Just a layman's opinion here:
While Slidin' Billy is uber-exciting and could
help in the leadoff spot, I think this would be a bad move.
- He just switched positions. While his superior athleticism would cover/mask some of his mistakes from still having to learn the position, I would much rather him LEARN the position at a natural pace and not in the pressure cooker that will be the expectations of the Reds next season.
- While he has near Olympic world-class speed, he was able to take a ton of risks while in Single-A and Double-A on the base paths and depend on that speed to allow him to win most gambles. He still needs to hone his craft of being a base stealer and not just a 'super fast guy who can run and happens to steal a lot of bases'. I think major league catchers would eat him alive AT THIS POINT. Give him the season to really learn the little things that make a great basestealer just that.
- All those guys mentioned have legit power and pitchers couldn't just go right after them, for fear of the HR. Billy doesn't have that luxury. He needs to better learn the strike zone. Obivously, he's learning to take a BB, but his K rate is still high and doesn't have the power to offset that (and most likely never will). Allow him the time in the minors to develop that skill as well and not force it. The benefits, imo, will bear fruit, if given time to be learned w/o the pressure.
Again, I don't have the SABR background to back all of this up. Just a guy who has read and followed Billy this season, thanks to the great job of the minor league forum guys!