Hamilton Struggling For Reds In Dayton

CINCINNATI—Billy Hamilton's numbers at low Class A Dayton are not what you're looking for from one of the top prospects in your system.

Hamilton was hitting .197/.291/.270 through 152 at-bats, though he was leading the minor leagues with 37 steals in 43 attempts. He had also committed 18 errors in 39 games at shortstop.

Bill Bavasi, the Reds' vice president of scouting, player development and international operations, said there's no reason for alarm.

"Not from me," Bavasi said. "I saw him the other night. He did everything right. Two days, hitting lefthanded, he hit the ball on the nose for outs. I think he's doing everything real well. He just doesn't have the numbers right now. It's been a tough period."

Athleticism is what attracted the Reds to Hamilton.

He was a three-spot star at Taylorsville (Miss.) High, committed to play football at Mississippi State, before the Reds signed him as a second-round pick in 2009. Hamilton, 20, is a natural righthanded hitter who did not begin switch-hitting until after the Reds drafted him.
"It's essential that he keeps up with the switching and perseveres," Bavasi said. "And he will. He's a special kid. He's got a chance to be a real good defensive player, a real good offensive player. A leadoff hitter with a leadoff mentality, a leader of men. He's a special kid."

Hamilton seemed to take a big step last year. He hit .318/.383/.456 with 48 steals for Rookie-level Billings. As he's found out, the Midwest League is pretty big step up.

"When you're young, any jump is a big one," Bavasi said.


• Third baseman Eric Campbell, whom the Reds signed after a year in independent ball, was tearing it up for high Class A Bakersfield. Campbell, 25, was hitting .415/.494/.756. "I saw him on Opening Night in Bakersfield," Bavasi said. "He's one of the best looking kids out there."

• Center fielder Dave Sappelt went on the disabled list at Triple-A Louisville with a strained oblique. Sappelt, 24, was hitting .341/.417/.588 at the time of the injury with four home runs, seven doubles, a triple and nearly as many walks (10) as strikeouts (13) in 23 games.