It was just over two months ago I penned an article for Redleg Nation expressing what my future handling of the talented Mr. Hamilton would be; in which I argued that the Reds would be best served maximizing his talent, hiding his weaknesses and thus turning Hamilton into a weapon to enter late in games off the bench.  My rationale was simple; even with his elite defense that he will play for nine innings every game, I felt giving Hamilton 4-5 plate appearances per game were too detrimental to the Reds to justify being an everyday player.  Rather I argued that Hamilton and the Reds would be best served saving Billy for late game situations, similar to when he was initially called up to the big leagues.  By using him in this capacity, they would turn Hamilton into a weapon, one which could be used to lay down a bunt when needed, steal a base when needed or make a late-inning substitution.

Flash forward about 75 days.

Billy Hamilton, almost more so than any other player on the roster has a way of driving me insane, especially considering the stance I took on him two months ago.  If I go with my gut, solely based on his play the last few months, I want to think, and feel, that he has begun to make strides at the plate and is becoming the everyday weapon we all hoped he would be.  He makes an impact on the game; almost daily in the field, and with frequency at the plate.  He has this incredible ability to make you think when a ball is hit anywhere between Right Center and Left Center Field, that he is going to catch it…and even under that strong assumption, he still manages to amaze with highlight reel catches and the amount of real estate he covers.  You just want to feel that Hamilton is an everyday player in the big leagues.  You look for ways to support what you as a fan want to materialize.  After an incredibly slow start which was the impetus behind my piece in April, he has started to come to life in many ways; hitting .259 in May, .286 in June and .311 over his last 17 games played.  If you follow this trend, my idea of Hamilton as a super-sub is bunk.

However, as much as I want Billy to be patrolling Center Field 150 games per year, there are other indicators that still serve as roadblocks, even during his “hot” streak.  His OBP in the last 90 days is still sub .300 at .287.  He also hasn’t been as aggressive on the base paths, attempting only 20 steal so far this year.  Contrast that to the last two seasons; in 2014 he attempted 79 stolen bases in 152 games played, or about .52 steal attempts per game.  In 2015 he attempted 65 stolen bases in only 114 games played, or about .57 steal attempts per game.  This year, he is only averaging about .34 steal attempts per game.

Additionally, and Joey, if you are by chance reading this, please close your eyes…Hamilton’s OBP suffers from what can only be described as an almost incomprehensibly low walk rate, something that I take as a strong indicator of a players ability to recognize pitches, situations and exercise patience.  Hamilton has walked eight…that’s 8 times this season.  Including only two walks in his last 23 games and ZERO…ZERO walks drawn in the month of June.  I can only imagine that if you played on an everyday basis in the big leagues…and went to the plate with the intention of never swinging at a single pitch…literally, going up and accepting your fate as a strike out looking or a walk…that somehow, someway, in the last month, some pitcher you would have faced would have thrown you four balls before they throw you three strikes!  That said, this single statistic alone will remain as a drag on Hamilton’s ability to justify an everyday role on this team, as well as any chance of solidifying a position in the leadoff spot in the order.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, in my heart, and for the long term success of this team, I want Hamilton to be playing as the everyday starting Center Fielder and hitting leadoff…but if he cannot get on base at an acceptable rate to justify hitting him in the leadoff spot, as well as become more aggressive on the base paths, it is difficult to argue he is an everyday player.  When I sat down to write this follow up on Hamilton, I did so wanting to write a piece that two months ago I was wrong and that Hamilton should absolutely be the starting center fielder…I was trying to prove myself wrong.  But as I dug deeper into the numbers I couldn’t let the eye-test supersede the reality of what is happening.  While I hope he keeps hitting at a .300 clip he is going to have to do more in developing his game to earn the starting spot in the future.

The second half of the season is going to be an audition for 2017 for many players in this organization, and I believe Hamilton falls into the same category as many of the other younger players on the roster.  He should be given every chance to prove he can play every day in center field for this team, but if he finishes the season with an OBP of below .300 I think the Reds need to think long and hard about their plans for the centerfield position in 2017.

41 Responses

  1. RedFuture

    I think you were, are and will remain right about BH. However, there simply isn’t anyone else to plug into CF right now that will give at least adequate defense and improved punch. Earlier in the year I was hopeful that Schebler would prove capable of average defense at least in the bandbox, but he showed otherwise. That’s one of the things Price had right earlier. I can’t help it that Billy doesn’t like batting there. Perhaps he would change his tune when given that choice or coming into the game late. But there is the problem of who would start in CF instead? The only hope I see in the organization is Trammel but he is about 4 years away. Since there is no alternative BH does need to start but in the 9th hole, perhaps 8th.

    • lwblogger2

      I’m not completely convinced that Holt couldn’t do a decent job.

  2. Hotto4Votto

    I agree that he needs to walk more. And even for those who are tired of hearing about on-base percentage, they would have to admit that with Hamilton’s speed, just getting on base is going to bring value from stolen bases, first to third on routine singles, pitcher distraction, etc.

    But I also wonder, what if he molded himself into an heavy contact hitter similar to what Peraza is touted as, or what Phillips has been recently. If Hamilton gets on base above .300 mark (ideally .310-.320 range) no matter how he does it, he will bring offensive value to combine with his elite base running and defense. But that’s always been the problem. Weak contact has led to low batting averages and without the walks he’s simply not been on base enough to contribute much on the offensive side.

    This led me to look into his batting splits, as a RH vs LH batter. I’ve held the opinion for going on two years now that he should drop the switch hitting. In an article from this past offseason Hamilton himself said he would like to drop the switch hitting but the Reds FO didn’t want him to.

    Batting RH (his natural side) Hamilton has put up a .278/.304/.407/.711 slash line with 7 Ks vs 1 BB in 57 PA. Batting LH Hamilton has put up a .255/.295/.380/.675 slash line with 35 Ks vs 8 BB in 151 PA. On the surface he bats better (in a much smaller sample) from the right side as he does from the left side. It’s curious that he walks more often (both numbers and percentage-wise) from the left side, but that’s about the only thing that is better. What is alarming is the difference in strike outs. Hamilton has 35 LH K vs 7 RH Ks, or if we go by percenatages 23.2% vs 12.3% respectively. Hamilton is doing more damage as a RH than a LH even with a lower BABIP (.304 RH vs .333 LH). Hamilton’s wRC+ is 88 as a RH and 76 as a LH. (He’s 2x worse as a LH batter).

    All of this data is compiled without looking at how hard he’s hitting the ball from the right side vs the left side. (If anyone feels compelled, I’d like to see those numbers).

    I believe we’d all happily take a .278/.304/.407/.711 slash line from Hamilton to go along with his elite speed/defense. The issue is, we only get that player roughly a quarter of the PA this season. Obviously, there’s no way to extrapolate his splits (RH batting vs LHP and LH batting vs RHP) to see how he’d do as a RH batter vs RH pitching. But if he could carry the K% from the right side to go with his above average BABIP there certainly seems to be some merit to give it a try. Right? At that point I think we’d finally truly figure out if he can be an every day player.

    • Ben

      Excellent post, I think you have a great idea.

    • old-school

      RH hitter, late inning replacement and start on Sundays or businessmen specials. 300 Ab per year and a late inning weapon.

      • DHud

        Why?? Why take your best defensive player and put him on the bench for 6-7 innings a game. You are literally advocating taken the thing he is by far best at away from him.

        This idea is like only putting Stephen Curry in to take a last second shot because he’s only average on defense. It just doesn’t make sense

      • old-school

        Stephen Curry was the best player in the NBA…MVP of the league…on the greatest regular season team in NBA history….( forget the cavs.lebron argument for a second). Billy Hamilton was the worst offensive player in MLB 2 years running and while a little better, is still an abomination…..Are you really comparing the worst offensive player in MLB to the best player in the NBA? WOW!

      • DHud

        Yes. Yes I am. How is somebody batting .270 an abomination!? The league average is .257! Do you know what the word “abomination” means?? WOW!

        My point remains. The argument presented is: Billy bad at offense; good at defense. Therefore, make him defensive sub (meaning late game replacement, for the purposes of this argument, we’ll even give the opposing benefit of the doubt and call that the last 3 innings of a game).

        Therefore, you want to REMOVE Hamilton’s defense from the game for the first 6 innings of a game and only use it for a smaller portion. How exactly are you utilizing his best asset, his glove, by putting it on the bench for 2/3 of the game??

        This is ignoring the fact that he has shown substantial improvement at the plate every month this season, including hitting .286 through June and .311 over the last 17 games, which in itself debunks the whole “abomination” argument, but even that aside the argument still does not make sense.

        Curry great at shooting. By most accounts only ok at defense. Hamilton great at defense. By the current numbers and statistics (if you want to ignore them that’s you’re prerogative), around average at batting. Curry = MVP. Hamilton = only defensive sub by your argument.

        Does not follow.

      • Old-school

        He’s hitting .257- not .270- for the season.
        He is 4-27 with 9K’s and 1 walk in his last 7 games…. he’s hit into more double plays (2) than he has stolen bases(1) over that time period.
        His walk rate is 4%…. his OBP is .292 and he strikes out a lot He also has no power.

        Batting average for Hamilton and Phillips is a superficial gloss-over. Look deeper and you have really poor offensive productivity.
        Yes- his offensive performance the last 2 years was terrible- the worst offensive player in baseball last year. That’s an abomination- yes.

        Billy Hamilton and Steph Curry? Curry was the unanimous MVP, led the league in scoring and was the most important player on the greatest regular season team in NBA history. His player efficiency rating was the 8th highest in the history of basketball. Billy is a top defensive CF with electric speed but also one of the worst offensive players in all of baseball on a last place team.

        Going forward, there will be more and more issues with Billy Hamilton and his durability- His game is playing fast and chasing balls into the wall and wreaking havoc on the base paths. He is very thin and doesn’t possess the body frame to be durable enough to play 155 games.He has had a concussion and a major shoulder injury due to his style of play in the last year.

        So yes, leverage his defense and speed into a super-sub weapon and spot starter. You need 4 good outfielders anyway.

      • DHud

        I’m not saying Hamilton is a unanimous MVP. I’m saying when you have an elite weapon you don’t put it on the bench because of short comings elsewhere.

        Hamilton’s defense far outweighs his offensive production. Even with being the worst offensive player the past two years, which he is markedly better this year, he still accumulated 6.5 WAR over that time. He is most valuable because of his defense. You cannot play defense while on the bench. Period.

  3. DHud

    Couldn’t disagree more. You want Hamilton’s glove in center 9 innings every night, not just 2 or 3 as a defensive sub when he may never even have a ball hit to him. Hamilton derives his most value from his defense and you do nothing but negate that by putting him on the bench. Why intentionally eliminate your best tool?

    Even with a OBP below .300, he is still providing value at the plate. You can’t look at anyone with a .270 batting average and say they have no business hitting 4-5 times a game. And no, the low OBP doesn’t merit batting him in the lead off. That may be why they don’t bat him lead off? What logic draws the conclusion that if he can’t lead off, he isn’t worth putting in the lineup?

    As for the steals, my theory is he’s running less because there are less situations for him to run this season. There’s no point in him stealing if the Reds are already down 4 runs. At that point his value of just being on base outweighs the risk of stealing a base. If the Reds were more competitive, he could change more games with his speed

    • old-school

      plus the fact you cant steal first base….minor details.

      • DHud

        I don’t even know what point you are trying to make with that statement

        Different players provide value in different ways. Hamilton is a gold glove center fielder. Period.

        And you want to put that on the bench because he can’t “steal first base?”

        Give me a break

  4. Jason Linden

    I am of two minds about this. On the one hand, the Reds have far too many regular (4 of the 8 starters) checking in with an OBP south of .300. That ain’t good. On the other hand, value is value.

    Hamilton is both an elite base runner and an elite fielder. Since becoming a regular in 2014, Hamilton is, according to FanGraphs, the most valuable baserunner in the league and the 3rd most valuable fielder (behind Simmons and Keven Kiermaier). That is serious value and explains why he has been worth 6.5 WAR over that time – an above average total for a starter. Indeed, according to FanGraphs, Hamilton has been the 76th most valuable position player in baseball since 2014. That is really, really not bad at all.

    So, yes, the bat hurts. BUT he generates a lot of value elsewhere and really seems perfectly suited to the bottom of the order.

  5. ArtWayne

    When you’re a sub-par batter you get a lot of pitches to hit, You either hit the ball or you’re called out.

    • eastcentralindyredsfan

      I agree 100%, pitchers do not throw him balls at the same rate as other batters. There is less nibbling on the corners. Pitchers are not afraid of him making contact. The problem isn’t lack of walks. it is lack of exit velocity on ball put in play. If he were to put balls in play with more authority, they may walk him a little more often.

  6. Phil Gasson

    Matt: am I off “off base:”: you mentioned billy being less aggressive on the bases. He bats down in the order when votto plays. He doesn’t bat in front of votto. I believe it’s because votto doesn’t want billy to distract him when he’s at the plate. I guess it”s tough to maintain a .248 avg. If you’re distracted. If he steals batting 7th who would drive him in?

    • Dan

      +1 and they say batting order doesn’t matter. I think you described my sentiments exactly.

      • Patrick Jeter

        It matters, just not monumentally. Big misconception.

  7. Dan

    Here is the sad reality. Billy Hamilton is the best center fielder that the Reds will ever be able to afford. Would a true #1 Center Fielder even sign with the Reds? I doubt it seriously. The team is too cheap and you just don’t see top notch players saying, “I want to go play in the wonderful city of Cincinnati.” The city is well known for racial tensions, bad weather, poor traffic, low wages, and fair weather fans.
    So with that said, who in their right mind would come to Cincinnati if we aren’t going to overpay?

    • greenmtred

      A top notch center fielder would probably come to the Reds as a draft choice who moves up through the system, as Billy has, not as a free agent or trade piece. Billy is a great fielder who provides value, as others have pointed out above. His hitting is improving and I don’t see him as The Problem. He is an exciting player to watch in what is, after all, an entertainment.

      • Shchi Cossack

        The Reds. like virtually every other major league team, can afford to carry a elite-defense, no-hit position player in the lineup, but the Reds continually carry 2-3 no-hit position players in the lineup and that is something successful teams simply can’t afford, especially when the team defense is so pitiful.

        From what I have seen from Peraza, he can help this team defensively, but I have serious doubts about his bat making a positive contribution. If that holds true, the Reds management is once again setting up the team with multiple offensive holes in the lineup.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Currently, the Reds have 4 of the 8 everyday players that are below league average in wRC+ in Suarez (88), Hamilton (75), Phillips (75), and Barnhart (68). They can not carry that forward and expect to be successful. There are a few caveats in play here. Suarez is posting a .712 OPS which is near league average. He’s doing that with a .268 BABIP which is the lowest of any Red with at least 100 PA and well below league average. His May was dreadful but otherwise he’s been at or above average for most of his young career. I believe he’ll rebound and be at or above average by the end of the year. The other caveat is that Barnhart was never expected to be the full-time catcher. If Mesoraco was here and healthy, taking the majority of the PA at catcher, I think we’d see 6 of the starting 8 at or above league average. Of course we don’t know if we’ll every see 2014 Mesoraco again, unfortunately.

        That leaves Phillips and Hamilton from the currently constructed squad. And, if Hamilton only batted RH exclusively I think we’d seen better numbers across the board from him to where his bat wouldn’t be the liability it has been in the offense.

        Of course, losing Cozart and Bruce will hurt next year. But we should add Winker to that group to make up for one of the bats. I don’t know if Peraza will offer better or similar offensive numbers than Phillips. There are certainly holes to fill and as of now I don’t have any clue as to who will fill them. Ervin has put up good OBP/OPS numbers in AA while playing a good amount of games in CF. Schebler has rebounded nicely since being sent to AAA. But beyond that it’s slim pickings as far as offense unless we believe Aquino has turned the corner in Adv.-A (I personally hold out hope he has). Hopefully Senzel gets going and can move quickly, otherwise we’re going to have to hope for reinforcements from a Bruce trade or from trading some of the pitching depth.

        I don’t think all is lost, but there are big questions as to whether or not we have the bats in the pipeline.

        An ideal 2018 line up (without trade reinforcements) would look something like:
        Mesoraco, Votto, Suarez, Peraza, Duvall, Winker, Hamilton, Ervin (possibly with Blandino taking over 2B and Suarez back to 3B and Duvall in OF. Outside chance Senzel is ready sometime in 2018 as well).

        There are still tons of questions over Peraza and Hamilton’s bat, as well as Ervin transitioning to MLB, Suarez consistently improving in the field and plate, and if Duvall can keep up the power numbers if he doesn’t improve the BBs. Also, Mesoraco’s health looms large with no immediate replacement.

        Of course, if we could trade Bruce to the Giants for someone like Arroyo and slot him in at 2B/SS, and possibly trade a quality SP to the Red Sox for someone like Swihart (who’s reportedly on the trading block for a #2 type) then we could remedy some of the question marks. At this point I do expect Bruce to bring back someone who could help in the future. I also know that we can’t fit all of Bailey, Disco, Finnegan, Reed, Lamb, Stephenson, Garrett, Davis, Travieso, Mahle (not to mention Strailey, Iglesias, and Lorenzen) into the rotation. Some of those guys should be packaged to bring back a quality bat and the others transitioned into the bullpen to make that a strength.

        There are avenues to make this offense legit. But there are also a few things that need to go right, including the development of the near ready prospects we have, making the right trades this deadline/offseason, returning Mes to health, and the consistent improvement of young guys such as Duvall, Suarez, and Hamilton.

        Sorry long post.

  8. cfd3000

    Hamilton needs to start (IMHO). His glove (speed) provide real value in center, especially when flanked by Duvall and Bruce who are capable but lack range. He absolutely creates havoc when he’s on base. And the only way he gets better at the plate is if he gets at bats. Let him hit, let him learn. Even if he doesn’t improve further on offense he starts in CF on my team and hits 8th or 9th. Right now the Reds can afford to let him play. It’s possible he won’t have a starting slot when this team is contending again, but I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t. And for the record, I’m really enjoying the Duvall / Hamilton / Bruce outfield this year. A bright spot in a tough season. How long has it been since we could say that about a Reds outfield?

  9. streamer88

    I think all statisticians, including myself (a layman statistician), can fall into what I will dub ‘Round Number Cut-Off Bias.’ In this case it is the idea that BHam’s OBP doesn’t start with a 3.

    In 600 plate appearances, an OBP of .285 leads to reaching base 171 times. For .310 it is 186. Now, I’m not discounting an additional 15 chances to steal, wreak havoc, score runs, etc. I’m just saying it is 15. Not 1000. Not zero. 15. I know it’s a slippery slope – .250, .200 where do you draw the line? Stat guys typically draw the line at nice round numbers. Billy as a player is above average, barely. Until someone comes along who is better, it’s his job. Isn’t that how it should work?

    • Tom Diesman

      My round number would be .320 which about the league average OBP. Hamilton hasn’t sniffed that since 2012 in A+/AA. That’s 3 1/2 seasons and somewhere around 2000 PA where he’s shown us he can’t get on base enough to hit in the big leagues, much less lead off in the big leagues.

      Tyler Holt is better and he’s here. Holt has a minor league career OBP of .367 and in 2014/2015 in 702 PA at AAA (IL) he put up a .304/.398/.382/.779. This year as a starter (80 PA) Holt is hitting .246/.333/.290/.623. Holt is a very good CF, his UZR/150 numbers in CF (14.0 2016, 21.4 Career), if you buy into them, even suggest he’s as good or better than Billy Hamilton (13.7 2016, 19.3 Career). In 2682 minor league PA (About 5 full seasons worth of PA), Holt stole 152 bases (About 30 steals a year over 5 seasons of PA) with an 80% success rate.

      Holt is everything in a prototypical CF/leadoff hitter that the Reds have drooled over the last 10+ and couldn’t find. But can’t seem to see past Billy Hamiliton’s flashy speed and what could be if he could only get on base at least as well as league average. They need to stick Holt in CF and the leadoff spot the rest of the season and see if he can do what we would expect him to do (.260/.340/.330/.670) over a larger sample size. Quit wasting time on Billy Hamilton.

  10. Patrick Jeter

    One curious thing about Hamilton this year… his offense “seems” better, but it is still worse than 2014 (78 vs 75 wRC+). He is running career high K-rate and career low BB-rate. He is on pace to have his lowest SB total. He is on pace to have his worst defensive seasons (although still elite level).

    Not really trying to make a point… just think the juxtaposition of these things is odd.

    • DHud

      Patrick, how much does Hamilton leading off in 2014 compare to hitting 7th in 2016 play into wRC+? Not really sure what all the stat encompasses

      • Patrick Jeter

        It doesn’t take lineup position into account.

      • DHud

        So could his lower wRC+ even though he’s having a better offensive season be a product of being in a less run producing spot in the lineup? If the stat doesn’t take lineup position into account, it wouldn’t pick up on that changed variable

      • Patrick Jeter

        Well, wRC+ is pegged to a league average. That’s why from year to year you could stay at, say, .250/.290/.350 and have your wRC+ go up and down by a few points.

  11. TonyD

    I think your conclusion about what to do with Hamilton is wrong. In order to maximize his defensive value and minimize his offensive deficiencies, bat him 9th; so, he gets the fewest at-bats, but plays defense when the game matters. Pinch hit for him late in games when you need the offense (i.e. tied or down a run or two), and hope for the best to cover CF with a lesser defensive replacement for an inning or two.

    • DHud

      Exactly. You don’t “maximize” Hamilton’s defense by making him a defensive replacement; you’re doing the exact opposite and minimizing it

      Hamilton’s glove doesn’t somehow become more valuable or more concentrated by leaving it on the bench until the 7th inning. You just waste it for 6 innings every night

  12. Marcus Moore

    Consider a couple of things when evaluating billy hamilton. First off he didn’t start switch hitting until A ball. Major league switch hitters typically start sometime during their childhood. What the Reds basically have is a guy learning to switch hit at the major league level at their insistence. The year he stole 155 bases his obp. was .410. That fall the Reds “brain ” trust decided they needed to improve on that by having him hit left handed. Given the fact that the majority of his at bats are going to be from the left side as there are more right handed pitchers of course he’s going to struggle on offense! Another thing is he moved from the infield to the outfield that same fall and he’s already become a gold glove caliber centerfielder! Way too many opinions, and ideas on what he needs to do instead of just allowing him to play his game and do what his abilities allow him to do. In four years I think he’s shown an exceptional learning curve. If everyone got the hell out of the way I’d bet Billy would be as productive a leadoff hitter as there is today whether he ever laid down a drag buntor walked again.

  13. Carl Sayre

    I have noticed both sides of this disagreement are tending to cherry pick the numbers they use. The fact is he is hitting exceptionally well over 17 game span but not so much in day games after night games against LH pitchers whose first name begins with a c. I mean you can make a small portion size say whatever you would like. I just know that almost halfway through the season and he is hitting 25 or 30 points higher than his short career numbers. The fact he is striking out too much and walking too little doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies going forward but with his speed in the OF an average BA if he can get there and stay there makes him a no brainer to start even if he hits in the 8 or 9 hole. This is off point about BH but does anyone else think it is hypocritical of MLB that Pete is welcome to participate in any situation that is beneficial to MLB but they won’t reinstate him just use him to their benefit?

  14. Frog 'em

    Just wanted to add one observation to this discussion…the 2nd run the Reds scored today (27 June) in the 1st inning was very likely only possible because of Hamilton’s speed. Joey easily stole 2nd because Montero wasn’t willing to take the risk with Billy on 3rd. That’s one of the important intangibles that comes into play when you have off-the-charts speed and chaos in a player like BH. Now, it’s 2-2, instead of being down 1-2 to Arrieta. We have a chance!

  15. Old-school

    No one is debating that Billy Hamilton isn’t valuable or on the 25 man roster. The question is his role. The recent history of Drew Stubbs is enlightening. Elite defender, elite speed, and good power. Couldn’t hit righties, couldn’t hit the off speed pitch and failed as an every day player. On the contrary, leverage those skills for situational success and you have a key contributor on a 25 man roster who might win you 4-5 games a year.
    Alternatively, look at the NFL. You have every down linebackers and 3rd down backers and run stuffing backers and nickel package corners and slot corners and dime packages and slot receivers and 3rd down backs and special teams players and punt returners and kick returners……Billy Hamilton is a speed receiver who goes into the slot on occassion and plays on 3rd downs and returns kicks and punts and plays 60% of the downs and gets a reverse once a game and a play-action post once a game . A weapon to prepare for…..but not an every down player.
    He can’t play 155 games and hit 650 times. He will get hurt, break down and hit .210.

  16. REED BERGEN

    I agree he should walk more, but there is a long history of fine CFs that are not great hitters. HOWEVER, very few were lead off hitters.

  17. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Billy has been batting better lately. The big question, is it a blip, or has he finally found something? We will see.

    If it’s just a blip, then I have to agree that he’s a defensive replacement. People love to talk about his defense, which is great. But, you don’t get those balls that need the long runs he makes, you don’t get those 5-10 times a game. You would be lucky to get them 5-10 times a week.

    The key point to all of this, though, also, is, if not Hamilton, then who? Who’s plan B? If there isn’t anyone better than Hamilton, then keep Hamilton in there. But, once we have a plan B, then move Hamilton to the bench.

    It’s just like Stubbs. You can’t steal first base. There’s a time where you are simply a liability as a hitter. As of now, Hamilton isn’t as much a liability. As a matter of fact, he is getting better. His splits aren’t all that different RH and LF. But, I wouldn’t have a problem letting him do what he wants naturally.

    • Steve Mancuso

      One difference was that Stubbs hit 51 home runs in the three years he was the Reds CF and 65 other extra base hits. Hamilton is on pace for 16 home runs total in his three years. Stubbs was a much more productive hitter than Hamilton has been.