Lineup Notes: Can Billy Hamilton Develop Into A Threat Atop The Reds’ Lineup


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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One comment

  1. jrob23 says:

    I’d love to see him bunt every time until he could draw the infield in and then shoot grounders through the holes. If he learned to bunt really well down the 1b line he would put so much pressure on pitchers and invite injuries to them that defenses would have to bring 1b way in and 2b cover 1b. Then he could bunt to 2b. I just don’t get his approach. Even Baltimore chops would get him on base. It’s not at all surprising he hasn’t made adjustments. CIN hitting coaches must be among the worst in the majors.

    To answer the question…I doubt it. He needs to get traded to a team with better coaching. You can’t put him in 8th hole though because then he won’t see any pitches hitting in front of pitchers. So you pretty much have to lead him off. If I was the Reds he’d lead off and every time he popped the ball up or hit a lazy fly ball he’d sit the next game. He’d either rise to the occassion through coaching and hard work or he’d wash out. They have nothing to lose. Not only are they rebuilding but they are doing the worst job of it by far of the rebuilding teams. There only hope to actually over achieve would be for him to become a dynamic leadoff hitter stealing 80 bases

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