Hamilton’s progress through system

On Monday afternoon, I had a story on Reds prospect Billy Hamilton and his feelings on the adjustment so far from shortstop to center field in the Arizona Fall League. Click here to read it.

One of the many questions that keeps popping up is why not promote Hamilton to the Majors right away for 2013 to be the leadoff hitter?

My response is rushing him could do more harm than help for his career. Leading off in Class A and only 50 games of Double-A against that level of pitching is far different than sending a 22-year-old to face Major League pitching. I don’t doubt that he will reach that level at some point, but it’s asking a lot to do it now. Add to the equation that he’s in the early stages of learning a new position.

Hamilton was the Reds’ 2nd round pick out of high school in 2009, so he’s had four full years on Minor League development. For comparison sake, here are other Reds position players who developed in the system:

Joey Votto was a 2nd round pick in 2002, and didn’t reach the Majors until Sept. 2007.

Drew Stubbs was a 1st round pick in 2006, was called up in August 2009.

Brandon Phillips was a 1st round pick by the Expos in 1999 and didn’t reach the Majors until being a September call-up by the Indians in 2002.

Devin Mesoraco was a 1st round pick in 2007 and made his debut in September, 2011. In his first full year in 2012, he struggled mightily at the plate.

Todd Frazier was a 1st round supplemental pick in 2007 and didn’t reach the Majors until 2011 and didn’t make a big impact until 2012.

Zack Cozart was a 2nd round pick in 2007 and reached the Majors in July 2011.

Jay Bruce was a 1st round in 2005 and was up relatively quicker than the others, by May 2008.

The majority of guys listed here spent 4-5 years in the Minors before getting that first promotion. Votto, especially, came to the Majors ready to hit rather than having to learn on the job. He improved from an adequate defense player to an excellent one by working hard while at the big league level.

I’m not saying Hamilton would definitely fail if he was rushed, but his odds of success would be better if the club waited and gave him the full time to develop. Most players need to experience failure in the Minors before reaching the Majors. It’s often a lot harder, and much more noticeable and noteworthy, when failure happens for the first time in the big leagues. Fans always want the next big prospect right now, but generally it’s been better when the organization has shown patience.

26 Comments

I agree with not rushing the guy. At the same time though he should be a September call up if not sooner if he can have a high on base percentage at Louisville.

I still feel like he’s a full season in the minors away as well. I agree with bringing him on late in the season if his numbers warrant a call-up, but I think they need to exercise caution and patience in order to make Hamilton our lead-off man of the future. Meseraco and Heisey are good examples of guys who jumped too quickly from AA to the majors without ample time in between at the AAA level.

I just hope they don’t trade him away this off-season. I really want to see this kid play for the Reds.

If our bats go the way of needing some viagra like they did the second half of 2012 we’ll see him up. I say that because he will fill the seats. So… if the Reds attendance is bad that is another reason he stands a greater than 50% chance of making a debut in 2012. To here you guys talk on this subject you’d think Hamilton still wore pull diapers. He is what 22 or 23?
Give me a break playing the outfield is the easiest positions to play especially if you have speed. He was a crappy shortstop which is probably the second most important fielding position behind catcher.
I’m not wanting to see him rushed either but jeez you guys make it sound like he is going to be destroyed forever in the fires of hell if we call him out 6 months to soon. I guess some folks just need to make drama out of a non issue.

Not sure where you get he was a crappy shortstop. If its the high error total, Derek Jeter had 56 errors one season in Class A ball. He turned out ok.

Ok well if he is such a great shortstop why are they retooling him for the outfield? Most players who wind up playing shortstop have long careers. Conception,Larkin, Jeter, even Rodriquez just to name a few. So it isn’t about wear and tear on the body either.And don’t tell me Cozart has a lock on shortstop he is no gold glove winner and his .249 average is terrible.

I’m just trying to figure out why everyone wants to treat this guy like he is made of glass.

Read the story and the one from Oct 2. Trying to steal 192 times in a season takes a toll on the body. Center field is less physically demanding than shortstop.

what is your take on mesoraco

My take is he is probably a bust. He almost batted under .200. Maybe he was rushed to the majors I don’t know. Seems like a guy in their 20’s who has played ball at every level should be able to hit at least .250 even if it is major league baseball they are facing. After all we had the astros and cubs in our league this year. No excuse to not be able to hit AA pitching on those two teams.

Meso didnt get regular playing time, which could explain the low average — never got in a rhythm. But I also think he, like pretty much every call-up not named Joey Votto, is a dead pull hitter — and when you don’t hit to all fields, you don’t hit for a high average.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1370854-numbers-suggest-cincinnati-reds-organization-must-overhaul-hitting-philosophy

The thing about Hamilton being a season of seasoning away is that it means another year of stop-gap outfielder signings. If the Reds no. 1 need is a high on base, good speed outfielder to bat lead off, putting Hamilton off a year makes 2013 look a little like a lost year. I know that’s not reasonable but it’s what makes me want to bash my rattle against the sides of the crib and yell “I want him now!”

Believe me, I wanted this guy called up THIS September just to see what he could do against big league pitching, and to see if he might be a viable option for next season. Just agree with Mark that they can’t hit the panic button and set him up to fail. The switch to center field is a great move since Cozart seems like our ss of the future, and production from that position has been lacking. I’d love to see him hit 3 and some change in AAA and be called up to take over center field and lead-off next season.

cozart 246 rolen 245 stubbs 213 valdez206 cairo 187 are these guys a bust also

Cozart I’m on the fence with. Rolen, nobody can honestly say we got our money out of his contract. He is hurt more often than he plays, cost us the playoffs and is our so called “beloved” captain. Stubbs is broken needs some time somewhere besides the major leagues. Valdez just didn’t have enough playing time. Cairo is just old and needs to retire, probably the same thing as Rolen just needs to go away into the sunset.

in your mind did mesoraco get enough playing time 2 games in 7 days can you honestly say that is enough playing time in the majors now be honest

Navarro sure didn’t have an issue performing with that kind of playing time. Look I’m not sure if you are the same crazy that was ranting about Mesoraco during the regular season or not but… I think you are either a good hitter or you aren’t all quite naturally. Mark goes on about Joey Votto taking 5 years to make it to the bigs. It took Joey Votto 5 years for the Reds to find a hole for him to play in. Mesoraco had some decent minor league years and he may one day make for a very fine major league player but I wouldn’t bet on it. I would trade him for everything that I could get after what I observed of him in games. Some people got it and some people don’t. As much as I don’t like Rolen he has an idea at least of what he wants to up at the plate, same with Phillips,Votto, Hanigan, Navaro, Leake. They are trying to figure out what to do at the last minute they naturally have the mindset to hit. Mesoraco doesn’t seem to have that instinct, neither does stubbs, Bruce has it sometimes and then falls asleep. Cozart… I don’t know about him he needs to focus on being a contact hitter if you ask me. That is my two cents. I think if Mesoraco was going to shine in the majors he would have done so already.

what makes you an expert did you ever play major league baseball i believe some day you will be eating your words and as far as trading mez i hope they do maybe he will get with a manager who knows what he is doing dusty smells

Sam,

Are you capable of posting comments that don’t include saying people smell or are a dumb dumb? If you’re not, expect to be blocked from commenting in the future. It’s getting pretty old. I’ve seen your name calling in the past and there is no place for it here. Grow up.

at the beginning of the year dumb dumb baker said we wont worry about mez hitting when was he going to worry about it next year and i believe the reds have no hitting coach

yeah I would never call a manager of a team that got 97 wins dumb. I am thinking Sam is Mesoraco, his companion, or a family member. I don’t know if trading him is the right thing do to either. I just don’t think he is ready to be a fulltime catcher on the Reds. Maybe back to AAA for a year or two so he can regain his swing. Bring in a special instructor for him and Stubbs that involves learning how to hit a ball off a tee first.

i think sam had about ten posts that just said go nats, go harper, so i dont even think he is a reds fan. Block him. I approve.
Curt

yeah! an Idea Curt and I can agree on.

Back on Hamilton he as a twitter page. Not sure how responsive he is it to but here it is : @b_ham_3
I like Mr. Larkin’s comment such a class act that one. Barry should be in our front office someday.

The Reds should have called up Drew Stubbs in August of 2015.

Some people got it and some don’t truth is we will never know. Stubbs could have stayed in the minors for 10 years and looked great at it and still flopped in the majors.

There was more than a bit of cynicism in my comment. He may well have flopped in the majors, but he has made SOME contributions for the Reds, just not near enough to please anybody.

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