Hamilton Improving At Shortstop For Reds





CINCINNATI — Billy Hamilton's basestealing gets plenty of attention. That's understandable, considering he is on a collision course with Vince Coleman's all-time steals record of 145.

But Hamilton is not going to get to the big leagues on his speed alone. The other parts of his game must develop as well.

The Reds are pleased with the way his defense at shortstop and his hitting have improved.

Hamilton, a second-round pick in the 2009 draft out of Taylorsville (Miss.) High, made 39 errors in 135 games last year at low Class A Dayton. He had 29 in 107 games between high Class A Bakersfield and Double-A Pensacola.

"He's made a lot of progress," Reds field coordinator Freddie Benavides said. "We're trying to get him to be as consistent as possible."

Hamilton, 21, uses his speed to reach balls average shortstops don't go after.

"His range is outstanding," Benavides said. "He gets to a lot of balls other kids don't get to. It's just learning when to throw the ball and when not to throw it, knowing runners and stuff like that. He's made a lot of improvements . . . It's starting to come."

The Reds talked to Hamilton about the possibility of moving to the outfield. But for now, he's only playing shortstop.

Hamilton's bat has come along nicely. He hit .323/.413/.439 at Bakersfield before getting promoted to Double-A. His average his dipped at Pensacola to .267/.400/.372.

"He's done really well with that," Benavides said. "He's putting the ball in play. He's getting his steals. He's come a long ways, especially lefthanded."

RED HOTS

• Dayton righthander Robert Stephenson put on a good show with general manager Walt Jocketty in attendance during an early August win over Lansing. Stephenson, the 27th overall pick in the 2011 draft out of a California high school, tossed five scoreless innings and yielded just three hits without a walk while striking out five. Stephenson, 19, was a combined 3-0, 1.81 between Dayton and Rookie-level Billings in his professional debut.

• Billings third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean, the Reds' eighth-round pick in the 2012 draft out of Arizona, put together a 22-game hitting streak for the Mustangs. He hit .404 over the streak with eight doubles, five home runs and 28 RBIs.