Originally Posted by Superdude
I think that's the whole point. If pitchers make him earn his way on, Hamilton hasn't yet displayed the kind of contact ability to hold up a decent OBP on batting average alone.
I guess I am talking in a general sense.
Think about Anderson Machado (painful memory, I know). He had a high BB rate in the minors, but it dropped off in the majors because he could not hit ML pitching.
I have no numbers to back this up, but here's my theory on walks.
Some situations, the pitcher doesn't mind walking the batter.. (like walking Hannigan with men in scoring position with pitcher on deck, walking Dunn when he's the go ahead runner and EdE is on deck)... However, most pitchers try to minimize walks... So if a hitter has a good batting eye and can competently handle ML pitching, he will get his share of walks.
Now, I don't know if Billy will be able to handle ML pitching for sure, but I'm optimistic. I don't think a pitcher will want to walk him under any circumstances due to his speed, but I think he will get his share of unintentional walks (like most hitters). His minor league numbers seems to indicate that he takes a lot of pitches and shows patience. That's promising.
If Billy has a hole in his swing that ML pitchers can exploit, then his batting eye won't make a difference.. ML pitchers will exploit that, and he won't get many walks.
So in other words, I don't think Billy's lack of power will hurt his OBP at all.
Naturally, he'll walk less than Votto, but there's no reason that he can't walk at the rate of an average ML player (or perhaps slightly better). So, I guess I am partially agreeing with you and Doug.. He's not going to be elite at drawing walks, but he should be fine.