This week’s respondents are Jason Linden, Wes Jenkins, Bill Lack, Grant Freking, and Chad Dotson.
Our Daily Reds Obsession: What’s the best-case scenario for Billy Hamilton? Worst-case?
Jason: I hate to say this, but the best case is that he gets traded. I don’t think he’s showing us much new at this point, and that’s too bad. If he’s with the Reds, the best case is probably his 2016 but with something closer to a full season of playing time. If he can get on base at an average rate, his speed makes him worthwhile. Also, I’m still not certain we value him correctly. He’s so much more likely to score once he gets on than the average base runner that I feel like he can still contribute with a lower OBP. I think, in some ways, he’s so extreme he breaks the system. Anyway, best case is a 3-4 WAR player with great defense. Worst case is he stops hitting entirely and loses half a step in the outfield taking him from fabulous to merely great and making him best suited to a pinch-runner, defensive replacement role.
Wes: The best-case scenario for Billy Hamilton is he gets traded to the Cubs and platoons his way to a World Series ring, but I’m thinking this question is meant more in the Reds context. Best-case: Billy bats .260 and gets on base a touch over .300. He steals 75 bases and scores 100 runs batting in front of MVP Joey Votto and Rookie of the Year Nick Senzel.
Worst-case: Billy bats .220 from the leadoff spot, scraping to a .250 OBP. He steals bases when he can, which is rare, and struggles to cross the 40 stolen base threshold. His vacuum suck at the top of the lineup costs Joey Votto another MVP award and Nick Senzel the Rookie of the Year.
Bill: Best-case for Billy is that he finally learns the strike zone and how to hit. The probability of that happening is about nil. I’m convinced Billy is what he is (and what many of us have said he was since he first came up), a really fast athlete who excels at speed and defense and will never hit enough to really be valuable offensively. The problem is, I don’t think this team is good enough offensively to carry someone that is this bad no matter how good they are defensively. I also am not convinced that the Reds front office will ever agree with this sentiment.
The worst-case? The Reds front office continues to believe that he’ll “get it” and invests a large amount of money in him to buy out arbitration and free agency years, while he continues to struggle offensively and the manager continues to hit him at the top of the lineup.
Grant: Best case: In need of a fresh start, Hamilton is traded to the Mariners, Rockies or another club with a big outfield so the speedster’s defensive prowess can be fully realized. Hamilton is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to garner $5M in arbitration this season, so the Reds use the salary savings to pay other arbitration-eligible players like Eugenio Suarez, Michael Lorenzen, and Anthony DeSclafani, among others.
Worst case: Hamilton stays, and a stubborn Bryan Price continues to bat Hamilton in the leadoff spot on an everyday basis, further cratering the 27-year-old’s confidence. Now entering his fifth (yes, really) season as a regular, Hamilton could become a prime scapegoat if the Reds’ fortunes take a downturn to a fourth straight 90-loss season.
Chad: Best-case scenario for Billy Hamilton: he’ll be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2035.
Worst-case scenario: Billy will be the National League MVP in 2018.
Blame Chad for creating this mess.
Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.
You can email Chad at firstname.lastname@example.org.