Choo, BHam and Center Field

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Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The other day, I wrote about the possibility for Billy Hamilton being among the Reds’ September call-ups. With his success this season, Shin-Soo Choo has not only solidified himself as a fan favorite, but he has also been the subject of fan talk as far as returning to the Reds in 2014.

GM Walt Jocketty has many things to consider here, and this isn’t as cut and dried as you might think either.

Ponder this question. Will Hamilton be ready to step in and take over not only the center field position, but the lineup’s top spot as well? If you refer to that post from the other day, you will see that Hamilton hasn’t exactly displayed the offensive success Reds fans had hoped to see as the 2013 season began.

Choo sits close to the NL’s top spot on on-base percentage. Only teammate Joey Votto is keeping him from attaining that spot.

Shouldn’t need to elaborate on this any longer.

Defensively, consider…

Range. It would seem almost academic that Hamilton has the edge here based on his speed alone, but we must also factor in pursuit angles and a player’s jump on a ball. A time or two, we’ve witnessed Choo having an issue with his angle. Reports have been the same for Hamilton. Hamilton’s speed can help him recover better from this mistake though.

Arm. Choo would seemingly gain the nod here. He has 6 outfield assists this year as a CF. He had 7 last season, 9 in ‘11, and 14 in ‘10, all as a RF. This season in Louisville, Hamilton has 7. Now Choo’s reputation as having a string arm could prevent opponents from trying to get the extra base. If Hamilton is the guy in center for the 2014 season, he would have to prove to Reds opponents that he is capable of the same.

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Tags: Billy Hamilton Cincinnati Reds Shin-Soo Choo

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