Cincinnati Reds Prospect Billy Hamilton: Square Peg in Round Hole Syndrome?

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Cincinnati Reds Prospect Billy Hamilton: Square Peg in Round Hole Syndrome?
Billy Hamilton of the Bakersfield Blaze. (Photo: Ricky Bassman)

Geez, be stuck in court for two days as an expert witness, and you miss all the B/R excitement. I don't know where to begin.

Close friend and former featured columnist Illya Harrell wrote a piece about the emergence of Billy Hamilton as a bona fide top prospect that has rocked the Reds community here.

In his article Harrell doesn't necessarily condone a trade of the highly regarded speedster, merely providing fuel for thought.

He described how the Reds currently have a true Rookie of the Year prospect in Zack Cozart, and therefore Hamilton is blocked as a shortstop. Should the Reds see what size fish could be caught if they threw Hamilton in the creek as bait?

It was particularly interesting to see that most fans and writers here see the answer to the problem as moving the youngster to various positions to accommodate his base-stealing ability.

Arguing as to the validity of Hamilton's offensive prowess, some fans seek to move Cozart to third base, thus allowing Hamilton to play shortstop.

Some claim he should be converted to an outfielder. Did all the love for Drew Stubbs suddenly evaporate?

This debate has all the earmarks of the burning question, "What do we do with Yonder Alonso?"

John Grieshop/Getty Images
Drew Stubbs

 

 

The result of that question was answered when the Reds sent the top prospect to the San Diego Padres bundled with Yasmani Grandal, Brad Boxberger and Opening Day starter Edinson Volquez for Mat Latos.

I won't go into details as to what Latos has done or the fact that Volquez' ERA is below 3.00.

The point to be made is that nobody is sacred to an organization, Joey Votto excepted.

A player may be worth his weight in gold on offense, but if there is no square hole to insert the square peg into, a round hole is not the answer.

Hamilton lacks the power to play either a corner infield or outfield position. Left field and third base are the burning futuristic questions for the faithful of the Queen City.

Many have complained that Chris Heisey has yet to have his time card punched regularly enough to be discarded from the LF slot.

Others are still hopeful that Ryan Ludwick will turn the clock back four years and demonstrate what an asset he can be.

Cozart has never played third base on any professional level. The fact that he is an excellent athlete does not preclude the fact that he may not be able to adjust to it.

Some have made the transition from shortstop to center field successfully. Hall of Famer Robin Yount comes to mind first.

But before grooming the youngster Hamilton for center field, you should be certain that Stubbs is not what you thought he was when he was your first-round draft choice in 2006.

Is Hamilton faster than Stubbs? Have they been clocked together? Stubbs has very good range, and many think he is an excellent defensive player. He can also hit for power and was third in the NL with 40 stolen bases in 2011.

That being said, "What do we do with Billy Hamilton?"

Square peg for a round hole, anyone?

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