Thursday afternoon news and notes Doug Gray March 6, 2014 8 Comments Late last night Mark Sheldon posted an article on Reds.com about Michael Lorenzen and Robert Stephenson bringing the heat, though it is short, Bryan Price had this to say, and I can’t disagree with him in the slightest: I think the best thing that happens sometimes in this camp is when the hard throwers give up some hits. You talk about you should be able to manage an inning or two with your fastball only if you can command it. There were times last season where Stephenson had absolute command of his fastball and he truly was nearly unhittable. If he, and Lorenzen for that matter, can command their fastball, hitters are going to be incredibly limited in what they will be able to do against them. Baseball Prospectus continued their Best Tools series yesterday and Ismael Guillon got an honorable mention in the Best Change Up category. Guillon has had the best change up in the system for quite a while and it truly is a plus pitch. Ben Lindbergh has an article up on Billy Hamilton entitled “Billy Hamilton Is the Hero We Need“. The article has a whole lot to say, but I thought the last paragraph summed it all up nicely. Hamilton’s style is like something out of the past. His speed is like something from the future. And by combining the two, he’s become one of the best parts of the present. One way or another, the magic will wear off. If Hamilton becomes a star, he’ll lose that new base stealer smell. If he flops, we’ll forget him. For now, though, we’ll be watching, and wondering which it will be. The Reds have a lot riding on the bat, not the legs of Billy Hamilton. The legs are beyond elite, but his bat is what will allow him to use them enough to make the difference. Hopefully as the final paragraph states, he can become a star and lose that new base stealer smell. As a side note, I have begun writing about the big league club at Blog Red Machine. While there may occasionally be an article about a minor leaguer on there, it will almost all be about my thoughts on the big league club or their players. Go give it a look. Today I wrote about Devin Mesoraco and how he could be the key to the Reds offense in 2014. Another side note: I have officially sold out of the 2014 Prospect Guide. Looking at past sales data I simply haven’t sold enough copies from this point forward to justify spending hundreds of dollars to print another batch of them (I did that two years ago and still have a bunch that are unsold) and ordering smaller quantities don’t justify the price. If you were looking to order an actual copy of the book, I am sorry about that. But, I have lowered the price of the PDF version of the book if anyone is still interested in picking up a copy that way. 8 Responses Alan Horn March 6, 2014 Not commanding their fastball is what causes the 20 zillion flamethrowers to not make it. That is the disease(along with injury) that holds back or ends the career of most pitchers. On Hamilton, he just needs to get the bat on the ball consistently, keep the ball on the ground, bunt well and take his walks. Making consistent contact and bunting at the major league level are easier said than done. Stock March 6, 2014 I think Billy Hamilton may be in a class all by himself. For most speed players (Bourn, Everth Cabrera, Revere, Vince Coleman …) the bat make the legs valuable. If they can’t hit, they lose their value. With Hamilton his legs may just very well make his bat valuable. We will see if all the work on bunting this winter paid off but early returns are yes. Doug Gray March 6, 2014 I just don’t buy it. Hamilton is incredibly fast. But he simply isn’t that much faster than the other super fast guys that he breaks how things work. Stock March 6, 2014 Well if he continues to bunt as effectively as he has thus far this spring his legs will indeed create his bat. I can’t wait to see a game and see how close infielders need to play. Is Pete Rose vs. Mickey Rivers too close? Will it be a must to play that close? it will be very interesting. If he forces everyone to play unreasonably close in fear of a bunt then it becomes real easy to hit it past the drawn in infield. Another factor is will shortstops be forced to play a step or two in to make sure they get him at first. If so it is like hitting against a drawn in infield every at bat Another example of his legs making his bat. Doug Gray March 6, 2014 HE hit .511 on bunts last year and bunted over 60 times. AAA defenses had no issues getting him out. He must hit. herbie March 7, 2014 The Reds had the “best” bunter ever. It didn’t help to keep him employed. MK March 7, 2014 You know you might say he is not that much faster than others but I have seen him do things with his speed, on a baseball field, offensively and defensively, that I have not seen from with others. The only one close was Deion Sanders. And maybe it is just not the speed, but the abandon with which he uses it. To Stocks point his bunt will be a tool but the speed will make his offense better by the pressure it puts on the defense so in that way his speed might make the bat valuable. His speed will also help the bat of the guys around him. I think, if all stay healthy Brandon Phillips will have a monster year. Think of the fastballs he will get batting between Hamilton and Votto. I am a Billy believer and if the Reds are not successful wit will not be because of him. Alan Horn March 6, 2014 The key will be consistent contact with both hitting and bunting. Execution will be key with the bunting. If he can do that, he should be fine. He can’t use the legs(other than walking) minus the contact.