Will Hamilton lead off full time again?

Billy Hamilton had the kind of game for the Reds on Monday from the leadoff spot that many envisioned he would have when the season started. Hamilton reached in each of his first four plate appearances with a bunt single, two walks and a chopped infield hit. He also stole four bases to take his total to 40.

Hamilton was back leading off on Tuesday with Brandon Phillips out again with sore hands. Could he stay there when Phillips gets back? Since mid-May, Hamilton has mostly batted eighth or ninth.

“If he can do what he did yesterday on a regular basis, that would be great,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “You guys know, the great importance of that role is you know that guy is going to get the most at-bats on your ballclub, and he needs to be on base.”

Hamilton has struggled this season, and came in batting .224 with a .273 OBP, but when he gets on — he often scores. He’s reached base 75 times this season and scored 37 runs.

Phillips came in batting .287 with a .321 OBP, plus has five homers…but he has scored less. He’s reached base 86 times and scored 32 runs.

Price pointed out that Hamilton is still trying to find his way from the left side as a switch-hitter. But as I wrote on Friday, he’s been bunting more with more success. After starting out 0-for-6 on bunt hit attempts, he’s now 6-for-17 (.353)

“The more balls he gets on the ground, the more chances he has of getting on base,” Price said. “I still believe that’s the role he will fill for this team. It just has to come on a more consistent basis before he returns full-time to the leadoff spot.”

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18 Comments

Billy is what he is. If he made that much of a difference we’d be a better team and not below 500. As the saying goes, you can’t steal first base. He hits too many balls in the air and should give up batting left handed. This is the majors not single A.

sadly he is not mlb at bat game after game he might be ok as a hanger-on in the al ,because the pitcher does not hit yet most teams have at least one below average hitter.

Hamilton is only half way into his second season . Give him some time . The problem is Price’s jackin him around . If the Reds feel he’s their future lead off hitter , they should put him there and leave him there . It’s the only way to find out . It would also help if he was developed in the minor leagues . The Reds are still under the delusion that their in the pennant race instead of building for the future .

Geez…Hamilton is soooooo fast/quick…we forget to even acknowledge his ‘leather’, yet his leather nearly lead the highlights as much as his speed on the bases does.
This guy has one fault today…OBP…his speed and fielding is beyond compare. He’s worth batting #1 and fielding every inning of every game; especially if the Reds are really training grounds for the remainder of this season. Let em learn; and stop the insanity of yo-yoing Votto and Frazier from their superior batting positions.

Agree totally. With his improved bunting his OBP will be going up.

Here’s how bad it is in the Central…
The Pirates are 24-10 over their last 34;
their record overall is 42-33 (.560) yet they
remain 9 G back of the Cards.

I keep waiting on the Cardinals to hit a bad streak. Luckily I haven’t held my breath while waiting. I think it will happen and the Pirates will get closer.

Personally I prefer Hamilton leadoff hitting .220-.250 than Phillips at .287, because Hamilton impacts the pitcher, catcher, and overall defense more than Phillips. This creates more opportunities for runs even though he is on base less. Just MHO.

Any of our board members back there in Cincinnati….got a weather report?

btw – Marty Brennaman says he can’t ever recall Reds having to deal with so much rain home & away. Re Hamilton – what is the deal with hitting fly balls? Maybe another mgr. would fine him for that.

I agree with Price, Hamilton has to be more consistent to be given that lead off spot. When I watched him in Louisville he just didn’t show to me the ability to get on base enough to make his speed a true asset. Can’t steal first.

They need to take a page our of Willie Mays Hayes… If he doesnt hit it on the ground then 10 pushups… maybe that will teach him. He needs an over haul of his swing to become a slap hitter. i dont care about the small power he possesses. I dont understand these coaches now a days that just go with what ever these kids want to do. They are kids still. Teach them to hit the ball on the ground or he doesnt play. And actually work on it with him. He should be trying to bunt at least once a game. I think 20 or 30 years ago, he would be a great player because they would teach him what to do with his talent.

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I would do whatever it takes to concentrate on Hamilton bunting. When and if he gets the art of bunting down, the guy is going to not only hit well above .325, but he will do what he did yesterday, confuse, confound and discombobulate the opposition. Yesterday he had the C so confused, the guy tried to throw him out at 3rd base on a pitch to Votto that resulted in a bases loaded walk. What resulted: Hamilton scored. Far, far, far too much speed that literally frustrates the P and C into making errors. Even the P was visually upset when he threw to the backstop allowing Hamilton to advance to 2nd. That is truly unleashed talent that the Reds must develop; Hamilton must learn to be a slap/bunt hitter and hit at least a .350 OBP.

BTW…let’s stop the insanity. We are 15 G behind the Cards, 5.5 G behind in the WC, while playing 5 under .500 at an unimpressive .468 clip. Price’s manages the Reds like the Captain of the Titanic did; moving around the deck chairs expecting the boat to not sink. Now is the time to start preparing for 2016; we know we are going to trade off a few core players and if we can’t compete today, what in the heck leads us to believe that we can compete after losing them? Let’s say everyone around us collapses and we win the WC (please…), but let’s just say. Who is going to P or H we lose the best of the best? We are going to be in a rebuilding mode, to what degree is the only question…why not start making things better with the pieces we know we are going to keep. Seems to me that 2016 would be better served instead of all this chair re-arranging.

Love the analogy. If we hang on to hope for 2015, we are going to destroy 2016, 2017, and beyond.

Sizing up baseball’s (potential) trade deadline sellers
The Sports Fan Journal
Yardbarker
JUL 02, 2015 10:59a ET
By Matt Whitener
While baseball’s hot stove is never completely turned off, there are parts of the year where the trade winds blow hot and heavier than at any other point. It is what fuels the winter and makes July’s trade deadline the all-out blitz that is, but the burner starts getting turned up right about now, when teams begin to truly see that their reality does not quite meet the hopes they had just a few months ago.

However, for a team looking to make that blockbuster talent grab midseason, it has never been tougher to strike a deal than it is now. It has been staggering to see the changes in perception that have hit the MLB landscape since the additional Wild Card team was added a few years ago. More teams are staying in the postseason mix than ever before, therefore less general managers are inclined to sell off their talent as well, because they do not want to water down their rosters with a full two months of season to play and potentially make a run.

But regardless of it all, there are some teams that are already in the position to start setting up to become complete sellers, while others that will have to make some strategic decisions about moving particular players. So with the halfway point of the MLB year nearly here, what teams would be smart to start waving the flag soon?

There is no way that this could start anywhere else except for Philly. As predicted, the Phillies the worst team in the National League and nearly went a month without a starting pitcher winning a ballgame. Despite these collective struggles, they do have an alluring collection of pieces that could bring help to other teams looking to improve their footing, as well as provide substantial fuel for the unavoidable Philly rebuild.

The biggest spotlight is obviously on Cole Hamels, who is the best player on a terrible team in baseball and is the type to bring a premier prospect or two back in return. The problem is that reports are stating general manager Ruben Amaro as wanting what seems like a team’s top 10 prospect list in full back for him. That’s not going to work, and it is that mentality that has the Phillies’ turnaround taking so long to get underway. For the Phillies to be successful yet again, they have to be reasonable in dealing away the now to kick-start the future.

Besides Hamels, they possess the top trade-eligible closer available in Jonathan Papelbon, as well as capable leadoff man in Ben Revere. There is also obvious interest on their behalf of moving Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz and potentially even Ken Giles, but unreasonable requests back for their services — as well as some boulder-like contract figures — make that a much harder proposition to pull off.

They were the toast of the town over the winter, as GM A.J. Preller made a blockbuster move per day it felt like. But now the reality of it all has set in: quick-build, win-now efforts almost always fail in rapid order. Ask the 2014 Yankees, 2013 Blue Jays, 2012-13 Angels and 2012 Marlins for recent examples of how bad these tactics can go. Or just run it past recently fired manager Bud Black, who found out his new Ferrari of a roster was really more of an El Camino.

So now the Padres are in trade season limbo. Do they give up on what they have tried to build already, or do they hold on with hope of closing ranks in the standings?

The truth of the matter is that it probably ends up being somewhere in between. It would make the most sense to begin advertising the services of Justin Upton, immediately. Regardless of the outcome of this summer, his pending free agency (and likely top-of-the-market price tag) will move him out of the Pads’ budgetary range regardless. From a pure reassessment stance, moving Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner or Ian Kennedy could bring a nice return in a pitching-starved market. And if they truly want to be bold, Craig Kimbrel could bring a massive haul back in return for a team such as the Tigers, Cubs or Yankees that have some room to improve in the ninth inning and are looking to immediately improve their situations.

It is either all or nothing in the Queen City. It would make the most sense of all for the Reds to get through hosting the All-Star festivities and then go into a measured sellout mode — and it all starts with Johnny Cueto. With him being due for a massive pay increase this offseason, it has become increasingly evident that he will be on his way out of town shortly.

But the business should just be picking up with Cueto moving along. Jay Bruce,Mike Leake, Marlon Byrd and even Aroldis Chapman should all be on the table if Walt Jocketty decides to start dealing. And if they become sellers before the Phillies do, they could very well take up a number of the deals that could have been Amaro’s for the taking, as well.

They have been playing better ball as of late, but it would not be the Athletics’ way if they decided to forgo the possibility of being a supplier at the deadline. Everybody with the exception of Sonny Gray, Billy Burns and Stephen Vogt are likely available for the right cost. Ben Zobrist, Josh Reddick, Tyler Clippard, Scott Kazmir and Eric O’Flaherty are all very alluring options for competing clubs.

It is sad to see the Marlins listed here, considering the potential that was at their feet when the year started. But last week’s injury to Giancarlo Stanton, which will keep him sidelined for the better part of a month, officially brought an end to any idea of Miami competing this season. And with that, a pair of its starting staff — Mat Latos and Dan Haren — becomes interesting for clubs that could be looking for depth, such as the Dodgers, Astros or Orioles.

Billy Hamilton batting 9th again. WHY? He was brought up to be the lead off man, leave him alone. No one else is tearing the ball up. REDS need help & get none. It starts and stops at the GM’s office, but no one cares, not even the front office. REDS
have plenty to trade, REDS need hitting and pitching–and apparently a GM that can do it. So what is wrong with this team/Front Office etc….? Doesn’t anyone care. Get
the trade going NOW, not later & no excuses.

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