Billy Hamilton comes in at #25 on Keithy's Countdown

The Reds are slamming into the bottom of a shallow pool in the high minors right now, leading to some speculation about a possible trade for a bench bat.

They do, however, have enviable middle infield prospects below AAA. Other than Aroldis Chapman, no one has gotten remotely close to the pub that Billy Hamilton has in recent years. Keith Law's update to his pre-season rankings is a few days old, but I wanted to zoom in on two things Law mentions in his Insider piece. They reflect general speculation about B-Quix, so I don't think I'm giving away the farm.

Law speculates about Hamilton switching positions. With second base occupied well into mid-decade and third base a big question for someone with Hamilton's skillset at the plate, I wonder if the CF talk is going to slowly pick up steam as disenchantment (justified or not) with Stubbs grows. There has, after all, been a contingent that's wanted to see a Bruce-Hamilton outfield for years. (Get it?)

Also, there's reasonable doubt about whether Hamilton will hit enough to be league-average or above at any position but short. If he can't stick there, or is blocked, he'll obviously need to show more than his breath-taking speed. To cite an unfair example, the player whose SB record he's threatening (Otis Nixon's brother) flamed out in the majors.

I don't think anything Hamilton has done in the minors (.284/.347/.387), other than not play above A+, should fuel concerns that he can't hit well enough for an up-the-middle player. But he does have a less projectable skill-set and a bat that, if it doesn't stick at one of the two most premium defensive positions, could plummet in value.

I'm curious how fast he'll move - both through the organization and across the diamond - over the next calendar. Even with the uncertainty, the excitement is justified. The Reds could use a quick-climber or two on their ladder.

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