Cincinnati Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton is an intriguing potential trade chip for the team this offseason.

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Hamilton Among the Reds Reportedly on the Trade Block

Tuesday, Nov. 29

According to ESPN Insider Buster Olney, the Reds are “listening to offers on all of their players, including—sources say—center fielder Billy Hamilton.” 

Olney added: “By the time the Reds are good again, Hamilton—who has three-plus years of service time—will be on the verge of free agency, so it makes sense for Cincinnati to explore and execute a deal, because Hamilton’s trade value may never be higher than it is right now.”

Hamilton, 26, went from simply being known as a fantastic baserunner during his career to putting together a solid all-around season in 2016, hitting .260 with three home runs, 17 RBI, 69 runs scored and 58 stolen bases in 119 games played. 

He also is an excellent fielder. As Olney noted, “Hamilton ranked seventh among all outfielders in Defensive Runs Saved” and “led all major leaguers—by far—in FanGraphs’ baserunning efficiency metric.”

Those numbers would have been even better, but Hamilton’s season was over on Sept. 4 due to injury. But it’s clear Hamilton took a step forward in 2016.

“This year has been a little taste of what I want to become,” he told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times on Sept. 3. “I don’t want to have this few weeks of going good and then go back to normal. I’m just looking forward to what’s going to come.”

One change for Hamilton was a new mentality at the plate.

“I’m thinking more this year about being a line-drive hitter, trying to hit the ball in the gap, not focusing on hitting ground balls,” he said. “A lot of these guys can hit home runs, hit the ball deep in the gap. My job is to hit it as low as I can, on a line. That’s what I figured out.”

Certainly, if Hamilton continues to improve his batting average and on-base percentage, he’ll be one of the most dangerous weapons at the leadoff spot in baseball. That should make him an attractive trade target for contending teams looking to bolster the top of their lineup. 


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