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Billy Hamilton: Part-time player in 2016?

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Could Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton become a part time player in 2016? I think there is a chance. Heres is my reasoning.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton has tons of speed. 80 grade speed. He's a plus defender in center field as well. He is coming off a 2015 season where he hit .226-.274-.289 with 4 home runs, 56 runs scored, 28 RBI and 57 stolen bases in 65 attempts. He raised his stolen base success rate from 71% in 2014 to 88% last season, so he showed he can read pitcher's much better last season.

But, he still has a big problem getting on base. And that might be his ultimate downfall, in my opinion. While many in the fantasy industry still adore him, I am beginning to think he could lose playing time as soon as this season.

Here is a look at his career stats in the big leagues, along with projections from Steamer and the Fans, all courtesy of Fangraphs:

Season

Team

G

PA

HR

R

RBI

SB

BB%

K%

ISO

BABIP

AVG

OBP

SLG

2013

Reds

13

22

0

9

1

13

9.10%

18.20%

0.105

0.467

0.368

0.429

0.474

2014

Reds

152

611

6

72

48

56

5.60%

19.10%

0.105

0.304

0.250

0.292

0.355

2015

Reds

114

454

4

56

28

57

6.20%

16.50%

0.063

0.264

0.226

0.274

0.289

2016

Steamer

128

568

7

62

43

59

6.60%

17.30%

0.097

0.293

0.250

0.301

0.347

2016

Fans (17)

139

604

3

35

40

59

7.00%

16.40%

0.073

0.298

0.251

0.303

0.324

Total

- - -

279

1087

10

137

77

126

5.90%

18.00%

0.088

0.290

0.242

0.287

0.330

In his two full seasons with the Reds, he still cannot get on base at 30% clip. He also hits for zero power, as you can see from is .105 and 0.063 isolated power in 2014-2015. He doesn't strike out much, but could stand to take a few more pitches. For a player with 80 grade speed, he doesn't hit the ball on the ground nearly enough, as his ground ball rate has never exceeded 42%. For comparison purposes, speedsters Dee Gordon and Ben Revere, both big speed, little power hitters, both hit ground balls at a 60%+ rate, utilizing their speed more often than Hamilton.

Here is Reds beat writer John Fay, via Twitter, responding to a Reds fans question last weekend:

John Fay: I think so. Needs to get his OBP to at least .300

reds fan @varedsfan@johnfayman is this the quote unquote make or break yr for billy Hamilton as a starter?

I have been saying the same thing all offseason, and I think he is being over valued by the fantasy community. I ranked him as my 67th ranked outfielder in our consensus Top 100 Outfielder Rankings yesterday, yet his ADP according to NFBC 15 team leagues currently sits at 73.44, and is the 22nd ranked outfielder, and is coming off draft boards in the late fifth round presently.

I ranked him so low due to the fact that although he should steal 50 bases this season, assuming he gets regular playing time, which I think is a risk right now. In addition, as stated previously, he has little power, and hurts you in the other four fantasy categories due to his inability to get on base.

Recent reports also indicate that Hamilton is slow to recover from his offseason shoulder surgery. I recall it taking then Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp half a season to get back to 100% health after his offseason shoulder surgery a few seasons ago. Hamilton is not a power hitter, but he doesn't make much hard contact either. I think he will struggle to get on base even moreso than in the past if his shoulder is not 100% healthy.

Reds manager Bryan Price said last Wednesday that he still believes in Billy Hamilton can be his leadoff man. I think  he is saying the right things here, but that may change if Hamilton continues to get on base at a sub-30% rate.

It was reported recently that manager Bryan Price plans to use recently acquisition Jose Peraza all over the field this season, a super utility man. One position that Peraza will see time is center field. He played center field in the minors last season, so the position is not a new one for Peraza. He was the main prospect the Reds received in the Todd Frazier trade, so there will be some pressure to use Peraza as much as possible in 2016, and yet another reason why Hamilton may lose playing time.

So, to summarize, a Reds beat reporter opines that 2016 could be a make or break season for Hamilton, saying he needs to get on base more. The main prospect the Reds received in the Frazier trade plays all over the field, including center field, and has speed to lead off.

Something tells me Hamilton could lose playing time in 2016.