Votto established himself as one of the few real hitting prospects in the Reds system with a big 2004 season, but the Florida State League proved to be a tough challenge for the Canadian, as he struggled to a .256/.330/.425 campaign at Sarasota last year. That performance is beginning to look like a bump in the road now, as Votto went 7-for-14 with three home runs over the weekend, and is now batting .321/.392/.567 overall in his first taste of Double-A. If he stays put, he's got an outside shot at the Southern League Triple Crown. He's currently 3rd in batting, tied for first in home runs (13) and 2nd in RBI (43), with the leader, Dodgers third baseman Andy LaRoche (46) now playing in Triple-A with no chance to add to the total.It's great to see Votto doing so well this year. He really struggled last year both in Sarasota and in the Arizona Fall League, but now seems to be back on the prospect radar. We could use a first baseman, and if he's playing in Double-A now, he could potentially be ready for the major leagues by the end of next season. We could use a first baseman too...
Update: PW reports that Votto was listed #3 on Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet today. I love how everyone always jumps on the bandwagon at the same time. 'Course, in the credit where credit's due department, we have to credit Chris W with leading the Votto charge. :)
In Homer Bailey, the seventh overall pick in 2004, the scout saw a potential ace who still has plenty of work to do. Bailey has allowed just 49 hits this year in 70.2 innings for Sarasota while striking out 79, but he's been dogged by inconsistency, allowing five or more runs four times. "He's sitting at 94 mph, and he's still going to fill out a little, so there's more in there," said the scout. "And when the curve ball is on, it's just unhittable." As for Bailey's occasional struggles? "He's young and he's used to dominating and his approach ends up hurting himself," he said. "Instead of being convinced he can get anybody out any time, he needs to start getting ahead of the count more often."Goldstein has often been critical on Bailey in regard to his make-up, but this scout he is citing is more complementary. I think this may be a very good justification for Bailey's recent promotion to AA--he may need a bigger challenge to help him learn the importance of getting ahead of hitters and throwing strikes.