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Monday, February 24, 2014
Over/under: Billy Hamilton's stolen bases

By David Schoenfield

Jerry Crasnick has a story up on Reds speedster Billy Hamilton. That's how you have to say: Reds speedster Billy Hamilton. You can't just say Billy Hamilton.

Anyway, how many steals Hamilton swipes is largely predicated on how often he'll get on base. He hit .254 and posted a .308 on-base percentage in Triple-A in 2013 in 123 games, stealing 75 bases in the process (he was caught 15 times, so he's as untouchable on the bases as you may believe). He added 13 steals in the majors, giving him 88 for the year.

"Billy's stronger than you think," Reds hitting coach Don Long told Jerry. "He has the ability to hit the ball hard on a line. If he mis-hits it and gets a little bit on top of the ball, it will be on the ground but it won't be a rollover ground ball."

Still, many are skeptical of Hamilton's ability to hit in the majors. He'll have to hit his way out of a job as the only other viable center fielder the Reds have is backup Chris Heisey, who is more a backup than everyday player. The projection systems predict Hamilton hits just enough to keep the starting job and have him stealing 64 to 68 bases. I'll put the over/under right there at 66.5.