Billy Hamilton is an important piece to the 2014 Cincinnati Reds offense. After struggling in the 2013 with the Triple-A Louisville Bats, Hamilton showed up early to spring training and worked on both his hitting and bunting for a few weeks before camp even began with former big leaguer and Double-A Pensacola manager Delino DeShields.
Hamilton was rather successful bunting in the 2013 season, laying down a total of 51 total bunts between the Major and Minor Leagues. Of those 51 bunts, there were five sacrifice bunts and 23 hits. That means that in 2013 Billy Hamilton hit .500 on bunts (23 for 46 with 5 sacrifices). That someone as fast as Billy Hamilton ever is given credit for a sacrifice is hilarious, but it apparently happened.
Looking back at the last two seasons worth of play-by-play data for batted balls on Fangraphs, only Erick Aybar has more than 18 bunt hits combined in the 2012 and 2013 seasons and he had 25. Only 14 total players even racked up 10 bunt hits in that time span. Among those 14 players, just two have had a better average on bunts than .423. Jason Kipnis has hit .571, racking up 12 total bunt hits and Carlos Gonazlez has hit an impressive .625 as he has racked up 10 bunt hits.
No one in the Major Leagues has come close to bunting as often as Hamilton attempted bunts in 2013 for several years. This spring he has been dropping down bunts quite often, going 3-6 on them this spring despite racking up just putting the ball in play 20 times through the game on Wednesday.
That would put him on pace for over 120 bunts this season, which would likely shatter any modern record for bunt attempts in a single season. I would be shocked if Hamilton bunted nearly as many times as that, but if he bunted 60-80 times in a season it wouldn’t be a surprise at all. If the Reds center fielder were able to remain successful at a rate of around 50% on that number of bunts it would relieve some of the stress on him at the plate as he goes through his first season and would help him avoid longer slumps as he could rely on the bunt to break out.