There are a few items I’ve been meaning to link over the last couple of days:

–I agree with Justin; the Reds should extend Jay Bruce. Sign him to a long-term contract now, and you will avoid getting murdered in arbitration in a couple of years (see Howard, Ryan).

This guy says fantasy baseball owners should stay away from Homer Bailey. In a related story, society says that girls should stay away from fantasy baseball owners.

–Very interesting Reds-related stuff in this post over at Joe Posnanski’s blog; namely, it’s a comparison between Rays SS-turned-CF B.J. Upton, and former Reds SS-turned-CF Eric Davis:

I had not thought of this, but they really do look a lot alike as players — athletic, right-handed, center fielders, great arms, great speed, strike out a lot, good patience, jolting power and so on. I’d say that both even have the look that makes people somehow think they should be even better, even though they’re already pretty darned good.

I think Upton’s remarkable — and I do mean remarkable — sense of the strike zone at such a young age separates him from Davis. He walked 97 times at 23 years old. There have only been 22 players in baseball history who have walked 95 or more times during their age 23 year. The list is loaded with great players including:

Ted Wililams (145)
Frank Thomas (138)
Rickey Henderson (116)
Reggie Jackson (114)
Mickey Mantle (113)
Eddie Mathews (109)
Lou Gehrig (105)
Mel Ott (100)
Tim Raines (97)
Arky Vaughn (97)
Ken Griffey (96)
Yaz (95)

So more than half of the list went on to have, what I consider to be Hall of Fame careers*******. And the rest ain’t too bad either — Eddie Yost (the Walking Man!), Harlond Clift, Troy Glaus, Charlie Keller, Alvin Davis, these are All-Star caliber players, or in the case of Alvin Davis they are one-time All-Stars who once hit me in the foot with a wild throw during batting practice. Alvin apologized and was very nice about it, but it now occurs to me that I missed the one opportunity I will have in my entire life to suddenly let loose with a loud “ALVIN!!!!”

Point is, I think Upton’s patience at the plate is something that could make him a big star in this league for many years. On the other hand, I don’t think Upton or perhaps anyone else is as talented as the young Eric Davis — talking about power and speed talent here I mean, it still blows me away to go back and look at Davis’ first two full seasons — especially because they weren’t all that full:

1986: Davis hit .277 with 27 home runs and, get this, 80 stolen bases. The amazing part — he did it in 132 games and 487 plate appearances. That’s just awe inspiring. If he could have played at that level for a full season, he might have hit 30 homers and stolen 100 bases. And he was just 24 years old and had no idea what he was doing.

1987: Davis hit .293 with 37 homers, 100 RBIs, 120 runs scored and 50 stolen bases (he was caught 6 times). And the crazy thing is he played in even fewer games than he did in 1986. He missed 33 games. He could have hit 40 homers and stolen 70 bases with a full year. It’s insane.

I think Upton is a remarkable talent. I think Upton could end up being a better player than Davis because of that strike zone management. But I don’t think I’ve ever watched anyone with more raw ability than the young Eric Davis.