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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Why Billy Hamilton Should Hit 9th

Ben Rubin lays out the many reasons why this makes so much sense.
I’m a Billy Hamilton believer. He’s developing patience at the plate, has shown a willingness to take walks in the minors and spring training, and will eventually either learn how to lay down a bunt, or stop trying. I expect that Billy Hamilton, the sophomore, can get on base at a league average rate.

But that’s moot right now because Billy Hamilton, the rookie, at least the April rookie, has proved to be a black hole of Patterson/Taveras/Stubbs dimensions at the top of the lineup. The Reds simply can’t afford to let him hit first right now.
In my piece on Reds lineups, I also argued for hitting Hamilton 9th.  The effect isn't huge: about 5 runs per year between Hamilton leading off and Hamilton hitting 9th.  But it might have other benefits, including some of the potential psychological benefits that Rubin mentions.  I'm not at all convinced that a leadoff hitter needs to be fast, anyway.  But the 9th spot (with the pitcher hitting 8th) is the natural spot for a weak hitter with zero power.