Cincinnati Reds Have Some Decisions to Make for 2018

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 01: Joey Votto. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 01: Joey Votto. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Determine what they have in Billy Hamilton

Billy Hamilton appeared to have finally turned the corner and begun his ascension to stardom. Then, last year, he regressed once more.

There is no question that Hamilton is an exciting player when on the basepaths. His blazing speed can change the course of a game, with opposing pitchers forced to factor his ability to steal bases into their approach. Any lapses in concentration can lead to a big inning, especially if pitches are left over the plate.

The problem is, Hamilton’s greatest asset is useless if he cannot get on base. Last year, that ability took a step back, as he produced a horrid .247/.299/.335 batting line, although he stole a career best 59 bases. As he will not produce anything resembling power, he needs to draw walks and drop bunts to live up to his namesake, the original Billy Hamilton. Instead, he is more of a Vince Coleman – a player with great speed, but not much of a baseball player.

Hamilton’s lack of production is going to force the Reds hand. He is certainly an intriguing talent, but at 27 years old, can he get any better than what he is? If not, he is really a glorified fourth outfielder/pinch runner. That likely ceiling would make him a tremendous disappointment, based on his impressive stolen base totals in the minors.

The Cincinnati Reds need more from Billy Hamilton than what they have received. The problem is, this may be as good as he gets.