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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Jason Dubois

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 3/26/79, Age: 24, Height: 6í5íí, Weight: 225, Bats: R, Throws: R. Acquired: Cubs - Drafted in the 14th Round of the 2000 Draft (VCU); selected in Rule V draft 12/02 by Blue Jays but returned to Cubs. 2002 Stats: (High-A - Daytona) .321 AVG, 361 AB, 25 2B, 1 3B, 20 HR, 6 SB, 57 BB, 95 K, .422 OBP, .562 SLG. 2003 Stats: (AA - West Tennessee) .286 AVG, 255 AB, 18 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, 2 SB, 42 BB, 80 K, .403 OBP, .471 SLG.
    Ten bucks says that Jason Dubois can currently outhit at least one starting outfielder (barring trades) for the Cubs every day for the rest of the season. Since Troy OíLeary and Tom Goodwin are going to be splitting the third outfielder spot with Corey Patterson out, thatís probably a sucker bet. Jason Dubois can hit, and Iím not sure the Cubs realize it, since he is only in the Cubs system because the Blue Jays inexplicably couldnít find a spot for him after picking him up in the winter Rule V draft. Letís start with the negatives. Dubois has no position that he can play well enough to be an adequate defender. He has played left field, right field, and first base so far in his minor league career, and it appears that the corner outfield spots will be what he calls home going forward. Dubois has a good arm, but with his size just isnít quite mobile enough to be a good defensive outfielder. On the bases, Dubois isnít really a base clogger, but donít expect double-digit steals. His speed would best be categorized as below average. His bat is what will carry him, enough so that his shortcomings should be able to be overlooked. Dubois has all three hitting tools: the ability to hit for average, power, and plate discipline. Dubois has hit .296, .321, and .286 in his three seasons, despite some tremendously high strikeout rates. I wouldnít expect him to contend for a batting title, but he should be able to hit at a league average or better. For the first two years of his pro career, Dubois hit homers at a rate of roughly one every eighteen at-bats. This season, that rate has dropped significantly (28.3), but that is most likely due to a wrist injury that he suffered last season. As we all have witnessed many times now, wrist injuries stick around for a long time, and they sap power more than any other attribute. Dubois is capable of hitting 20-30 homers playing every day, and should resume his exhibition of that skill next season. His plate discipline has improved this season from an already adequate level: sort of. He has been patient to a fault this season, walking roughly once every seven plate appearances, but striking out twice that amount. He will need to cut that down to continue progressing through the system. One more potential negative with Dubois: the injury bug. A stress fracture in his foot delayed his debut until 2001, and then the wrist injury last year cost him nearly half of the season, and is clearly affecting him still. He is a big kid, and not too many guys his size stay healthy consistently. He still is more than good enough for me to wonder why the Blue Jays and the Cubs didnít seem to know what they have (had) in him.
    The one major problem that I see with Dubois is not the injuries, itís not the build, and it certainly isnít the defense. The problem is his age. Dubois is three years removed from the draft as a former college player, and he is still only in AA. With the wrist injury, it isnít likely that he would break into the majors until he is 25, and the track record for players that break in that late is less than stellar. However, the fact remains that, should Moises Alou leave Chicago after 2004, Jason Dubois would likely be the best in-house replacement. He certainly seems to be the kind of player that the Aís covet, (I really donít want to say ďtake and rakeĒ, but there it is) and with their injuries, some trade possibilities might exist there as well. All in all, I expect Dubois to have a solid career, probably picking up over 1000 at-bats in the process. I like him better than Nic Jackson, and probably better than Jackson Melian as well. The Cubs have enough pitching that they could probably withstand an average corner outfielder, if thatís all Dubois turns out to be, although I hold out hope that he can be a bit better than that. I expect him to scuffle through this year with a good OBP but lower SLG than normal, and then to play well at Iowa early next year, get called up to pick up a few at-bats late next season, and then to contend for the starting job in LF for 2005. Yes, heíll be 26, and probably will only have a few good years, but heíll be able to save them some money that they can use elsewhere (how about SS or C?). Dubois reminds me of someone like Kevin Millar, (or even an opposite handed, older version of Adam Dunn) in that his value is almost entirely with his bat, and a smart organization will find a place for that to work. Unfortunately, as nicely as the Cubs have stacked up some useful players in their organization, they are still the same team that starts Grudzielanek, Goodwin or OíLeary, and Ramon Martinez more often than they donít, and that doesnít count the catchersí position. I am not as optimistic about Duboisí chances as I would have been in Toronto, but he still should find a way to get playing time, one way or another.


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