Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 9/7/12
CINCINNATI Drew Stubbs and his .220 batting average sat in the dugout during a game for the third game Friday night, but that doesn't mean he is doing nothing but ravaging pumpkin seeds. His real work is before games, private lessons and sessions with hitting coach Brook Jacoby and manager Dusty Baker. "As much as you hate to do it, like a parent, sometimes you have to hit rock bottom, then they are open to any kind of suggestions," said Baker. And Stubbs is so rock-bottom that he has stone burns on his posterior. He is 5 for 40 (.125) with 18 strikeouts. With each strikeouts, his ears are assaulted ever harder by the seat occupants in Great American Ball Park. Most fans cannot understand why Baker continues to play the 27-year-old center fielder and No. 1 draft pick in 2006 when he strikes out with alarming frequency 141 times in 436 at-bats. Last year he led the league in strikeouts with 205. What makes the tutorial of Stubbs easier is that Chris Heisey, The People's Choice, the guy fans want to replace Stubbs, is charcoal hot while replacing Stubbs (six-game-hitting streak, 10-22, .455, two home runs, seven RBI). But he is not a permanent fix. Stubbs is the guy they are trying to fix. "Stubbs is my center fielder, I need Stubbs in center field, is the center fielder," Baker said with pointed emphasis. "We're trying to make some chances in his approach. His lack of ability is not the issue. His ability is darn near as good as anybody in the league. "And let's face it, Stubbs is still one of the best center fielders in the league," Baker added. Five professional scouts, two of whom are former general managers, were in the Great American Ball Park press box earlier this week and they were asked if Stubbs was in their Top Five best defensive outfielders. All five put him in their top three. When one was told fans criticize Stubbs for not diving for balls, the scout laughed and said, "He never needs to dive. He outruns the ball." Said another, "Every pitcher on that staff owes him a steak dinner because I've seen him chase balls in the gap and save every pitcher they have some runs. And nobody in the league runs on him because of his arm." It's the bat, though, the lack of its usage, that keeps Stubbs submerged from fan recognition. "Center field is a major part of your defense, a big part," said Baker. "We just have to figure out a way to get him more productive offensively." Amazingly enough, despite his .220 average and plethora of strikeouts, the Reds are 46-6 when he scores a run. They have a .602 winning percentage, but when Stubbs is in the lineup batting second it climbs to .636 (56-30). "If we can come up with an offensive Stubbs to go with the defensive Stubbs in one body we'd have a hell of a player, a great player," said Baker. "But you can't do that, but we're trying to help him figure it out. But sometimes you have to figure out some things on your own." What even mystifies Baker is that Stubbs has scored 71 runs, third on the team, despite an on-base percentage of a woeful .287 and said, "As cold as he's been, I don't know how in the heck he does it, but he scores all those runs. And when he scores we win (46-6), another thing that is unbelievable. We just have to figure out a way for him to score some more and we'll win some more." Baker knows the fans are the least patient and least tolerant, but said, "Sometimes you don't figure it out just when somebody wants you to figure it out. Look at Edwin Encarnacion. Nobody is mentioning Edwin." Encarnacion was a high-end third baseman for the Reds, a guy with stardom stenciled on his forehead. But it didn't materialize in Cincinnati and the Reds traded him to Toronto in 2009 in the Scott Rolen deal. After three mediocre years with the Blue Jays, Encarnacion exploded this year and is hitting .282 with 37 home runs and 95 RBIs. "There is a guy who figured it out," said Baker. "It took him a few years, but he figured it out. Scouts see what's there, which is why Stubbs was a No. 1 pick. It's not always obvious, but it is what could or might be." Baker ever reached back to the days of Big Red Machine shortstop Dave Concepcion and said, "Everybody doesn't reach it or find it at the same time. Concepcion's first couple of years he was just a glove who couldn't hit (.205, .209 his first two full seasons)," said Baker. "With Tony Perez being his roommate and hanging around Joe Morgan he figured it out (.287, .281 his third and fourth full seasons)." Stubbs has Scott Rolen and Joey Votto to help him figure it out, but Reds fans hope it comes sooner than later because for them it already has been too late.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Cubs close door on Sammy Sosa reunion after bizarre comments

Rick Pitino restrained from going after North Carolina fan

76ers trading Ersan Ilyasova to Hawks for Tiago Splitter, pick

Budapest drops 2024 Olympic bid, leaving only Los Angeles and Paris, which could ban some participants

DeMarcus Cousins was ‘praying’ for a better supporting cast with Sacramento

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Nets trading Bojan Bogdanovic to Wizards

Elliott spoke with police after 'best friend' caught with gun

Jets reportedly believe Jay Cutler can compete in AFC East

Report: 'Melo could waive no-trade clause for Clippers after season

Rivers: Paul medically cleared to play, could return Thursday

Trea Turner missed part of Nats camp Wedneday for jury duty

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

Box Score 2/22: Not everyone is happy with the new intentional walk rule

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

Box Score 2/21: It's trade heartbreak season

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win the MVP award

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker