September call-ups are on the horizon around baseball, and the Cincinnati Reds will reportedly make outfielder Billy Hamilton one of their additions on Monday. Hamilton grabbed attention last year by setting the minor league single-season record with 155 stolen bases between two stops, and he had 75 steals in 122 games for Triple-A Louisville this season.
Hamilton made a position switch from shortstop to the center field this year, so can he find a way to work his way into the Reds’ lineup and become a factor for fantasy baseball owners?
The name of Hamilton’s game is clearly speed, and he has been a proficient base stealer in his five minor leagues (395 stolen bases; 82 percent success rate). He started slowly at Triple-A this year, hitting just .205 in April with a .278 on-base percentage, and if he had drawn more walks (38 in 543 plate appearances) it’s fair to think he could have stolen 100 bases.
Cincinnati is well-situated in the outfield, with Jay Bruce and Shin-Soo Choo in right and center field and Ryan Ludwick back healthy in left field. Shortstop may provide an easier path to regular playing time, with a less-proven Zack Cozart in place as the starter, but it remains to be seen if the team would consider moving Hamilton back to his old position.
Hamilton’s stolen base upside makes him worth adding in NL-only leagues right now, and he should absolutely be owned in all keeper leagues. But owners in mixed leagues should keep an eye on him for the stretch run of this season, in case injuries or ineptitude open up more playing time.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.