It's that time of year again. Major League Baseball rosters are about to expand now that September has arrived, and that means we'll begin hearing more and more questions about which of the game's best prospects will get the call up.
Fortunately for us, the the Cincinnati Reds didn't waste any time answering their biggest question over the weekend, announcing that outfield prospect Billy Hamilton — rated No. #20 by Baseball America coming into the season — will be among their call ups, likely on Monday when the team returns home to face the St. Louis Cardinals.
According the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay, Hamilton's role is expected to be limited, which makes perfect sense for the Reds as they currently stand. The pieces are already in place offensively, so there's no room for him in their lineup. But Hamilton's biggest asset — his blinding speed — will certainly be of use to manager Dusty Baker late in games as Cincinnati looks to steal a run. As we know, when the season gets late and the games tighten, any little advantage you can create for yourself can is a big plus.
In five minor league seasons, Hamilton has swiped a ridiculous 395 bases in 479 attempts. That includes a 2012 season in which he stole 155 bases in 192 attempts. This season he‘s been successful on 75 of 90 attempts, and one can only imagine how much higher those numbers would be if he was producing better than a .256 batting average and .308 on-base percentage.
As a team, the Reds only have stolen 41 bases coming into play on Sunday. They've been caught 31 times. In other words, Hamilton brings a whole new dimension to their offense, and he does it without even having to grab a bat. Down the road, yes, they'll need that part of his to become more consistent. But for now, it's run, run, run, and then run a little more.