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MODEST PROPOSAL
March 26, 2012
By trading for an ace in Mat Latos, the Reds showed they're serious about getting back to the top of the NL Central. But unless they address the top of the order, the acquisition of Latos will be for naught. Drew Stubbs wasn't the solution at leadoff: He had an OBP of just .321 and struck out in 30.1% of his plate appearances last year. Brandon Phillips patches the hole and hit .350 in the leadoff role last year, but he is more of a .270 average, .320 OBP guy, and that's not enough for the job. It's radical, but the Reds should consider pushing 21-year-old shortstop prospect Billy Hamilton to the majors. Hamilton is the fastest man in the minors: He had 103 steals with an 83.7% success rate at Class A in 2011, making him the first minor or major leaguer to steal a hundred since 2001. Hamilton committed 39 errors, has almost no power and strikes out enough to make even Stubbs raise his eyebrows—but he has had a .353 OBP over the last two seasons. It's not that Hamilton's ready now, but he could be by June. Keep a close eye on his first half, because his second could come in a pennant race.
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March 26, 2012

Modest Proposal

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By trading for an ace in Mat Latos, the Reds showed they're serious about getting back to the top of the NL Central. But unless they address the top of the order, the acquisition of Latos will be for naught. Drew Stubbs wasn't the solution at leadoff: He had an OBP of just .321 and struck out in 30.1% of his plate appearances last year. Brandon Phillips patches the hole and hit .350 in the leadoff role last year, but he is more of a .270 average, .320 OBP guy, and that's not enough for the job. It's radical, but the Reds should consider pushing 21-year-old shortstop prospect Billy Hamilton to the majors. Hamilton is the fastest man in the minors: He had 103 steals with an 83.7% success rate at Class A in 2011, making him the first minor or major leaguer to steal a hundred since 2001. Hamilton committed 39 errors, has almost no power and strikes out enough to make even Stubbs raise his eyebrows—but he has had a .353 OBP over the last two seasons. It's not that Hamilton's ready now, but he could be by June. Keep a close eye on his first half, because his second could come in a pennant race.

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