A Wrap of Billy Hamilton’s Chat: His Connection to Willie Mays Hayes and Whether He Can Beat Rickey Henderson in A Race
Billy Hamilton — the fastest man in the Minor Leagues, the all-time stolen-base leader in the Minors, and the No. 1 prospect in the Reds’ system — took over the @MLBFutures Twitter account Thursday afternoon to answer questions from fellow Tweeters. I asked him about what jersey number he’ll wear in Cincinnati, and a dozen others had their queries answered, too. Below is the transcript, spelling and grammar gone uncorrected. Hamilton’s words are in bullet points; mine are in italics.
- On his goals for 2013: “my goal is to be better than I was last year then I’ll be fine”
- On the coolest part of being a pro ballplayer: “just getting to meet people u grew up watching and to be around the best people”
- On which side of the plate he’s more comfortable hitting from: “I actually feel really good from both sides”
Hamilton was strictly a right-handed hitter in high school before taking up switch-hitting in his first year as a pro. His splits in 2012 are as follows. At Double-A Pensacola: .306 versus lefties, .278 versus righties. At Class A Advanced Bakersfield: .320 versus lefties, .325 versus righties.
- On who would win a Hamilton-Rickey Henderson-Superman three-way race: “I would have to go with myself on that one”
I have a feeling Rickey would disagree.
- On if he is related to Angels slugger Josh Hamilton: “maybe on down the line lol jus kidding”
- On if he’d rather homer or triple and steal home in his first MLB at-bat: “I’ll say triple and steal home”
- On a past/present base-stealer he admires: “Delino deshields was great and he’s teaching me to be great”
When I interviewed Hamilton, he had this to say about DeShields, his former Minor League manager: “He taught me that it’s about confidence. He said, ‘Most guys get thrown out a few times and then don’t try to run for a long time. You have to have your confidence.’ If I get thrown out, I say, ‘Next time, I’m going again.’ You can’t be scared.”
- On what jersey number he hopes to wear in the Majors: “00 like Willie mays Hayes off of the movie major league”
I don’t believe this (video below) has ever happened to Hamilton, who has mainly worn “4” and “12” in the Minors.
- On his secret, non-baseball talent: “I’m a pretty good golfer”
- On whether he is feeling the effects of crashing into the outfield well in the AFL title game last month: “no effects after the crash I’m feeling great!!!”
- On whether he prefers Gold Star or Skyline chili in Cincinnati: “I guess Im gonna go with skyline since my buddy take me there every time I’m in Cincy”
- On which ballplayer he idolized growing up: “Rafael Furcal was my favorite player I was a big braves fan growing up”
Hamilton is listed at 6’1”, 190 pounds — Furcal at 5’8”, 190.
- On how his transition from shortstop to center field is going: “Cf is coming along pretty good I have a lot to learn but I’m getting it”
Hamilton was drafted as an infielder in 2009. He committed 39 errors at shortstop in 2011, and 31 at shortstop in 2012. … You know who else played center field, right?