Billy Hamilton Proves Reds Must Include Him on Postseason Roster

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent ISeptember 19, 2013

Sep 18, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Cincinnati Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton (6) slides safely into second base during the ninth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Billy Hamilton is turning heads in Cincinnati faster than it takes the Reds speedster to cover 90 feet. And while there has been doubt about whether or not he belongs on the postseason roster, on Wednesday, he proved his case. 

After being used almost exclusively as a pinch runner since his September call-up, Hamilton made his first major league start on Wednesday against the Astros

Entering the game, Hamilton had just three at-bats for the Reds, and he had yet to pick up a hit. He not only got his first hit in the big leagues on Wednesday, he got his first three hits. 

Hamilton went 3-for-4 with one of those hits going for two bases. He also picked up two walks and scored two runs. 

And in Hamilton's case, a walk is not as good as a hit; it's as good as a double. Hamilton swiped four bases in that game.

It didn't even matter when the Astros attempted to pitchout. Hamilton is going to run, and he's going to make it. Then he's going to return to his small apartment and nail his base-stealing gloves over a brightly painted wall mural Willie Mays Hayes style. 

Hamilton is now 9-for-9 in stolen bases, and he is top 40 in the National League in stolen bases.

Still, it is no guarantee he will make the postseason roster. Typically, a pinch runner is not going to bring enough value to a team to even warrant consideration for a roster spot.

However, Hamilton's prodigious ability is a different case.

Just take a look at the game against the Astros. With the game tied, Hamilton led off the 13th inning with a walk.

He swiped second, waltzed to third on a passed ball and then scored the go-ahead run. 

Don't try and tell yourself that the wild pitch was a coincidence, either. Hamilton is going to invade a pitcher's head anytime he is on the basepaths—especially in a close game. Pitchers will have to keep a close eye on his lead and accelerate their slide step as much as possible. 

In the late innings of a close game, having the ability to put Hamilton in to make these kinds of things happen can be the difference between a win and a loss. 

Of course, as a pinch runner, Hamilton is almost completely dependent on his teammates. However, as he showed Tuesday night, he is not helpless at the plate. He acquitted himself nicely, and proved that if called upon, he can offer up a quality at-bat. 

This is worth more to the Reds than an extra arm in the bullpen or another pinch-hitting option.

Hamilton has to be on Dusty Baker's postseason roster, and when he is, he has a chance to steal the show.