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

Lee Competes In Tennessee Rust Buster Track Meet

The Lee University Track & Field teams finished their weekend with a trip to the University of Tennessee Rust Buster at Tom Black Track. The two squads combined to reach two new provisional marks and improve upon another. Adrian Martin met the provisional standard in the 200-meter dash with a fifth-place time of 24.24. The time to beat was 24.53. She also placed sixth (12.00) ... (click for more)

UTC Softball Falls To Mercer Bears 9-2

 The Chattanooga Mocs softball team couldn't tame the Mercer bats in a rubber match of a three-game series during  the opening weekend of Southern Conference play, falling to the Bears 9-2 on Sunday. With the loss, the Mocs fall to 10-22 overall and 1-2 in the SoCon. Mercer improves to 16-20, 2-1 in conference action. The Bears started the scoring in the bottom ... (click for more)

1 Person Killed In 3-Car Accident In Dalton On Saturday

There was a fatal three-vehicle crash on the South Bypass in Dalton just south of Sawgrass Drive  on Saturday  at approximately  4:30 pm . The crash happened when the driver of a black Ford Mustang traveling southbound on the bypass for some reason left its lane of travel and crossed over the center line and hit a 2004 Chevy Silverado truck head on. ... (click for more)

Car Crashes Into Motel 6 In Dalton; Driver, 17, Admits To Texting While Driving

The Dalton Police Department and Dalton Fire Department responded Saturday morning to a crash at the Motel 6 at Highway 41 and Tibbs Road. The driver of the 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix involved left the roadway and crashed into the Motel 6 building causing severe damage to one of the rooms. There were no major injuries. Investigators believe texting while driving was a contributing ... (click for more)

Slaxxon Regret - And Response

Back in the seventies my three oldest brothers had a buddy named Steve Slack. “Slack” was a star soccer player at Baylor and he grew up on Lookout Mountain, which is where I grew up. He and Jimmy, Henry and Bill went to the University of Virginia where they were roommates in an old, beat up house that was painted pink. Naturally, the place became known as the “Pink Palace” but lest ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: This Library Comes Alive

I am pretty positive that I haven’t stepped foot in a library in the last 50 years. Between the ever-widening Internet, with all of its search engines and infinite resources, I have got about as much use for a library as I would if I read a book about a transgender person. I have neither the time or inclination. Be like trying to teach a pig to sing – the pig always get bored. ... (click for more)