mlb.com article saying Hamilton may be up sooner than later, and Chapman to rotation?
Welcome to Walt Jocketty's winter fun.
He has an offseason to-do list that includes re-signing Ryan Ludwick and finding a closer that would allow him to move Aroldis Chapman to the rotation.
Now comes the really interesting decision.
In the traditional view of player development, Hamilton would spend the entire 2013 season -- or most of the season -- at Triple-A. Even that would be pushing him, because he has played just 50 games above Class A.
There are two other factors playing into Jocketty's decision. One is the success that Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado had in 2012.
They were all rushed to the Major Leagues. They all succeeded, too. And they're all younger than Billy Hamilton.
Harper and Trout played 21 and 20 games, respectively, at Triple-A. Machado played 109 games at Double-A and made the jump to the Major Leagues without a stop in Triple-A.
What they all have in common is that they were fast-tracked to the Major Leagues, and they all held their own.
All of them struggled at times. But Harper and Machado helped their teams to the playoffs, and Trout will finish first or second in the American League Most Valuable Player Award balloting.
"Those guys are extremely good athletes and players," Jocketty said. "Certain guys can do it, and Billy might be one. He's a talented player with great instincts."
The Reds had very few weaknesses in 2012, but leadoff hitter was one of them.
Manager Dusty Baker used seven different players in the top spot, and Cincinnati's leadoff men were last in the Majors in batting average (.208) and on-base percentage (.254).
Just the thought of adding someone with Hamilton's dazzling skill set is enough to throw your average Reds fan into a tizzy. He has already made Cincinnati's 2013 Spring Training the most interesting in all of baseball.
Jocketty will spend this winter shopping for a leadoff hitter. But finding someone to play for only a year or two until Hamilton is ready will be a challenge.
Regardless, the Reds are going to bring Hamilton to Spring Training and get a good, long look at him. If he opens the season as Cincinnati's leadoff hitter, it should not shock anyone.
"I can't take this homerism anymore." - 10xWSChamps, August 11, 2010. A Cardinals fan having a problem with all the homerism on Redszone. Classic.
"Man do I miss the days where were didn't need a calculator and an encyclopedia of baseball metrics to enjoy a baseball game ... - MikeS21" - 8/2/12 game thread