Keith Law Gushes over Reds' Top Prospect Billy Hamilton

Jux BergSenior Analyst INovember 7, 2012

PENSACOLA, FL - AUGUST 21:  Billy Hamilton #4 of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos relaxes in the locker room before his game with the Montgomery Biscuits at Community Maritime Park Stadium on August 21, 2012 in Pensacola,  Florida. Billy Hamilton has 144 stolen bases this season and is set to break the minor league record of 145 stolen bases currently held by Vince Coleman of Macon Redbird's 1983 team.  (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
Michael Chang/Getty Images

Keith Law was the guest on ESPN's Baseball Today podcast with Eric Karabell, and he had a lot of good things to say about Billy Hamilton.

Law, a graduate of Harvard and a former assistant GM with the Toronto Blue Jays, is one of the most highly regarded judges of prospect talent among baseball writers.

Karabell asked about the 20-80 scale used for scouting, wondering whether Hamilton's speed should be a number higher than 80.

"He might be the fastest ever," Law began. "It's literally game changing speed—not as a cliche, but he actually does alter the game. Just the fact that he's on base alters what's going on...and it's not just the speed on the bases. He's got good instincts."  

Karabell then asked Law about Hamilton's adjustment to the center field position.

"He's gonna get there," Law replied. "The speed combined with the instincts does give me some confidence that he's gonna get there. He's shown arm strength—surprising arm strength."

As for Hamilton at the plate:

"He's gotten stronger, but he's not strong. He's never going to be a power hitter—he doesn't have to be—he just has to not be overpowered by pitchers throwing velocity in on his hands."

His final thoughts: "Above average in center field, 80 speed that really plays in ways that alter the complexion of the game anytime he's on base...he doesn't have to do a ton at the plate to turn into an everyday player."

Overall, Law is very, very high on Billy Hamilton. He feels that the speedster should be the Opening Day center fielder for the Reds in 2014.