Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis, & Co. were the latest group of prospect rankers to release their Top 100 prospects for 2015 list, as their countdown took over MLB Network on Friday night. Their rankings tended to echo much of what we've already heard from Keith Law & the like so far this off-season, which is that Jesse Winker (26) and Robert Stephenson (24) are talented enough to fall among the game's true elite, but that the rest of the Cincinnati Reds farm system doesn't project well enough to rank among the game's 100 best. Once again, Raisel Iglesias wasn't eligible for this list due to his status as a former professional in another country, so while his lack of inclusion was procedural, Michael Lorenzen's omission is just a clear reflection that his prospect status isn't quite as lauded as we RR's may think. Personally, I expected the Reds' 2013 comp pick to sneak into the tail end of the rankings somewhere around 85, but I mostly don't have any idea what the hell I'm talking about and that sure didn't happen. It's also worth noting that Phil Ervin's salty 2014 saw him drop off the list entirely after checking in at 91st last season.
Dr. Frankencallis also analyzed the individual tools possessed by the best of the best in the minors, and a few Reds got mention there, too.
Switching gears a bit, friend of the blog Dan Szymborski had his weekly Fangraphs chat today, and in it he was basically asked about how the current doldrums the Reds find themselves in may possibly be rectified. His answer won't give Reds fans a lot to hope for. Unfortunately, I tend to agree with him. But - lucky for you - I again mostly don't have any diea what the hell I'm talking about. (h/t @DumbContactPlay)
Spurred by comments recently made by Reds GM Walt Jocketty on the costs and perils of employing full-time scouts in Japan, Fangraphs' Miles Wray took a closer look at how geographically specific MLB has become, with an even more focused look on the Reds themselves. (He just had to sneak that awful Ryan Ludwick contract in there too, didn't he?) His follow-up piece is also well worth a read.
Downtown at The Enquirer, John Fay took a closer look at what it would possibly take to make Johnny Cueto a Red for the long haul. The answer? A metric cluck-ton of money, but the kind of money a hypothetical Reds team could absolutely afford. The only problem with the hypothetical, of course, is that the boatloads of money the Reds have to pay their players has pretty much already been allocated, as Joey Votto, Homer Bailey, Jay Bruce, and Brandon Phillips got theirs before Cueto skyrocketed to the top of every major pitching category, and there's probably just not enough left around for him. The stark news about the history of long contracts given to pitchers should give us all pause, too, and as much as I appreciate what Cueto has given in his time as a Red, it's probably better that he gets his $170+ million from someone else.
Finally, with the Superb Owl in our rear-view mirrors, the dawn of baseball season takes the professional sporting stage (sorry, lackluster NBA season), and next up on the global hardball schedule is the Carribean World Series. As C. Trent Rosecrans noted, a pair of Reds farmhands will be participating in this year's vintage (which began today). Both Felix Perez and Neftali Soto are involved, and games can be caught on ESPN3. It's baseball, and I'll be watching.