Like every other team in Major League Baseball, the Cleveland Indians employ numerous players throughout their organization, from the big-league club in Cleveland to their rookie league team in Arizona and beyond. And like every other Major League franchise, the Indians add and subtract from this player pool on a regular basis. This irregular series will serve to post notice when a former Indians player has done something noteworthy with a quick look back at the player’s time in Cleveland.
With Josh Outman being designated for assignment and likely exiting the Cleveland Indians organization in the next few days, the spotlight shines on former Indian Drew Stubbs, the player traded to acquire Outman.
Player: OF Drew Stubbs
Current Team: Colorado Rockies
Year(s) in Indians Organization: Stubbs was acquired by the Indians prior to the 2013 season via a three team deal involving the Reds and Diamondbacks. Cleveland obtained Stubbs from Cincinnati while also acquiring Matt Albers, Trevor Bauer, and Bryan Shawn from the Diamondbacks. The Tribe shipped Shin-Shoo Choo and Jason Donald to the Reds and Lars Anderson and Tony Sipp to Arizona.
Stubbs, a first round pick of the Reds in 2006, spent just one season in Cleveland. For the Indians, he appeared in 146 games, batting .233 with 45 RBIs and 59 runs. He also added 17 SB.
Why Stubbs Is No Longer an Indian: When Stubbs arrived in Cleveland in December 2012, he was thought to be the next CF for the Indians; however, just a few months later, the Indians were able to acquire Michael Bourn. The addition of Bourn pushed Stubbs to RF, and although he had a serviceable year for the Tribe, the 2013 offseason signing of David Murphy pushed Stubbs out the door.
With Murphy set to cement RF for Cleveland in 2014, Stubbs became available, and the Rockies were a perfect trade partner. The Rockies parted with Dexter Fowler in early December 2013, and the club was in the market for a fourth outfielder with speed and versatility. The Indians, who had a dearth of left-handed pitching on their 2013 MLB roster, easily parted with Stubbs to take a flyer on left-hander Josh Outman.
What He Has Done Since Leaving Cleveland: Stubbs has played in 63 games for the Rockies this year, seeing steady playing time as of late with the injury to Carlos Gonzalez. He sports a .291 batting average, which, if the season ended today, would put him well above his prior career high of .267 in 2009 (just 196 plate appearances). He has six homeruns, 32 runs, 19 RBI, and 9 stolen bases. He has 54 strikeouts, which leads the Rockies.
What Does the Future Hold: Stubbs has incredible speed, which Tribe fans will remember from his number of infield hits in 2013, and above average defensive skills. However, those two tools are the only two that he seems to have been able to harness with any regularity. He has decent pop, hitting 22 HR in 2010, but his plate discipline will likely relegate him to platoon or fourth outfield status moving forward. He led the league in strikeouts in 2011 with 205 and has a career batting average of .243. He is in his arbitration years, so who knows how long his stay in Colorado will be, but this is guy that will find his way on a roster for at least the next several years, and his role on that team will hinge almost entirely on whether or not he can improve his plate discipline.
Tribe fans can give Drew a shoutout on Twitter @drewstubbs13.
Notice a player you remember being in the Indians organization? We’re ever-vigilant, but sometimes we miss guys, too! Send us an email at [email protected] and let us know which former Indians farmhand or player is making noise elsewhere.