Billy Hamilton might still return to the Reds lineup before the season ends, but even if he doesn’t, 2016 has been a productive and important one for the speedy center fielder.
Hamilton entered this season facing big questions about whether or not he would ever realize the potential that made him one of the team’s top prospects.
After a promising rookie season in 2014, he saw his numbers decline nearly across the board in 2015, when he batted just .226 with an OPS of .563. (A notable exception would be stolen bases as he tallied one more in ’15 than ’14 despite playing 38 fewer games.)
If he doesn’t play another game this season, the Mississippi native will have raised his batting average 34 points to .260 and his on-base percentage 47 points to .321. He also showed more pop, clubbing 19 doubles (compared to eight last season) and raising his slugging percentage more than 50 points to .343.
It all adds up to an OPS of .664, 101 points higher than last season and 18 points better than his solid rookie campaign of 2014.
This all while continuing to use his amazing speed to play a stellar center field.
Just where Hamilton’s ceiling is remains to be seen, but his progress in 2016 indicates the team shouldn’t have to think too hard about what to do with him when he becomes eligible for arbitration after next season.
He has at least proven to be a solid everyday player with the potential to keep improving.