Top prospect, Billy Hamilton, will join the Reds prior to their home series against the Cardinals on Monday, the team announced today.
The announcement is one that Reds fans have long awaited and will most likely be the last time that fans will be “waiting” on the speedster Hamilton.
It’s no secret that Hamilton is so fast that he could make Flash appear slow. So many mythical tales exist about his speed…the only thing is they aren’t myth. The story about him rounding the bases in just 13.8 seconds for an inside-the-park home run is true. The story about him tagging up and scoring on a pop out in the inflied is true too. Finally, the story about Hamilton tagging up from second base on fly outs and scoring is true as well. The stories could go on and on and are certainly anything but myth.
But what will Hamilton’s call up bring to the Reds?
Hamilton will immediately bring another dimension to the Reds as they try to situate themselves for the playoffs during the final month of the season. With the upcoming four game series against the Cardinals and six of their last nine games of the season against the Pirates, the Reds still have an opportunity to make moves to either host the one-game wildcard playoff or the division title.
The Reds have lacked speed on the base paths all year, with Shin-Soo Choo leading the team with a meager 16 swiped bags on the year. Choo is the only Red with double-digit steals and the Reds as a team have stolen just 41 bases all season long. That ranks them 27th in the league, 81 steals behind the Royals who have with most with 122 stolen bases.
Although Choo is entrenched in centerfield for this season and the Reds are unable to let Hamilton play every day while in a pennant race, they can allow him to do what seems to just come natural to him.
Hamilton doesn’t need to learn to steal bases at the major league level like he will have to learn to hit off big league pitching. It was just last season that he broke the minor league single season stolen base record of nearly 30 years by stealing 155 bases.
This year, Hamilton has stolen 75 bases in 90 attempts. Below is a chart to show just how many steals he has been able to rack up in the minors:
|2012||21||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A+-AA||132||155||37|
|Rk (2 seasons)||Rk||112||62||12|
|A (1 season)||A||135||103||20|
|AA (1 season)||AA||50||51||16|
|AAA (1 season)||AAA||122||75||15|
|A+ (1 season)||A+||82||104||21|
Remember Dave Roberts’ steal of second base in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees? That steal is what started the Red Sox historic series come back and ultimate World Series championship. A single steal or burst of energy as such can ignite an entire squad.
Obviously I’m not implying that calling up Billy Hamilton is going to win the Reds the World Series. However, his electricity on the bases can provide a spark to this team down the stretch.
The Reds will be able to use Hamilton to pinch run late in close games and put pressure on both the pitcher and defense. If he can get into scoring position, then it will be up to the Reds every day lineup to drive him in constantly.
It may not be exactly what Reds fans had imagined as Hamilton’s big debut, however, he could play an integral role in setting the team up to succeed in the playoffs.