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Billy Hamilton to start the year in Triple-A, play center field

Jan 24, 2013, 3:44 PM EDT

billy hamilton getty Getty Images

This was suspected from the moment the season ended, but Reds GM Walt Jocketty has made it official: speedster Billy Hamilton will be moving to center field and will be playing at Triple-A Louisville in 2013.

Hamilton made more headlines than your average Single-A and Double-A player usually does in 2012 thanks to his stealing an astounding 155 bases. Still, he doesn’t have a position with Zack Cozart at short and, with Shin-Soo Choo patrolling center field in his final year before hitting free agency, center field is his ticket to the bigs.

As is hitting. He posted a .410 OBP in 2012, which is fantastic. And if he keeps that up by continuing to walk and continuing to beat out almost everything hit on the ground to the infield, he may be in Cincinnati sooner than 2014.

  1. misterchainbluelightning - Jan 24, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    The only question is, will Dusty actually let him play everyday before 3 years have passed, and will he allow him to remind us of the days of Henderson, Raines and Coleman?

  2. ptfu - Jan 24, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    .300 average + plenty of walks + lots of stolen bases at a decent success rate = value. Especially if he can play a little defense.

  3. mckludge - Jan 24, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    With the sunken cheekbones in that pic, he looks like the second coming of Otis Nixon.

  4. stlouis1baseball - Jan 24, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    Good for the Redlegs. Excited to see this kid play. While also hoping he fares poorly against my Cardinals.

  5. paperlions - Jan 24, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    His skill set is scary. It’ll be interesting to see if the walk rate maintains at higher levels. It isn’t like he’s going to go yard if you groove a FB, and he has just as much chance to turn a blooper or chopper into a double or triple as he has to do any damage by driving a ball. In other words, there is no reason for pitcher to not throw him strikes, and there isn’t much reason to keep the ball down to him….on the contrary, they should be throwing him high strikes.

    Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see how his skill set evolves into production as the level of competition he faces improves…..because all he has to do is put the ball in play on the ground and there is a great chance he ends up at 3B….scary.

  6. brianabbe - Jan 24, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    They may not have a choice but to use him sooner if A. Someone gets hurt B. Choo is a disaster in CF C. Both

    I see him as a .280/.340/.375 player with 50+ steals at minimum, but if he’s providing well above-average defense in CF and netting you a win alone with his legs on the bases, that’s a 3 win player at minimum.

  7. cintiphil - Jan 24, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    It is good to see this guy move into a position to make a difference. I will bet that he is in the Reds dug out before the middle of the season, to give a little rest to Bruce and Ludwick. He should be used to PH too. A great opportunity to get on base with bunts and IF hits.

  8. sheriffpeyton18 - Jan 24, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    He was fun to watch in the Arizona Fall League and a real class act!! Move Choo to left and bring him up now!

    • paperlions - Jan 25, 2013 at 7:27 AM

      He has 200 PAs above A ball and is learning a new position, not sure such a move would help Hamilton’s development (he hasn’t spent much time facing quality pitching, yet) or the Reds winning %.

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