It makes me smile to note that today is the last Friday where there will be no Cincinnati Reds baseball in any capacity until at least October. Pitchers and catchers will officially report to the team's Goodyear, AZ complex on Thursday, while the rest of the gang will join them for good the following Tuesday (February 23rd). If you can take a deep breath and rest easy with the idea that the 2016 Reds are playing to make 2017 and 2018 successful and not for the arbitrary end-of-2016 standings, knowing that baseball is just around the corner should give you the same goosebumps I got while writing this.
As for the news of the day, Baseball America will finally release their Top 100 prospects list this evening at 9 PM ET on MLB Network, but they leaked the #51-100 prospects earlier today and there are four Reds farmhands included already. Jesse Winker, Jose Peraza, Amir Garrett, and Tyler Stephenson fell in the back half of BA's rankings, and that led Doug Gray to surmise that both Robert Stephenson and Cody Reed will crack the Top 50 later this evening. I think that's a safe bet.
BA also has an incredible amount of video on these guys on their YouTube page, and I'd suggest checking that out if you've got half an hour with nothing pertinent to distract you. If that's not enticing enough, take note that BA's Ben Badler referenced Jesse Winker when asked on Twitter about a prospect that could be this year's Kyle Schwarber. If that doesn't give you the GIGGITIES, I don't know what to tell you.
Switching gears a bit, Owen Watson looked at the historically awful clutchitude displayed by the 2015 Reds over at FanGraphs, and it's a proper investigation into epic futility. The biggest takeaway is probably twofold. First, many studies have suggested that these kinds of things vary wildly from week to month to year, so it's not necessarily something to expect to see happen again in 2016. Secondly, take your non-Votto memories of the 2015 season, turn them into a Peep, and stick them in the microwave for two to eight minutes. Nobody should torture themselves with that ever again, and the 2016 Reds will be plenty clutchier than last year.
Over at Redleg Nation, Patrick Jeter (R2SP2CT!) put together a statistical look at not just how good Joey Votto is, but how much better he is at what he's best at than the next best player in that particular stat. It's a pretty fascinating look into how far ahead of the pack Votto is at getting on base, and it's the kind of thing that should be stapled on each and every wall, microphone, and headset in the Reds broadcast booth to help us listeners save our sanity. I'd also go so far as to suggest this as a pitch for a Head & Shoulders commercial.
Finally, MLB Commish Rob Manfred hopes to have rulings on the pending domestic violence investigations of Aroldis Chapman, Yasiel Puig, and Jose Reyes before Opening Day. These will be precedent-setting, and I get the impression Manfred thankfully isn't taking them lightly (unlike some of his peers).