Cincinnati Reds: Has Billy Hamilton worked his way back to leadoff spot?

CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 22: Billy Hamilton #6 of the Cincinnati Reds hits an RBI single in the second inning against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park on June 22, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 22: Billy Hamilton #6 of the Cincinnati Reds hits an RBI single in the second inning against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park on June 22, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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Billy Hamilton has seen his on-base percentage steadily rise over the last several games. Has he worked his way back into the leadoff spot for the Cincinnati Reds?

Billy Hamilton has been a constant frustration for the Cincinnati Reds and their fans. His defensive ability in the outfield is amazing. His speed on the basepaths is unmatched. But, his ability to get on base consistently has been a huge question mark since his arrival in Cincinnati. Has Hamilton done enough of late to be the Reds’ leadoff hitter?

Scott Schebler, when he’s in the starting lineup, has been hitting leadoff. Schebler is not the prototypical leadoff that most organizations look for, but his .284 average and .356 on-base percentage are reason enough for him to stay put, right?

In 2016 Billy Hamilton slashed .260/.321/.343. Those are career-best numbers in every category. Hamilton also had 58 stolen bases and 1.2 offensive WAR. With numbers like that, you could make the argument that Hamilton is worthy of the leadoff spot.

However, this season Hamilton is hitting .210. Yes, you read that right, .210. Yikes! His OBP has crept up to .299 and he does have 17 RBIs. His 17 runs batted in are tied with his total RBIs for 2016.

With that being said, over the last 10 games, Hamilton has been making a case to become Cincinnati’s leadoff man. He’s hitting .333, has a .405 on-base percentage and has stolen 5 bases. During his last 10 games, Schebler’s numbers have dropped a bit. He’s slashing .268/.362/.512.

While Schebler has done a decent job in the leadoff spot, he has the power to do much more damage later in the batting order. Schebler has 10 homers on the season, but only 29 RBIs.

Ideally, Schebler would be great in the sixth or seventh spot in the batting order, using his power to advance and score Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett.

Another option for the leadoff spot is Jose Peraza. Peraza, until last night in Atlanta, had reached base in 23 straight games. Peraza, whlie not as fast as Hamilton, has great speed on the bases as well. HIs on-base percentage over the past 10 games is .368 and he has 4 stolen bases during that span as well.

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Schebler is not a bad option at the top of the order, but his bat would be better served with more runners on base. Hamilton’s speed makes him a great leadoff hitter, but only if he can get on base. The Reds have done well as late with Schebler occupying the leadoff spot, but it would be great to get Hamilton out of the ninth spot in the order.