John Wagner of mlb.com took a look at the Reds' own Billy Hamilton. Wagner spoke with both Billy and his AAA Louisville manager, Jim Riggleman (RIGGLEMAN!) about the transition to CF, picking up hitting lefty, and his amazing steals record last season. When you step back and think about it, it's pretty amazing the things that the Reds have placed on Billy's slight shoulders at a relatively young age. They've moved him from the only position he ever knew, they've asked him to hit from the other side of the plate, and they've preliminarily anointed him as not only the CF of the future, but the CF of 2014. That's a lot to ask of a guy, so it's nice to see him having a hot streak. Also of note is Riggleman's quote about being a "pretty accomplished" hitter from the right side, since Billy's OPS vs. RHP is higher than it is vs. LHP, and this would've been a much stronger argument before his inside the park HR from the right side of the plate last night. Regression at work, ladies and gents (and I hate to be the ninny, but that's an out or a single against a lot of defensive CF, Billy included).
The guys over at MinorLeagueBall.com have posted their June Top Prospect Report, and it's always fun to check that to see how each of the teams' prospects have performed. As they say in the preface, it's not a re-ranking, per se, but more of a way to reflect how each prospect has performed on the GAPPER scale. There's a link near the top that explains in more detail how the system evolved, but it's still interesting to take a looksie at the lists. Of note: Ronald Torreyes, he of being 4 feet tall and the last piece of the trade for Sean Marshall, has been the top performer in the Cubs system to date. Matt Garrioch also adds in some rankings at the bottom that should be of interest as the draft nears.
Speaking of the MLB Draft, it kicks off on Thursday, and Garrioch also has posted his Draft Essentials, which are an amazingly awesome reseource as we head into picking 40-some individuals known only to Chris Buckley and Thundering Turtle. Check it out if you're at all interested, and if you're not, you will be after reading through them. I'm personally hoping the Reds take Billy McKinney. Why? Random name generator, that's why.
Remember when 4 out of 5 dentists agreed that the win totals in the NL Central would suffer because they all couldn't beat up on the Astros anymore? Yeah, about that...one of the last redeeming qualities at ESPN is their Stats & Info department, and they've released the updated version of their divisional power rankings. The NL Central currently sits in a clear 2nd in the majors behind...you guessed it...the AL East. Regardless, it's nice to know that it's becoming increasingly harder to justify every nationally televised game showing the NL Central division standings and prefacing it with "the weakest division in all of baseball." So thanks for leaving, Astros, and it appears the door actually did hit them in the butt on the way out.