Grant Brisbee is a funny frickin' ha-ha who makes the funny frickin' ha-ha corner of the interwebs the single best part of the interwebs. Being the technical wonk that he is, he took to graphically indicating the current plights and paths of each of MLB's 30 franchises, and according to him, there ain't a team in baseball more like the woeful Philadelphia Phillies than your very own Cincinnati Reds. Frankly, I wonder how much closer they'd have been prior to Ruben Amaro's lassoing of Walt Jocketty in the Marlon Byrd trade. Sigh. The caveat for the Reds, at least, is that they've done a decent job of re-building their farm system, so while the big league club looks significantly more bereft now than it has over the last handful of seasons, there's at least an army of pitchers close to being ready and a guy who's been called the best pure hitter in the minor leagues by some. Still, it's a big fat 'no bueno' thing to look at if you're a Reds fan. Damnit, Brisbee.
The Beat Boys from the Enquirer got together to film the latest edition of their Hot Stove Report, and it's worth a watch. They spend time breaking down the Spring Training invite list, basically concede that Brennan Boesch is going to probably be a Red, and look at some of the arms that may be poised to break camp as big league relievers. There's also a bit on Baseball America's top Reds prospect lists and the RHP factory the Reds' draft has become.
Parks and Recreation is calling it a wrap after this, their final season on TV, and in the first episode of their swansong they dropped a pretty baseball nerdy reference. Over at FanGraphs, Carson Cistulli noticed, of course. Look at baseball taking over during the NFL playoffs, NCAAF national championship, and NCAA conference basketball! T-minus 37 days...
Over at The Hardball Times, Shane Tourtellotte undertook a project I've always let bounce aimlessly around in my own brain yet never committed to dedicating time to, and it's a pretty fun exercise. Basically, he scurried through the annals of baseball history to create the best ever International All-Star teams, and went a bit beyond that by categorizing them based on how well they'd stand up against each other. Plenty of former Reds make the cut, as they should, and Joey Votto gets the nod over Justin Morneau as Canada's best 1B option. Somewhat surprisingly (although not terribly considering how ridiculous he's been of late), Johnny Cueto also cracks the Dominican Republic's starting rotation. Cool project.
Remember way, way back in time to last week, if you will. Back then, I mentioned a FanGraphs article in a Reposter I assembled that had August Fagerstrom looking closer at Todd Frazier's 20/20 season in 2014. Remember? Well, Fagerstrom again visited Frazier's breakout, though instead of focusing on his emerging power like he did in last week's piece, this time he focused on Frazier's 20 steals. What he found was certainly interesting, and is a prime example of why I hope no other teams in baseball ever get around to reading FanGraphs, BtBS, and such. Basically, he perused through each and every one of Frazier's steals, and found that the Reds 3B did a masterful job of capitalizing on the fact that other teams really, truly did not expect him to be actively stealing bases. When I saw the GIFs, it certainly struck a chord, since seeing Frazier extend a lead into a full-sprint steal was something I distinctly remember seeing often in 2014. Hopefully this doesn't result in 2015 being a TOOTBLANny season for Todd as teams pick up on his tactics, since lord knows there's already been plenty of that with the rest of the Reds roster of late.