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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