C. Trent Rosecrans stated the potential All Star Game cases for various members of the Cincinnati Reds in his BAR this morning, and the conclusion he comes to is pretty spot-on. Basically, he concluded that both Todd Frazier and Johnny Cueto have been among the best players in baseball at their positions this year, but with the nature of how the squads are assembled factored in neither are necessarily locks to be included. Rosecrans did note that a potential inclusion of Aroldis Chapman and Billy Hamilton would actually make a bit of sense from a team construction perspective, and that's something I hadn't really considered much despite how much sense it makes. If I was assembling a team that would already have beaucoup talent on it, having Billy for a late stolen base and Aroldis's arm for a late-game matchup would be two traits I'd love to have. Also included in the BAR is a link to Dayn Perry's 25 best names in the MLB Draft, which is hilarious.
Mark Sheldon's notebook at MLB.com is, for once, filled with some pretty great Reds news. First, he touched on the rehab stints of both Joey Votto and Mat Latos, both of whom looked pretty sharp in their rain-shortened affair in Pawtucket last night. Votto went 1 for 3 with a single and a run scored, Latos had good stuff in his 5.2 IP, and both appear on-track to rejoin the Reds at some point later this week. Sheldon also got some great quotes from Bryan Price about the pitching arsenal possessed by Aroldis Chapman, and it reads every bit as devastating as watching him throw it. There's also some stuff about how Devin Mesoraco is as cold now as he was hot to start the season, which is both a bummer and predictable, and a few details on which Reds' draftees have signed contracts already.
Over at FanGraphs, David Laurila caught up with the recently signed Jair Jurrjens and got him to answer a few questions about his comeback and the injuries that led to him being jettisoned from several teams just a few seasons removed from when he was dominant. Not that there have been a ton of other moves to compare this one with, but the decision made by Walt Jocketty to pick up Jurrjens off the scrap-heap may prove to be the most shrewd one he's made in the last calendar year - I'm sure jch24 would agree. Now, go back and read that paragraph while pronouncing every J you see the way you say Paul Janish's last name.
I mentioned in the comments of the recap of last night's game that the Reds, offensively, have the 2nd worst outfield in baseball this season (ahead of only the Boston Red Sox, somehow). Their wRC+ and wOBA rank second to last and third to last, and likely the most frustrating part about that is that there's nobody in the minors ready to step into the mix and make those numbers improve (hell, at least Boston has that option). With that in mind, read this and try not to stick your head in a blender.
With the relative struggles of Billy Hamilton in 2014 now fresh in your mind, I'd like to direct your attention to Dan Farnsworth's article from The Hardball Times regarding the desire to convert super-speedy baseball players to switch-hitters. It's a pretty fascinating concept and one that I've wondered about often, and it really calls into question the value of asking a player good enough to get into your system to do something wholly unnatural to them. Not surprisingly, Billy plays a central role in Farnsworth's analysis, as does the concept of asking fast hitters to hit groundballs in order to put their speed to work. Hitting a baseball is hard enough, and it sure seems like asking a player to do it backwards, too, is a ton to task someone with when they should be focusing all of their time on getting better at what they're already really good at.