Drew Stubbs went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts yesterday to drop his batting average to .174, but general manager Walt Jocketty said today that the 25-year-old center fielder is in no danger of being sent back to the minors:
He needs to works it out on the major league level. You don’t want him to lose confidence. He does so many other things so well. He needs to be a more selective and patient at the plate.
I agree with Jocketty on all fronts. Stubbs isn’t a great prospect, but because the Reds are unlikely to be much better than .500 this season finding out how he and other young players fit into the team’s long-term plans is key. He’s also 25 already, so another stint at Triple-A doesn’t figure to do much good given that he played 126 games there during the previous two seasons.
Jocketty is also right that Stubbs’ approach at the plate likely needs to change for him to have long-term success. He has 79 strikeouts in 301 plate appearances as a big leaguer after whiffing 141 times per 600 plate appearances in the minors. Obviously many sluggers can get away with that many strikeouts, but Stubbs has hit just 38 homers in 1,860 pro at-bats and whatever value he ultimately has will come primarily from defense, speed, and (hopefully) getting on base.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.