Monday, January 20, 2014

Billy Hamilton dubbed 'linchpin' of Reds by Buster Olney

Quite honestly, this has been an extremely yawn-worthy offseason for the Cincinnati Reds. But one thing that Reds faithful have to look forward to in 2014 is watching Billy Hamilton cut his teeth in the major leagues.

The switch-hitting, fleet-footed, Mississippi native was responsible for turning many heads last September, as he enjoyed his first cup of coffee in the big show. Hamilton served as a catalyst for his team, a speedster on the basepaths, and a menace to opposing National League catchers. At just 23-years-old, Cincinnati's top prospect has some big shoes to fill, as the club is relying on Hamilton to plug the gap left behind in center field and at leadoff by the departed Shin-Soo Choo.

So, I guess you could say that Hamilton is the "X-Factor" to the Reds' ultimate success or failure this season. If this is indeed the case, and I think you would find a good portion of fans who believe it to be true, then Buster Olney's recent column, where the ESPN writer gives his "linchpin" for all 30 teams, makes total sense.

Here is a look at what Olney said about Hamilton:

Cincinnati Reds: Billy Hamilton. In a perfect world, Hamilton would be eased into the big leagues, placed at the bottom of the lineup and forgotten at the outset of his major league development. But this is a team built amid high expectations, and in the aftermath of the departure of Shin-Soo Choo, there are sabermetric models that suggest Cincinnati will take a significant step back this season. The Reds need Hamilton, with his unique skill set, to be a really effective player right away. 

It's no secret that Hamilton will shoulder tremendous pressure this year. Replacing the production that Choo recorded in 2013 will be virtually impossible for anyone to do. However, Hamilton will provide an undeniable upgrade in the outfield over Choo because of his blazing speed. But the jury is still out on whether or not the Reds can lean on Hamilton to be their everyday man at the top of the batting order. This is why some continue to hope the Reds bring in some insurance just in case Hamilton struggles.

Grady Sizemore, anyone?

Photo Credit: Baseball America

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sabermetrics were SPOT ON. Man, did they stink!