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According to John Fay, Reds GM Walt Jocketty states that no decision has been made whether to bring up Billy Hamilton once the rosters expand due to September call-ups. The issue has been discussed, but at this point, there’s nothing imminent. For me, this is not a huge surprise.
Before we delve into this too much, here’s the stats in Hamilton for this season.
No question that Hamilton has been more productive as of late. As Fay points out, Hamilton’s triple slash since the All-Star break is .302/.343/.385.
In terms of looking at his 2012 season versus this season, Hamilton’s batting average currently sits 50 points lower than what he posted in 2012 (.311). Another concern, and maybe the biggest concern, would be Hamilton’s on-base percentage. In 2012, it was .410, compared to his .314 this season. While he’s not hitting like last season, another component of such would be the walk rate.
Walk rate and strikeout rate have largely been associated with Hamilton’s offensive production and success. Toward the end of 2011 with Dayton along with his stops in Bakersfield and Pensacola last year, it was thought Hamilton was starting to control these factors.
As you can see, Hamilton’s walk rate is the lowest since his first year in organized ball and about half of that rate of 2012. The strikeout rate is more in tune with his career numbers, but you would still like to see it be a little lower.
For Hamilton to utilize that speed, he’s got to get on base. You know the saying, you can’t steal first. Maybe it is what it is.
Some other things to consider.
In order for Hamilton to be among those September call-ups, room would have to be made on the 40-man roster. Jocketty stated the Reds “don’t have a lot of spots”. Sure, you could drop someone, but would it honestly be to the benefit of the club and Hamilton? Jocketty also says the Reds may not have a lot of September call-ups due to not having prospects that could currently help the team.
Also, if it’s speed you are looking for, there is Derrick Robinson. While he’s not the stunning success in stealing bases (only 3-for-8) as Hamilton, we already know he can hit MLB pitching. That would be an unknown with Hamilton. And like Hamilton, Robinson is a switch-hitter.
We know DRob can play both left and center. Hamilton might be able to man other outfield positions other than center, but at this point, it’s largely unknown if he could. The organization has largely placed emphasis on Hamilton learning center field and no other position.
It’s a little over two weeks before this decision must be made. I’ll guess that if the Reds decide to add an extra outfielder, it will be Robinson. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb there.