By Conrad Clowers
Cincinnati Herald Contributor
You may as well sit down and just relax. The Reds are around a quarter of the way through what will likely be their worst season in history (barring a miracle). The team currently stands at 8-27. They are 13 games out of first place. Cincinnati shares the worst record in the entire major leagues with the Chicago White Sox 9-23 and the Baltimore Orioles 8-26.
There have been very few standouts in this season. One person everyone had hopes for in a breakout season is Billy Hamilton. Hamilton got his first taste of the big leagues back in 2013. He took the major leagues by storm with his blinding speed, ability to steal bases, and ability to run down balls in center field. Offensively the Mississippi native had some challenges. The team felt the speedster would only improve.
Hamilton is now in his fifth year in the major leagues. His career batting average is .258. His ability to reach base has gotten so bad former manager Bryan Price and interim manager Jim Riggleman frequently bat Hamilton ninth in the lineup.
This season Hamilton is not ‘thee’ problem for the Reds. The team has too many issues for just one person to be called out. The fact Cincinnati was so high on one of the best defensive players in the game and it is not working out is very disappointing. This year Hamilton is hitting .206 with just 2 home runs and 10 RBI’s. He has been in a platoon situation with several other rotating outfielders.
In January of this year Hamilton signed a 1-year contract through the 2018 season to avoid arbitration. Although anything is possible it’s very likely the team will give up on Hamilton at the end of this season if he does even make it through the 2018 year.
Hamilton has been a fan favorite. When coming into the league, Hamilton started out as a pinch runner. His speed and ability to get around the bases made all pitchers nervous. In the minor leagues Hamilton stole more than 100 bases twice. He was the minor league player of the year in 2011 and 2012. Since coming to the majors he has been a work in progress that simply has not progressed. The team had high hopes for the center fielder to be the Reds leadoff man for years to come. His career on base percentage of .298 will not work in the leadoff sport. Maybe a change of scenery would be good for a still young Hamilton who showed so much promise while in the minors. It’s just a shame that promise didn’t come in a Reds uniform.