This week’s respondents are Jason Linden, Wes Jenkins, Bill Lack, Grant Freking, and Chad Dotson.

Our Daily Reds Obsession: What’s the best-case scenario for Billy Hamilton? Worst-case?

Jason: I hate to say this, but the best case is that he gets traded. I don’t think he’s showing us much new at this point, and that’s too bad. If he’s with the Reds, the best case is probably his 2016 but with something closer to a full season of playing time. If he can get on base at an average rate, his speed makes him worthwhile. Also, I’m still not certain we value him correctly. He’s so much more likely to score once he gets on than the average base runner that I feel like he can still contribute with a lower OBP. I think, in some ways, he’s so extreme he breaks the system. Anyway, best case is a 3-4 WAR player with great defense. Worst case is he stops hitting entirely and loses half a step in the outfield taking him from fabulous to merely great and making him best suited to a pinch-runner, defensive replacement role.

Wes: The best-case scenario for Billy Hamilton is he gets traded to the Cubs and platoons his way to a World Series ring, but I’m thinking this question is meant more in the Reds context. Best-case: Billy bats .260 and gets on base a touch over .300. He steals 75 bases and scores 100 runs batting in front of MVP Joey Votto and Rookie of the Year Nick Senzel.

Worst-case: Billy bats .220 from the leadoff spot, scraping to a .250 OBP. He steals bases when he can, which is rare, and struggles to cross the 40 stolen base threshold. His vacuum suck at the top of the lineup costs Joey Votto another MVP award and Nick Senzel the Rookie of the Year.

Bill: Best-case for Billy is that he finally learns the strike zone and how to hit. The probability of that happening is about nil. I’m convinced Billy is what he is (and what many of us have said he was since he first came up), a really fast athlete who excels at speed and defense and will never hit enough to really be valuable offensively. The problem is, I don’t think this team is good enough offensively to carry someone that is this bad no matter how good they are defensively. I also am not convinced that the Reds front office will ever agree with this sentiment.

The worst-case? The Reds front office continues to believe that he’ll “get it” and invests a large amount of money in him to buy out arbitration and free agency years, while he continues to struggle offensively and the manager continues to hit him at the top of the lineup.

Grant: Best case: In need of a fresh start, Hamilton is traded to the Mariners, Rockies or another club with a big outfield so the speedster’s defensive prowess can be fully realized. Hamilton is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to garner $5M in arbitration this season, so the Reds use the salary savings to pay other arbitration-eligible players like Eugenio Suarez, Michael Lorenzen, and Anthony DeSclafani, among others.

Worst case: Hamilton stays, and a stubborn Bryan Price continues to bat Hamilton in the leadoff spot on an everyday basis, further cratering the 27-year-old’s confidence. Now entering his fifth (yes, really) season as a regular, Hamilton could become a prime scapegoat if the Reds’ fortunes take a downturn to a fourth straight 90-loss season.

Chad: Best-case scenario for Billy Hamilton: he’ll be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2035.

Worst-case scenario: Billy will be the National League MVP in 2018.

14 Responses

  1. TR

    + Traded to an AL club with a big outfield where the DH will make up for his lack of offense.
    – Stays with Reds and is demoted to 4th. outfielder available for his speed and late inning defense.

  2. bouwills

    The best case scenario is that Reds realize Billy’s future lies elsewhere, finds a fair trading partner,& allows both side to benefit. The worst case scenario is that the Reds continue Billy in his present position, failing as an everyday leadoff hitter, until either free agency or diminished speed renders Hamilton unmarketable. Reds end up with no more to show for Billy’s tenure with the Reds than they have to show for Cozart, BP, Jay Bruce, etc.

  3. cfd3000

    Best: .270 / .325 / .350. 110 runs, 75 stolen bases, Gold Glove
    Worst: .235 / .280 / .300. Benched at the all-star break and relegated to defensive replacement and pinch running.
    Best for the Reds: Traded to a team with a giant outfield in a multi-team deal that returns Christian Yelich or a comparable center fielder of the future.

  4. Brian Davis

    Thats the problem with trading anyone that has any talent at all,the Reds dont get anything in return. Aside from Duvall and maybe 1 or 2 other guys,the Reds havent gotten any talent in return to show for the great players they have lost like Chapman,Frazier,Cueto,i could go on and on. I understand they are a small market team and look to cut payroll but to not get guys in return that can help this team is crazy. Everyone wants to give up on Billy but at least he plays,its time to give up on Finnegan,DeSclafani and several more that are getting paid for nothing,and if they can unload that terrible Homer Bailey contract they should do it in a second,no sense in paying that much for a guy on the DL half or more of the time thats not even a .500 pitcher just on the chance that he might throw a no-hitter.

    • Bill

      Brian, I agree with you that they should try to trade Bailey, maybe to Texas or Houston. I would still like to see them at least start with a 6 man rotation with the young pitchers.

    • Spaceman Red

      You have to mention that they obtained Eugenio Suarez and Luis Castillo in what any sane analysis would call lopsided trades. No problem criticizing the Front Office but one must also give credit where it’s due.

  5. Ethan L

    Best case: 2.5 WAR or traded
    Worst case: Status quo and playing every day, leading off.

  6. Spaceman Red

    I agree that the best option will be to trade Billy. The deal this site proposed to obtain Christian Yelich would be wonderful. My concern is that he hits marginally and Price continues to place him in the upper half of the lineup. History suggests his durability is suspect so it would be a shame for him to injure himself long-term and that would mean neither the player nor the organization profit.

  7. TR

    if Hamilton is not traded, and I doubt that will happen, I don’t think we’ll see much difference in the way Price uses him. He’s a favorite of the manager and he will still be leading off because of his speed, but offensive-wise and OBP will still be a negative on the top of the order.

  8. cupofcoffee1955

    Best Case: Like many on this question, I believe the best for BH is to be traded hopefully to the AL. Maybe some hitting guru can get through to him and he becomes a more complete hitter, much better OBP. He will retain his defense and someday get that Glove Glove which he deserves.
    Worst Case: Whether with the Reds or another Team, he gets injured and the injury starts to affect his speed.
    Whether you like BH or not he has always given 100% and more. I will always remember him running the bases as well as making the most spectacular plays in CF.

  9. cupofcoffee1955

    Sorry… I meant to say Gold Glove.

  10. Still a Red

    You gotta bat Winker first. Billy ran hot and cold … bad April, June, August (low .200 avg, below .300 obp) …decent May, July, and abbreviated Sept. (.280 avg, .330-.340 obp). Why? He isn’t going to hit for power. Doesn’t need to. Bat him 8 or 9. He needs better plate discipline and to get a little more exit velocity to get balls through the infield. Can he do that? Maybe. Trade (package) him if you can for a MLB-ready SS…bring up Ervin if you do and platoon him with Schebler. Otherwise let Joey work with him some more.

  11. Jreis

    No Bill. l just think Hamilton is our spark plug and without him we a pretty boring team. People come to gabp just to see him play. He is fun to watch and makes amazing catches. Is he an idea lead off guy? No. Ideally he would be like a Cesar Geronimo for the BRM.
    But hey l will take 60 sb, and gg defense in center anyday.