Bryan Price said he still believes in Billy Hamilton as his leadoff man, and he will get that opportunity this year #Reds
— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) February 24, 2016
On a rebuilding team it shouldn’t be a surprise, but it’s notable all the same considering his career .287 OBP over 1,087 PA and the fact that he spent more time hitting ninth (206 AB) than leadoff (187 AB) last season. There is no questioning his speed, and if he can get his OBP up to an acceptable level it wouldn’t be surprising to see him steal 100+ bases.Can he get there, though?
What’s interesting is that he has seen his O-Swing% improve each year in the Majors:
- 2013 – 32.4%
- 2014 – 30.3%
- 2015 – 28.0%
So it’s not that he’s being overly aggressive, it’s that when he does make contact he’s simply putting too many balls in the air (2015 marks):
- Line Drive Rate – 19.6%
- Groundball Rate – 42.6%
- Flyball Rate – 37.8%
He needs to adjust his approach, taking a similar stance to Ben Revere (62.8% career groundball rate) and utilizing his speed. Obviously he could also use an improvement in his walk rate (5.9% in the Majors), but that’s not a requirement to his success.
It’s a lot to ask for it to all come in one season, but this is going to be an important season in terms of his development. He should be given every opportunity to take the next step and given his upside he’s worth the gamble. While he’s not someone to pay heavily for, he still brings the potential to single-handedly win you a category and could develop into an elite option. Don’t write him off based on his past struggles.
Source – Fangraphs
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|Starting Pitchers: 1-20 | 21-40||Starting Pitchers: 1-20 | 21-40|
|Relief Pitchers||Relief Pitchers|