Billy Hamilton - Cincinnati Reds Prospect

Billy Hamilton Cincinnati Reds Prospect

Billy Hamilton - SS?
Born: September 9, 1990
Drafted: 2nd Rd. 2009  - Cincinnati Reds
Seen In Person: 3 Times as of 4-29-2012
Position: Shortstop
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 160

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Billy Hamilton is an electric prospect for the Cincinnati Reds who is as fast as anyone playing the game right now. Every time Billy came to bat I was hoping he would get on base because he has the green light to steal in any situation.  Currently Billy is playing for the Bakersfield Blaze - the Reds A+ affiliate in the California League. 

During game one vs. the Stockton Ports on April 23, he only got on base one time. But it was a sight to see. Via a walk, Hamilton takes his lead off 1st base. He doesn't have a traditional stance while taking his lead off a bag. He stands more upright and doesn't bend his legs very much. Often times he tries to walk into his lead and then takes off and runs. Lot's of throw overs to 1st when he gets on base. None of that works. On the 3rd or 4th pitch Hamilton takes off for 2nd base and steals it when the Ports SS drops a good throw from the catcher. With two outs, I thought Hamilton was done trying to steal. It's kind of a no-no to steal third with two outs - especially considering Hamilton can score on any hit to the outfield. But sure enough Hamilton takes off for 3rd and easily steals it this time. Wow. He has to be done now! But with the Ports 3rd baseman playing well off the bag - Hamilton makes a dash toward home. I'm yelling "Do it! Do it!" just a few feet away in the stands. Haven't seen anyone steal home in person yet - but Hamilton teased me as he applied the brakes half way to plate.
Billy Hamilton Bakersfield Blaze Reds Prospect
I went home that night and thought about if I've ever seen a player like Billy Hamilton. Gary Brown is fast, but this kid Hamilton takes aggression on the base paths to a whole new level.  To start the April 24th game Hamilton, the lead off batter, I believe got it to a 3-1 or 3-0 count. I whispered to my friend who was sitting next to me that the pitcher needs to just lay one in there because it's not like Hamilton is going to pop it over the wall or anything like that. He has minimal power in his bat. So the Ports pitcher does just that, lays one in there and Hamilton cracks one of the loudest balls hit all night off the wall the other way in left-center field. Ha ha. Shows how much I know. Kid dang near hit it out. Anyways I'm watching the flight of the ball to see if he hit it out and I look back and he's already rounding 2nd base by the time the outfielder gets to the ball. Easy triple. Blazing speed.

The next day, on the 25th, the game was rained out. :( It gave Hamilton some rest because in the final game of the series on April 26th he stole 4 bases. IN ONE GAME! Stole 2nd and then stole 3rd with two out - then scored on a wild pitch. If you walk him down here in the Cal League, its a triple. In 2011 Hamilton stole 103 bases in 135 games becoming the first minor league player in over 10 years to accomplish that feat. He still needs some fine tuning with his bat, and of course, he is a questionable defender at SS. Perhaps his best position might be CF - but 2B is also a possibility. Some of the plays he made at SS on defense during the series were awkward.  Pre-game I noticed that he was helping some of his teammates get the stretching routine down. He bounces around out there and maybe doesn't look like a natural baseball player. He had a scholarship to play NCAA football before the Reds signed him, and honestly, the guy who comes to mind to compare Hamilton to actually plays football. Hamilton reminds me of Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers. A smaller, fearless player with blazing speed. I think Hamilton made the right choice to play baseball though. He is a skinny dude, but has a knack for timing his steal attempts right. I'm hoping Hamilton plays all year for the Blaze as that will give me an opportunity to see him several more times this season.

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