreciate the player for what he is instead of what you think he should be.  That seems to be the case with Drew Stubbs. 

Stubbs has done very well since moving to the No. 2 spot in the Cincinnati order (.364/.407/.618 in 55 at bats), but he deserves more time. 

Stubbs will be arbitration-eligible prior to the 2013 season.  His power and speed combination make him an asset and the Reds would be smart to lock him up, strikeouts and all.  They wouldn't want to swing and miss on the potential that Stubbs still holds, despite his tendencies to swing and miss at the plate.