One of the most interesting prospects promoted to the majors this September is Billy Hamilton of the Cincinnati Reds. The fastest man in baseball, he didn't have an especially good season in Triple-A, putting up a .256/.308/.343 line for Louisville. He stole 75 bases in 90 attempts and was as fast as ever, but he didn't show any pop against advanced pitching and his on-base abilities were disappointing.
The Reds promoted him anyway since his legs would be an asset for the stretch run. Indeed they have been: used in spots, he's 6-for-14 (.429) with two walks, two doubles, and 13 steals in 13 attempts. Obviously he's not going to hit like that in a full season. But given the totality of his track record, including this year's disappointment in Triple-A but last year's record-setting 155 steals and his '12 .311/.410/.420 line, what should we expect?
I'd like to approach a Hamilton discussion in a different way, with a theoretical for you to consider.
Think of your favorite major league team. Let's say that your regular center fielder (it doesn't matter who it is) will miss the 2014 season with an injury of some kind. He will miss all of the '14 season, but is guaranteed to return in 2015 at full strength.
For 2014, Billy Hamilton will be your center fielder. He won't get injured and you'll get at least 150 games out of him. He has to play every day.
Under those conditions, keeping in mind your home park (whatever it is) and the team that surrounds him, what would you
A) expect from Hamilton in 2014?
B) where would you hit him in the lineup?
C) what do you do with him in 2015 when your regular center fielder returns?
More from Minor League Ball:
- Your thoughts on Billy Hamilton?
- Prospect of the Day: Enny Romero, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays
- Welcome to Pro Ball: Reviewing 2013 MLB Second Round Draft
- Prospect of the Day: Jose Ramirez, 2B, Cleveland Indians
- Prospect Note: Thoughts on Rays prospect Tim Beckham
- Sunday Suggestion Thread
- It's TIME! BPB2014 Order Site is Ready!
- 2013 MLB Draft: Supplemental First Round Review
- Prospect Note: Tommy Medica, 1B, San Diego Padres
- 2013 MLB Draft: First Round Review