Originally Posted by Superdude
I think we can all agree on that. My point is that if Hamilton develops as we hope, he's filling two roles offensively: getting on base at a solid clip and subsequently stealing an impossibly high number of the bases in front of him. He profiles perfectly as a leadoff hitter, but it's also presumably somewhat limiting to the value he can provide on the bases by running in front of a potent middle of the order. Would it be worth using a slightly less ideal leadoff hitter like Phillips and letting Hamilton have the constant green light in the 7th spot to set up easy RBI opportunities for guys like Cozart?
To me, no. If the argument for having OBP at the top of the order is to maximize RBI opportunities for the middle of the order, it seems counter-productive to take the guy who's going to set up the most easy RBI opportunities and put him behind the RBI guys.
I will agree that Cozart will see more relative good from a stolen-base king hitting in front of him than Votto would, but I'm not convinced that in absolute terms it translates to more runs for the Reds. Remember that even for a terrific hitter like Votto, nearly 90% of his plate appearances don't end in extra-base hits. It would be nice to see somebody crossing the plate on his two-out professional-hitter-at-work liners to left, too, not just on the rockets flying over the fence.
I also agree that Hamilton needs to have a leadoff-worthy OBP, not just the speed. That's why I'm okay with the Reds taking their time here. He's not a finished product yet and I'd like him to keep building on his success and come to the majors when he's good and ready.