Joey Votto is a regular guy, working hard to be the very best regular guy in the league
Jay Bruce has nothing but respect and praise for his friend and teammate: "That's the thing that you notice," Bruce said. "He's the same guy every day. That's what he prides himself on. The playing and the numbers take care of themselves, but Joey is a good person. That's what you're going to remember as a teammate is what type of person he is. He has his way of doing things and this style of getting ready to play and this lifestyle. But that's him and something he should be proud of is that, day in and day out, he's the same person."
Bryan Price was satisfied with the opening performance of Dontrelle Willis in Reds
The feel-good story of the spring has scrapped his signature high leg-kick, which immediately drove my interest level in this story into the ground. What is Kardashian without the butt? What is The Situation without the abs? What is Sheen without the coke?
Catcher is a definite strength of the Reds farm system
with Devin Mesoraco and Yasmani Grandal not far from the bigs, but the current tandem ain't too shabs, neither. Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan combined for 4.8 WAR last season, which was the second-best production from the position in the NL. Dusty summed up the sitch pretty well: "They're both productive," Baker said. "They're both strong. They both caught well. That's about a good a tandem as there is in baseball."
Baseball America released their top 100 prospects list
and the Reds made an impressive showing. Aroldis Chapman is the first Red at #7, followed by Billy Hamilton at #50, Devin Mesoraco at #64, and Yonder Alonso at #73. The Royals system has been the talk of prospecttown this off-season, and this list only backs that up. They had three players in the top 10, five in the top 20, and nine total in the top 100. Even if only a third of these guys pan out, that team should have a very strong core from which to build a contender.
Chris Valaika is looking forward to an important training camp
The 25-year-old former Minor League Player of the Year is looking to catch on the roster as a utility player, as he's working extensively at 2B, 3B, and SS. It must be tough for a guy like Valaika to watch the Reds sign a utility player like Miguel Cairo to a multi-year deal this off-season. I'm almost universally against multi-year deals for bench players and relief pitchers, as usually you can find a more than suitable replacement (like Valaika) for cheap. I've always like Valaika as a prospect, but I think it will be difficult for him to find a job here in Cincy, barring injury of course.
Dave Sappelt was the coolest kid in his neighborhood growing up
"Once he (Sappelt's father) could realize I could throw and hit at an early age, he got a batting cage," Sappelt said. "We had all my friends over, and we hit all day. It was our thing to do." I have a feeling if I grew up in Sappelt's neighborhood, I would have totally hated his guts. Cake-eater. /spits on ground
Aroldis Chapman will be signing autographs at the Sports Gallery in West Chester on April 4th
if you are into that sorta thing.
BP's Christina Kahrl takes a look at the notable non-roster invitees from around the league
Here's what she has to say regarding the Reds NRI's:
"What a difference a couple of years makes, because Justin Lehr has gone from 2009's legitimate rotation alternative to 2011's rotation afterthought, a reflection of the talent Walt Jocketty's brought in and the TJS that Panzer's trying to come back from. Beyond Lehr's comeback, there's former shortstop Jerry Gil, in his fourth year of trying to pitch and trying to turn the corner at 28, plus the latest Dontrelle Willis sighting on the off chance that the Reds can breathe new life into a career's husk. Beyond the hard-luck cases and the hopeless, though, how about noteworthy prospect Donnie Joseph? He may have to wait for Aroldis Chapman to come out of the pen or for Bill Bray to break down again, but he has legitimate value as someone's second southpaw."
"It might be strange to bring up outfielders when the Reds are purportedly stacked, but let's remember that Jonny Gomes was a scrapheap find himself, that Fred Lewis isn't exactly Jerry Mumphrey, and that "top prospect" Chris Heisey isn't even a full year younger than non-roster invite Jeremy Hermida. A Hermida/Gomes platoon in left might thrive in the Gap's power-amplifying environment. If ex-somebodies cease to catch Dusty Baker's eye, there's always organizational soldier Daniel Dorn, born the same year as Hermida and Heisey, and looking interesting after mashing right-handers for a 982 OPS in Louisville last season."
Everyone from the outside-looking-in seems to be impressed with Danny Dorn. All the numbers in the world seem to indicate that he can drop the science on right-handed pitching, but the Reds have left him open to the Rule 5 draft two straight years and nobody was interested. Donnie Joseph is another really interesting guy. He could move very quickly through the system this year and be in the bullpen for the pennant chase. He's probably not a future closer, but maybe he is.
Jonah Keri says Cardinals fans could find a silver lining in the loss of Adam Wainwright
Now that Wainer will end the 2011 season on the DL, his 2012 and 2013 options are not guaranteed. That freed-up cash could be funneled into the big Albert Pujols fund, which could be the difference between Pujols the Cub and Pujols the Cardinal. It's not a gut-wrenching Sophie's Choice, but it's not an easy one either.
A pair of senators have co-written a letter to commish Selig urging him to ban spit tobacco in baseball
After the embarrassing farce that was the Mitchell Report, I'm loathe to see the government get involved in baseball again. Nevertheless, this is happening. Chaw has been banned in the minors since 1993, but the player's union has successfully resisted any attempts at change. This is a difficult issue for me to get riled up over.
On the one hand, many private companies have perfectly reasonable rules against the use of tobacco while on the clock, so this issue is nothing unique to baseball as an industry. They can basically make whatever rules they want in regards to this. On another hand, these guys are role models and such, and while I think the "I got it from watching Chris Carpenter!" line is not a pervasive one among the young'uns, it is an aspect of this issue worth discussing nonetheless. Whatever baseball does or does not do regarding spit tobacco, the government should take a passive, advisory role if any role at all.