Cincinnati Reds: Billy Hamilton Making The Grade In Center

By Brad Stiene
Jake Roth-USATODAY Sports

Reports coming out the Cincinnati Redsspring training is that the Reds’ number one prospect, Billy Hamilton,  is so far passing the test in his new role as a center fielder according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquire.

Manager Dusty Baker told the Enquire,

“He’s looked good. Unless they mess up, they’re doing good. The objective is to catch the ball. I’m pleasantly surprised at the routes he’s taken in the short period of the time I’ve seen him.”

If there is anything to take away from that comment, it’s that the Reds should be excited that Hamilton is, well, catching the ball in center field.

It’s not the easiest position to play considering that Hamilton was originally a shortstop his whole career, but that is something that Hamilton can use to his strength. When you play shortstop, you are the general in the infield. Same goes with playing center field–you’re the general out there too.

Baker also said about Hamilton in learning his new role,

“He’s been working hard with (Billy Hatcher), Eric Davis and Darren Bragg. It helps to be around good outfielders.”

Well, that’s a plus. Anytime you get a chance to work on improving your game with three excellent outfielders during their time, would most certainly benefit Hamilton to becoming a more confident, polished player in center field.

Many Reds’ fans know that Hamilton can get on base and can fly around the base paths. They also know that he can be a complete game changer when he is batting and is on base. The biggest thing that the Reds have been concerned with is how well can Hamilton adjust to playing center field and it looks like it’s so far so good.

With Shin-Soo Choo acquired as essentially a bridge player to allow Hamilton to adjust to his new role, it will be very interesting to see if Hamilton continues his success once he is sent to Triple-A Louisville. Would the Reds even consider bringing him up before the September call-ups even are allowed? One would have to think that could be a very strong case if Choo does not pan out the way the Reds had hoped for.

Follow Brad Stiene on Twitter, @bs_rant1

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