Hamilton’s present and future
For my off day story on MLB.com/Reds.com, I focused on Billy Hamilton and his prospects for helping the Reds in the postseason. You can click here to read that piece.
What didn’t make the story were the prospects of Hamilton being the Reds’ center fielder in 2014. That possiblity largely hinges on the Reds’ ability to re-sign Shin-Soo Choo, who is expected to command a hefty price this winter as a first-time free agent. I recently asked Reds GM Walt Jocketty about Hamilton and Choo.
“We’re hopeful and confident we can bring Choo back. We’d like to bring Choo back,” Jocketty said. “We’ll see what happens. We’ll make a good effort to bring him back. If not, then we’ll give Billy the opportunity to see what he can do. There’s no question defensively that he’d be able play there right now and handle base running and everything else. It’s just a question with the offense. We’d have to be patient with him if he’s out there every day and let him gradually grow into it. Ideally, I’d like to work him in a little slower but we’ll see what happens.”
Smartly, Hamilton wasn’t ready to think about where he might be next season.
“I’m just doing what I can now to help the team. I’m not worried about next year right now,” Hamilton said.
As for what Hamilton did for Triple-A Louisville earlier this season, he batted .256/.308/.343 with 75 steals. In the big picture, Jocketty was pleased.
“He’s had a tremendous year and he has only been playing center field for a year,” Jocketty said. “Every report I got from our own people and even people from other clubs, scouts and executives from other clubs, he was probably the best center fielder in the International League. I think with some more experience, he has a chance to be a great center fielder in the Major Leagues some day. We’ve been very encouraged.”