Cincinnati.com's John Fay on Reds second base prospect Billy Hamilton
I think the surprise on Baseball America’s list is having Billy Hamilton at No. 2. Hamilton may be the most interesting prospect in the system because of his potential to be a leadoff man.
He opened some eyes with the year he had at Billings — .318/.383/. with 48 steals in 69 games — but I would not have guessed he would have moved that far up the list.
During an online chat, J.J. Cooper, who wrote the Reds’ piece for BA, was asked about Hamilton being ahead of Devin Mesoraco. Cooper’s answer:
"Understandably that is probably the one "surprising" ranking in the Top 10. I can definitely see arguments for Mesoraco at No. 2, after all, you’re comparing a guy who slugged .600+ and made it to Triple-A versus a guy who’s yet to play full-season ball. But everyone I talked to couldn’t stop raving about Hamilton and his potential. Several scouts I talked to viewed Hamilton as having more long-term potential than Mesoraco, and said they have Hamilton ranked higher than Mesoraco. That’s not meant as a rip on Mesoraco, but there are some reasons to be concerned still with the catcher. Before his outstanding 2010, Mesoraco had struggled at the plate for most of the previous 2 1/2 seasons and he’s had a series of injury problems. And as mentioned before, there are scouts who think he still has some work to do on his receiving before he’s big league ready. Mesoraco is definitely a safer pick as the No. 2 guy in the system, but this is more of a case of Hamilton’s significant potential more than a knock on Mesoraco. I’ll be the first to say I could be wrong, but I expect Hamilton to be one of the breakout prospects of the 2011 season."
Hamilton has at least 3 years before he sees the majors, but in 283 at bats in 2010, he stole 48 bases. Um, that's alot!