It shouldn't come as a surprise, as manager Bryan Price told reporters the team's lineup a few weeks ago. The Reds are going with what could be their opening day lineup during their first game. They'll take on the Indians.
Hamilton should be a big part of the team's lineup this season. There are some questions about his ability to hit in the majors, but he should steal a base nearly every time he reaches. Hamilton hit .368 in 19 at-bats last season.
Price said he would likely switch Bruce and Ludwick in the lineup when a left-handed starter is on the hill.
Price also reiterated he hasn't given much thought to batting Votto second.
"It's been good," Hamilton said. "I've been working on my bunting a lot more, and me and him are doing things with my hitting that will help me out this season. When spring training comes, I will be ready.
"Bunting is more points on your average. My first year in Billings, I had maybe 20-something bunt hits and a great average [.318 in 2010]. I'm realizing now that I will have to bunt more for my average to get where I want it to be. It will be part of my game."
Hamilton is expected to be the team's new leadoff hitter and center fielder, replacing Shin-Soo Choo, who left in free agency. While the Reds don't expect Hamilton to match Choo's on-base percentage, they do need him to be productive at the top of the order.
"If he is what we think he can be, he'll be just what we need -- somebody that puts that bit of fear in every opponent," Reds manager Bryan Price said in December. "I watched Ichiro [Suzuki] do it [for the Mariners]. He was a true left-handed hitter, but the speed tool just created a sense of anxiety that was palpable on the field."
Despite being a top prospect, Hamilton still has to prove he can handle an everyday role in the majors, but new Reds manager Bryan Price knows the impact Hamilton could have because of his speed.
"I saw what Ichiro (Suzuki) did for the 2001 Seattle Mariners," Price said. "We’re not comparing the two. But the speed element -- Ichiro wasn’t going to hit a lot of home runs -- but he put a lot balls in play, beat out a lot of ground balls. Almost anything to the left side was going to be a hit unless the third baseman cut it off.
"He wreaked havoc. Pitchers had to rush to the plate. They paid a lot of attention to him. He got a lot of fastballs for guys hitting behind him. He got a lot of hitters in good counts to hit. He created a lot scoring opportunities. I understand the importance of it."
While Hamilton still wreaked havoc on the base paths last season, he struggled offensively, batting just .256 with a .308 on-base percentage for Triple-A Louisville. Success is no guarantee at the major-league level, but the Reds are hoping Hamilton makes it.
"I understand that he has to be ready to do that job," Price said. "We’re all pulling for him."
Jocketty mentioned that Hamilton will work on bunting this offseason in an attempt to improve his on-base skills. He also said the Reds were not done exploring trade options, but added "it's been pretty quiet."
Hamilton stole 13 bases in 14 attempts during a brief September trial last season.
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|10/1/2013 vs Pittsburgh|
|vs Gallardo (Career)||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
| 30 || 31 |
| 1 || 2 |
| 3 |
| 4 |
| 6 |
| 7 |
| 8 |
| 9 |
| 10 || 11 |
|More Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|
|2012||AA-Pensacola Blue Wahoo||50||175||33||50||4||5||1||15||36||43||51||16||.406||.383||.286|