Tom Nichols continues his interesting preview of the prospective 2011 Dayton Dragons roster; today he’s covering the SS position:
Tom starts the article out with a history of Billy Hamilton‘s high school athletic credentials. Read the full article to see this, it’s pretty amazing.
Then he talks about what he’ll bring to the Dragons:
The key to Billy HamiltonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s game is his blazing speed. Some have called him the fastest player in professional baseball, and others have gone so far as to say that he could be the fastest baseball player since Deion Sanders. In 2010, Hamilton led the entire Reds organization in stolen bases, a noteworthy accomplishment on its own merit without qualifying the statement by adding that HamiltonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s season with Billings did not begin until late June, after the top four clubs in the Reds farm system had already completed half their schedules. Hamilton led the system in steals with 48 despite playing in a Ã¢â‚¬Å“short-seasonÃ¢â‚¬Â league.
On six occasions, Hamilton stole at least three bases in a game. On September 6, he stole five bases in a single game. Note that the all-time Midwest League record for stolen bases in a game is six, set in 1951, and the Dragons franchise record is three. From August 2 through the end of the season, Hamilton played in 32 games and stole 29 bases while being thrown out only once. He says his goal is to double his total of 48 in 2011 when he potentially could play in twice as many games as he did in 2010.
Hamilton batted .318 with Billings in 2011 when he was named the Pioneer LeagueÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s # 1 prospect in a poll of league managers taken by Baseball America. A natural right-handed hitter, he became a switch-hitter in 2010 and hit .309 from the left side of the plate, a very encouraging sign. Hamilton spent most of his time playing second base in 2010 after playing shortstop in 2009. He will back at shortstop in 2011.
John Fay posted a remarkable story about Hamilton the other day, that was told to him by Bill Doran.
Tom also talks a little about Devin Lohman, who played SS at Billings last year (when Hamilton played 2B), but he’s slated for 2B this year and was covered in more depth in Tom’s preview of 2b.