Billy Hamilton is one 22-year-old who has some pretty impressive stats. And the fact that he has been invited to the Cincinnati Reds spring training definitely says somebody feels that he’s worth watching to see if he is going to rise to MLB material and slide into rookie status. At the Class A Bakersfield and Double-A Pensacola he batted .311 and had an on-base percentage of .410 over the course of 132 games last season. The Reds are working with him and apparently see potential for him to be a possible fit as a center fielder — a bit of a change for him from shortstop.
Billy Hamilton would also have great potential as a pinch runner, given the fact that he set the 2012 record for stolen bases in the minor-leagues at 155. Of course, more than just speed is required in order to have a valuable pinch runner. Great timing and sound judgment are imperative skills, and he certainly has these as well. While the notion of Billy Hamilton as a pinch runner has certainly crossed the mind of Reds general manager Walt Jocketty, it’s apparently not a hit with him – not yet anyway.
It’s been suggested that Billy Hamilton is the kind of player who is a game-changer because of his hitting and base-stealing abilities; even that just his presence on the team could have something of a crushing psychological impact on an opposing team because of all the press that is out there about his amazing abilities. That being said, the logic for inviting him to spring training is obvious. And the day that the Reds make Billy Hamilton a part of the team may very well be the day that baseball in Cincinnati sees some fresh enthusiasm in ticket sales.