Today is the last article in the series where we Look at the Future by position. The final look is at the center field position. The Reds have handed the position over to Billy Hamilton for the 2014 season and if things go as well as they hope, the next six years. While it may seem a bit similar to the State of the Farm series, the purpose here is to look at the current Reds and the contract status of the players at each position and get into potential internal replacements for when those current Reds contracts expire.
Expires after the 2014 season: No one
Billy Hamilton is going to get a long leash and is under contract for quite a while being that 2014 is his rookie year. There are some questions about how his bat will play, but the rest of his game is very well rounded so if he struggles at the plate the rest of his game could get him time to adjust. If he struggles for the full season or an injury arises, the position may open up.
Potential center fielders to come up during or after the 2014 season: Ryan LaMarre, Yorman Rodriguez and Bryson Smith.
Ryan LaMarre could be the favorite here as he is on the 40-man roster and will likely find himself in Louisville to begin the season. He is the best on the defensive side of the ball among this group and turned things on with his bat in the second half of 2013. Yorman Rodriguez is the toolsiest of the group and is also on the 40-man roster but he is also the youngest. He has the least amount of experience in the upper minor leagues with just half of a season in Double-A. Bryson Smith is a career .308 hitter in the minor leagues but is coming off of a very bad injury where he broke his leg on a play at the wall. He isn’t on the 40-man roster which could put him at a big disadvantage.
Most likely to take over: Ryan LaMarre
This is a bit of a toss up, but LaMarre being a bit closer and the better defender gets him the nod. LaMarre will need to carry forward his offensive second half though to get the call if the opportunity arises.
Wild card pick: Yorman Rodriguez
At just 21-years-old Rodriguez could put things together and really break out as a prospect. If that happens he could get the call if the team has a need.
Expires after the 2015 season: No one
Billy Hamilton will still be under contract after the 2015 season. Unless he loses his job or an injury arises there won’t be an opening.
Potential center fielders to take over after the 2015 season: Phillip Ervin and Junior Arias.
Phillip Ervin is the favorite here because of his well rounded game. His game doesn’t seem to have a weakness as he is average or better across the board. Junior Arias is among the toolsiest players in the entire system, but his plate discipline has held back his offensive tools from reaching their potential.
Most likely to take over: Phillip Ervin
While he was drafted just last year he could move quickly through the system with a well rounded toolset and advanced approach to the game.
Wild card pick: Junior Arias
If Arias could figure out his plate discipline he could put his offensive tools to use with his defensive ones.
For more from this series, click here.