-- Billy B., Bloomington, Ind.
-- Russ M., Liberty, Ky. "Can't miss" is a dangerous label, since anything from injuries to the unknown can happen on the way up the ladder to the Majors. But according to Baseball America, outfielder Jay Bruce and first baseman Joey Votto are the Reds' Nos. 2 and 3 ranked prospects, respectively, behind Bailey. With a .291 average, 16 homers and 81 RBIs last season for Class A Dayton, Bruce was named the Midwest League's No. 1 prospect. He's considered to be a player with a great future as a corner outfielder. Scouts like his bat speed and above-average power. Turning 20 in April, look for Bruce to move up to high Class A Sarasota when the season starts. For Double-A Chattanooga, Votto led the Southern League with a .319 average, a .408 on-base percentage and 162 hits, which earned him that league's MVP honors. He was named the Reds' Minor League Hitter of the Year. The 23-year-old will likely begin in Triple-A this season but could be in line for a big-league promotion by season's end.
Have a question about the Reds?
E-mail your query to MLB.com Reds beat reporter Mark Sheldon for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
Why is Aaron Harang's new contract so back-laden? He gets $4.25 million in the first year and $12.5 million the last year? Is there some benefit to doing that other than hoping that another team will be responsible for most of the contract if he is traded away?
-- Ted A.
-- Joe H., Cincinnati Was he a voracious reader of Homer's "The Illiad," or "The Odyssey"? Perhaps he had a home run stroke that would have rivaled Adam Dunn's? Nope -- neither of those apply here. Let's end the suspense. Bailey actually took the name "Homer" after his great-grandfather. What is Barry Larkin up to? What are the chances of him coming back to the Reds as an advisor or even a coach? He was pretty handy with the glove, he could help the Reds' young infielders.
-- Ben C. Larkin remains as special assistant to the general manager with the Nationals. Therefore, he's unable to have any official dealings with the Reds in a coaching or advisory capacity. It wouldn't shock me, however, if Larkin one day is back working in the Reds' family. Owner Bob Castellini has a deep appreciation for Reds history, and Larkin has made plenty of it in Cincinnati.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.