2013 Reds

Jocketty on Billy Hamilton

From the Enquirer:

Reds top prospect Billy Hamilton will start the year at Triple-A Louisville and play every day in center field, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said Thursday.

The Reds plan to have Billy Hamilton spend most if not all of 2013 at Triple-A Louisville.

Jocketty, speaking before the annual Reds caravan rolled away from Great American Ball Park, indicated that Hamilton will probably spend most if not all of 2013 at Louisville.

“He’ll be playing center field and working on his offense and his overall game,” Jocketty said. “He’s going to probably end up bunting a lot, with his speed. Bunting and running are his two key tools.”

So, what do you think? Should Jocketty have made this announcement before ST even begins? Is this rushing him along? Where should he start the season or should it depend on how he looks in ST?

30 thoughts on “Jocketty on Billy Hamilton

  1. I think this is right on track if they expect to take over in CF next year. He needs a full year at AAA getting used to the better catching and pitching. His speed is still raw and needs to refine his base stealing at the tougher competition. If the Reds thought he was two years away then he should have started in AA, but I think this is just right.

  2. I don’t see a down side to this. They must think they can have him ready for 2014 to play center and lead off. Feet to the fire already…

  3. Yes, Jocketty was wise to make this proclamation now. It removes some pressure from Hamilton, keeps reporters from asking more questions than they would otherwise ask, and signals to AAA staff to be sure to plan on Hamilton in CF all year.

  4. The biggest adjustment BHam will have to make will be his defense. That and learning the pick off moves of ML caliber pitchers. Learning to play the outfield takes time. Getting used to judging the ball off the bat of opposing players in different, bigger stadium environments will be key to his development. AAA will help him with this too. BHam, I think, will be ready for AAA. Now he can get down to the business of baseball and not have to worry about where he will start the season and if he is impressing the Reds management or not. It could have been a possible distraction in spring training, that now is eliminated. It lets him concentrate solely on baseball and learning.

  5. Was there really any doubt about where BHam was going to be playing during the 2013 season? In almost half a season at AA, he produced a slash line of .286/406/.383 with the Blue Wahoos. I would like to see some more 2B & 3B power, but his job is to get on base…period. He has nothing left to prove at the AA level and he is not ready to move to the show and start. Since he needs consistent playing time for his development, I can’t see any other option than BHam roaming CF for the Bats. I commend WJ for putting this question to rest, although I’m sure the same question will be asked repeatedly even after WJ’s very specific explanation. I think the bigger question is who will man the corner OF spots in 2013 for the Bats?

    • I think the bigger question is who will man the corner OF spots in 2013 for the Bats?

      I’d split the time between Phipps, Fellhauer, and LaMarre.

    • I don’t think Jocketty suggesting that Billy Hamilton would go to Louisville came as a surprise to anybody but it should force fans to accept that they won’t see him with the Reds on opening day regardless of how Shin-Shoo Choo does in CF in the spring.

      I think the bigger question is who will man the corner OF spots in 2013 for the Bats?

      I agree that Phipps, Fellhauser, and LaMarre will get shots but don’t forget about Derrick Robinson, the switch hitter who won a Gold Glove in the minors in LF in 2012. They signed him to a minor league contract and I expect they see him as a contingency plan in case something happens to Xavier Paul or Chris Heisey, so they’ll probably want to keep him ready.

  6. Cardinals called up Vince Coleman on 4/17/85 due to OF injuries. Is it wrong that I’m hoping either Choo or Ludwick to get hurt so Reds do same with Billy Hamilton. He’s a game changer, he’s the same age Coleman was, and he’ll add something this team could use which is pure excitement.

  7. I agree with the commenters. The announcement should allow Hamilton to relax some and just play ball. I think even a “lights-out” or “lights-burned-out” showing at Spring Training shouldn’t make a difference either way. It’s just too small a sample and during a time when very few people are playing to win. I don’t like decisions based primarily on Spring Training performances.

    • The “signals” are obvious, aren’t they? . . .

      C’mon, guys, we all know he’s gonna wind up in the bullpen.

  8. @Drew Mac:
    @RC:

    ROFFLMAO…

    whoops, does that pass the censorship muster?

    The Reds Caravan is on the road. Just 19 days until pitchers and catchers report.

    I’m absolutely stoked for this season!

  9. @redsfanman: Yes, I think the large majority of Reds fans want to see Billy Hamilton start in CF this year, with Shin Soo Choo riding the pines. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    • @redsfanman: Yes, I think the large majority of Reds fans want to see Billy Hamilton start in CF this year, with Shin Soo Choo riding the pines.Yeah, that’s the ticket.

      I didn’t mean to imply that anybody wanted Choo (or Bruce or Ludwick) benched, I meant that either Choo and Bruce will be given the everyday job in CF and Jocketty implied that they are sticking with those guys regardless of how the starting center performs defensively – Choo, Bruce, and Ludwick will start in the outfield and Hamilton will head to AAA. As I said, not a surprise.

      • I didn’t mean to imply that anybody wanted Choo (or Bruce or Ludwick) benched, I meant that either Choo and Bruce will be given the everyday job in CF and Jocketty implied that they are sticking with those guys regardless of how the starting center performs defensively – Choo, Bruce, and Ludwick will start in the outfield and Hamilton will head to AAA.As I said, not a surprise.

        I’m still not getting your comments. Barring injury, Billy Hamilton isn’t going to see any time with the big club at all. They’re not going to sit down Ludwick, Choo, or Bruce. I don’t see what Jocketty needed to say. It’s obvious, at least I think it is.

        They traded Gregorious for a one-year rental. You don’t trade for a good rental like Choo and then not play him, and you don’t sign Ludwick for what they paid and not play him. And Bruce isn’t going anywhere, obviously.

        • I’m still not getting your comments. Barring injury, Billy Hamilton isn’t going to see any time with the big club at all. They’re not going to sit down Ludwick, Choo, or Bruce. I don’t see what Jocketty needed to say. It’s obvious, at least I think it is.They traded Gregorious for a one-year rental. You don’t trade for a good rental like Choo and then not play him, and you don’t sign Ludwick for what they paid and not play him. And Bruce isn’t going anywhere, obviously.

          Agreed. But, Didi was also blocked with the big club, unless we kept him on as a Plan B for Cozart. But, small market clubs can set up only so many Plan B’s. In short, either Cozart or Didi was going to go. I thought it would be after this coming season. I thought it would be for a player who would be here longer than Choo will probably be here. But, who knows?

      • I didn’t mean to imply that anybody wanted Choo (or Bruce or Ludwick) benched, I meant that either Choo and Bruce will be given the everyday job in CF and Jocketty implied that they are sticking with those guys regardless of how the starting center performs defensively – Choo, Bruce, and Ludwick will start in the outfield and Hamilton will head to AAA. As I said, not a surprise.

        I don’t think Jocketty suggesting that Billy Hamilton would go to Louisville came as a surprise to anybody but it should force fans to accept that they won’t see him with the Reds on opening day regardless of how Shin-Shoo Choo does in CF in the spring.I agree that Phipps, Fellhauser, and LaMarre will get shots but don’t forget about Derrick Robinson, the switch hitter who won a Gold Glove in the minors in LF in 2012. They signed him to a minor league contract and I expect they see him as a contingency plan in case something happens to Xavier Paul or Chris Heisey, so they’ll probably want to keep him ready.

        But, you did imply that others were saying that Choo performs terrible in ST so that Hamilton will move to the big club. I know of no one saying that. Never read anything like that anywhere after we got Choo. Even before we got Choo, I believe most of the talk was we would go with Stubbs again, maybe a platoon with Heisey and/or Paul. Or, if Stubbs was traded, go with Heisey and/or Paul, if we couldn’t get anyone else from trade or FA. Hamilton wasn’t much more than an afterthought for the big league starting this season. They would probably look at one of the others first for CF before BH if something happens to any OF on the big club. It would only be for a bench gig, anyhow. And, BH needs playing time, not pine time.

  10. @Shchi Cossack: I guess I’m okay with Hamilton working on bunting, but I would also like to know if he’s ever going to hit more than Juan Pierre. To me, bunting shouldn’t take the place of hitting. I would rather see if he can become a complete hitter instead of molding him deliberately into a slap hitter. He’s so fast that he could probably get on base by accident, but he will be a more valuable player if he’s got some solid doubles in him.

    • @Shchi Cossack: I guess I’m okay with Hamilton working on bunting, but I would also like to know if he’s ever going to hit more than Juan Pierre. To me, bunting shouldn’t take the place of hitting. I would rather see if he can become a complete hitter instead of molding him deliberately into a slap hitter. He’s so fast that he could probably get on base by accident, but he will be a more valuable player if he’s got some solid doubles in him.

      As a speedy guy and leadoff hitter Billy Hamilton’s job will be to get on base and provide a distraction on the base paths. In my opinion Juan Pierre (.346 career OBP) is a great guy for him to model after, and Pierre is sometimes underrated. Hamilton isn’t a power guy and trying to mold him into one doesn’t seem like a good idea. OBP, that’s what matters most for him.

  11. @redsfanman: I certainly agree that OBP is his most important skill, I would just rather he was a hitter like Pedroia with speed than one like Juan Pierre. Pierre was awesome for a bit as long as he hit 300. That was the only way he would OBP 360. I would just hate to force Hamilton into a slap role when sometime more could happen.

    • @redsfanman: I certainly agree that OBP is his most important skill, I would just rather he was a hitter like Pedroia with speed than one like Juan Pierre. Pierre was awesome for a bit as long as he hit 300. That was the only way he would OBP 360. I would just hate to force Hamilton into a slap role when sometime more could happen.

      Could happen, yes. But, would it? Given that Hamilton has never had a season with SLG over 456, never had a season with more than 3 HR’s, odds are it wouldn’t. Odds are, BH is going to be more of a slap type of hitter that would occasionally reach the power alleys and down the lines.

      Also, remember, few look for the leadoff hitter to have a high SLG. That is normally reserved for the RBI guys. It would be great to have a leadoff hitter with a high SLG. But, few look for that from a leadoff hitter.

      The biggest thing with Hamilton this year, just learn. Learn playing CF. Learn hitting high level pitching. Learn the craft of reading the pitchers better. The more he learns, the quicker he will be up here. How fast can someone learn?

  12. @Hank Aarons Teammate: I agree with you. I guess my point is that I would rather him be taught to hit like a normal person, if at all possible, than to say “Hey, you’re really fast! Why don’t you just bunt like crazy and hit ‘em where they ain’t.” That, to me, is a strategy you pursue when no other options are available.

  13. @steveschoen: I suspect Walt Jocketty was expecting to be bugged with a continuing stream of questions about Billy Hamilton’s role in 2013, and questions about his confidence in Choo in CF, during the Reds Caravan and throughout spring training and he wanted to settle the matter early on.

    • @steveschoen: I suspect Walt Jocketty was expecting to be bugged with a continuing stream of questions about Billy Hamilton’s role in 2013, and questions about his confidence in Choo in CF, during the Reds Caravan and throughout spring training and he wanted to settle the matter early on.

      That’s reporters, not fans, not anyone here, not most anyone anywhere else. Reporters will hunt for anything. If it came out that BH was really female, they would love to get the exclusive. They could care less if BH is starting with the big club. They just want to get any news at all, the more bizarre the better. Anyone with 2 cents for brains knows BH wasn’t going to start with the big club. Walt probably just did it to quiet the reporters. They want news; he gave it to them. The thing is, it won’t quiet the reporters. The first game he goes 4 for 4, the reporters are going to be asking when Walt’s going to bring him up. The first time BH goes 0 for 4, they are going to be asking Walt if he made a mistake. The reporters don’t care a lick about what’s going on, the big picture, etc. They just want news. I wouldn’t fall for that so easily, redsfanman.

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