Billy Hamilton has been nothing short of a revelation as the everyday CF and leadoff man for the Cincinnati Reds this year, and MLB.com's Phil Rogers took note. With 31 stolen bases to his name and a portfolio of turning would-be plays into how'd-he plays, Hamilton's ability has begun to be noticed by opposing managers and fans alike, too, and it's been remarkable to watch that materialize. He's another month of comparable production to being treated like Devin Hester was for the Chicago Bears in his prime, a player who needs next to nothing to be able to completely change the course of a game. My current favorite Hamilton stat: as a LH hitter against RHP in 2014, he's now hitting .295/.332/.426 with 3 HR in 198 PA. That's amazing, period, but considering he came up as an exclusive RH hitter and didn't begin switch hitting until he got to Single-A Dayton, it's nearly unbelievable. If only his more "natural" RH line against LHP would get better (.224/.254/..328 in 73 PA)...
Brandon Phillips was held out of the Reds' game against the Chicago Cubs last night due to a bruised heel suffered in Sunday's win over the Toronto Blue Jays, and it seems the Reds & their 2B still don't exactly know the severity of the injury. There are two things that scare me about this situation. First, there's just really Skip Schumaker and Ramon Santiago on the roster as "capable" 2B (with nothing else in the high minors), and that's a pretty precarious situation should this thing end up being serious. Second, BP has a history of trying to play through these sort of nagging injuries (see 2013's super-slump after playing with an injured wrist), and that history usually includes him hitting at a level worse than even Schumaker & Santiago could produce when healthy. Part of me hopes he just rests through the All Star break and comes back healthy and raking for the stretch run.
This has floated around for a day or so (so you may have seen it elsewhere), but it's still a remarkable look into what goes through an introspective mind during the course of a baseball season: Jay Bruce opened up to C. Trent Rosecrans in an impromptu talk about the hitting process, working through slumps, and where Jay sees himself in his baseball career, and it's the kind of read that will make you read everything Bruce says for the rest of his career in a new light. Props to C. Trent for not feeling the need to whittle that down to snippets & quick quotes, since the full read gives it the true stream of consciousness feel.
C. Trent also thinks Todd Frazier would make a prime candidate for the NL Home Run Derby team, which captain Troy Tulowitzki will pick himself.
Grant Brisbee didn't know Charlie Scrabbles was on the Mets, and he also has no idea who the "celebrities" are in the Taco Bell All-Star Something Something Softball Game.
Finally, Mike Hessman - who belted 25 dingers as a member of the 2013 Louisville Bats - recently clubbed his 400th career minor league home run, and MiLB.com has been keeping track of his chase for history. It's a pretty cool way to document a pretty cool feat.
The Reds are over .500, healthy, and just 2.5 games out of a playoff spot. The Spring bummers are over, and it's going to be a damn fun Summer around these parts.