Reds' Top Prospect Billy Hamilton Continues To Impress In AFL Rising Stars Game

Chattanooga Fans Saw Hamilton In Action Last Summer With Pensacola

Monday, November 5, 2012
Billy Hamilton (No. 4) is a running threat on any base.
Billy Hamilton (No. 4) is a running threat on any base.
- photo by Tim Evearitt

I was so impressed watching Billy Hamilton on the base paths at AT&T Field that I couldn't help talking about the guy and wondering what he'd do against higher level competition. Well, if his performance in the Arizona Fall League is any indication Major League baseball fans should get ready for the next Vince Coleman or Lou Brock. This kid has it.

When he faced the Lookouts in his first Double-A series, Hamilton was playing shortstop. Since Cincinnati already has a shortstop, he has been shifted to playing center field.

Jonathan Mayo tells the story of Hamilton's exploits at the Arizona Fall League's Rising Stars Game this past Saturday in his story on MLB.com (edited below). I've added two of my photos of Hamilton in action against our Lookouts.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Good leadoff hitters are the ones who are catalysts, who make things happen at the top of the lineup.

If the is any indication, there are two good ones speeding their way to the big leagues. Both Billy Hamilton of the Reds and Brian Goodwin of the Nationals had their skills on display as 5,713 fans came to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick to watch Goodwin's East Division team top Hamilton's West squad, 9-4, on Saturday night.

Those who had heard about Hamilton's speed, but thought perhaps it was the stuff of legend, saw just how accurate the reports were right out of the gate. Hamilton didn't hit a ball out of the infield for the East Division. But the Reds' top prospect, and No. 14 on MLB.com's Top 100, showed just what a game-changer his legs can be. The shortstop-turned-center fielder led off the game with a walk against West Division starter and Astros prospect Jarred Cosart. He promptly stole second and then took third on a delayed steal. He then walked home on Padres outfield prospect Rymer Liriano's double.

"That's my game," Hamilton said. "I like to bring fun, a little excitement. I bring a lot of energy."

He was at it again in the top of the fifth. Tommy Joseph of the Phillies led off the inning with a single, then was replaced by Braves shortstop prospect Nick Ahmed at first. Batting from the left side, Hamilton dragged a near-perfect bunt down the first-base line. Astros first baseman Jonathan Singleton rushed his throw and it sailed into right field, allowing Ahmed to come around to score and Hamilton to race to third. Rays shortstop Hak-Ju Lee singled him in to give the East a 4-3 lead.

In between those two plate appearances, Hamilton's legs made an impact in the field. With D-backs shortstop Chris Owings on first base, Goodwin crushed a ball to center field. Hamilton, at first slow to retreat, got his wheels going to make a spectacular catch at the warning track, showing that while he's still very early in his transition, that speed allows him to cover a lot of ground.

"When he hit that, I thought it was right at me," said Hamilton, who just started playing center in the Fall League. "Then it kept carrying on me. I'm still getting used to that. I think I'm going to be fine out there."

Games like this are more showcase than anything, even though the members of the winning East squad were given a prize for their victory, and it didn't disappoint on that front. There was Hamilton's speed, Goodwin's bat, all of which should give fans a glimpse of what Major League Baseball could look like in the near future. That's especially considering the success rate of this game -- 72.6 percent of past participants have made it to the big leagues -- to produce Major Leaguers.

Hamilton knew, for instance, that his general manger, Walt Jocketty, was in the stands along with scores of other scouts and front office types. He wanted to put on a show for him as much as the fans in the stands and watching on TV. Not that getting Hamilton up for a game is a difficult task, as he's closing in on 150 games played and showing no signs of tiring.

"I'm always energized," Hamilton said. "I never get tired. When I feel tired, I tell myself to get up. Teams want an everyday player and an everyday player can't be tired. My game is my game. I show no fear on the bases. It's what I do. Hopefully, I can make [the Reds'] decision difficult, or easy."

---- Source: MLB.com

Billy Hamilton
Billy Hamilton
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt

Biscuits One-Hit, Crush Chattanooga Saturday, 12-0

The Biscuits (13-9) brought their bats to work in a major way, thrashing the Chattanooga Lookouts (9-14) in a 12-0 rout on Saturday night at AT&T Field. The shutout was the Biscuits' first of the season, as starting pitcher Taylor Guerrieri (1-1) and reliever Buddy Borden combined to one-hit the hapless Lookouts after rain delayed the game's start by 22 minutes. Guerrieri ... (click for more)

UTC Softball Drops Two At UNCG

The Chattanooga Mocs softball team dropped a 9-8 back-and-forth contest and an 8-0 game to UNCG on Saturday in Greensboro, N.C. UTC is 27-24 and 6-8 in Southern Conference action. In the first game, the Spartans got on the board with one run during the first inning. With the first hit for Chattanooga, senior Sam Taylor singled through the left side in the top of the third. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Firefighter Arrested For Robbery Of Hixson Convenience Store

The Chattanooga Police Department has arrested a Chattanooga firefighter in connection with a robbery on Sunday morning. The firefighter has been identified as Steven Kyle Ratledge. Firefighter Ratledge was assigned to Station 19 in Hixson and has been with the department for approximately 3 1/2 years. Firefighter Ratledge has been placed on leave without pay as the investigation ... (click for more)

Rescuers Help Man After He Falls 30 Feet From Signal Bluff

Rescuers helped a man back up after he fell 30 feet on a Signal Mountain bluff on Saturday night. However, he was not seriously injured. At 11 p.m., a 911 call was made reporting the fall. Walden's Ridge Emergency Services responded to 1425 East Brow Road. When rescue personnel arrived on the scene, they reported a 25-year-old male had fallen 30 feet off the side of ... (click for more)

Being Proactive With Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s and is the 14th leading cause of death in the United States. It affects an estimated one million Americans and four to six million worldwide,  There is no cure for Parkinson’s, and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States alone. Source: National Parkinson’s Foundation  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden In May

Back when we were kids this day’s battle cry was, “Hooray, hooray for the First of May! Outdoor swimming starts today! With temperatures in the high 80s and we dive in to a new month, our monthly walk in a garden heavy with spring time pollen looks promising … AN ORCHID for the movie “Rocky” on its 40 th anniversary: “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t ... (click for more)