Crashburn Alley's Bill Baer took a closer look at Joey Votto's 2013, and it's worth the read. I made a much more crude attempt at emphasizing similar points in last night's recap when I listed several comparisons between Votto's 2013 and Joe Morgan's 1975. tTat comparison was not to suggest that Votto has been as good this season as Morgan was in 1975, because he's not been; rather, that comparison was to emphasize that stats other than RBI can, and do, given a better representation of how good a player has been. Bill says that in a much clearer way, though, so check it out.
MLB announced yesterday that a form of expanded replay will be on the table for the players to approve. While I'm firmly for the usage of technology to ensure that the game is called correctly, giving challenges to managers just doesn't seem like the way to do it. Replay should be used to get the calls right, and it shouldn't fall on the shoulders of a manager with a much worse view of the play than an umpire to mandate that there be a second look given to a play. Put a guy in front of a few TVs and let him/her/it make the correct decisions to facilitate play. Lost in all of this, I think, is the impact this could have on one of the most classic parts of baseball I've come to know: if all a manager has to do to protest a call is throw a flag on the field, will this be the end of the vintage Manager/Umpire screaming matches that have helped define baseball as we know it? Lou Piniella never would've stolen a base and chucked it down the line had he simply been able to throw a challenge flag, would he? Dang.
Kevin Massoth of mlb.com got a few of the current Reds to weigh in with their replay opinions. It's not terribly surprising that Bronson Arroyo (37), Ryan Ludwick (35), and Dusty Baker (old) all seem to be a bit resistant to any additional changes since they're all well versed in the current game having spent long careers in it. It's also cool to hear them be sympathetic to the jobs the umpires do on a daily basis. At the bottom of the post are also some notes on upcoming "strength tests" for Johnny Cueto and Sean Marshall, which will go a long way towards determining not just their 2013 fates, but also those of many of the current members of the Cincinnati pitching staff.
Mlb.com's Mike Bauman seems to be one of the few writers who have noticed the Reds' rise in the standings. It's never easy for a team that's considered the favorite to morph into the underdog role mid-season, but that's exactly the task that's been placed in front of the Reds in 2013. Of course, the return of Ludwick has given fuel to that fire, but there's no doubt that the last two weeks of baseball have rekindled the fire in Reds' fans, too. Also, there's just some brilliant Dustyism going on mid article. Read it for that, if nothing else.
There's prospect promotion in the St. Louis organization, and it's got me thinking of the Reds' September callups. While their all-everything OF prospect Oscar Taveras recently had his season ended due to injury, another one of their top hitters, Kolten Wong, was recently promoted to what will likely be a utility IF role, and that got me brain a percolating Of course, there's only 14 days left for prospects to be promoted and still have a chance to make the playoff rosters, so it will be very interesting to see if Billy Hamilton and his recent hot streak will be recalled in time to have him included. I doubt it, but speculators gonna speculate.