Billy Hamilton has appeared in 11 Major League games as a September callup. But his play may force him into the October spotlight.
Reds manager Dusty Baker was unsure when asked whether the club's top prospect would be part of its postseason plans. Cincinnati has clinched a playoff berth and remains in the hunt for the National League Central Division crown.
"We still haven't decided," Baker told MLB.com. "There's a lot of variables here and a lot of things we have to decide. I know Billy is the topic of the day, and they're selling T-shirts up there already. It's just that, that's not the focal point of where we're going. Billy is a possible part for that."
Baker pointed out that the problem with Hamilton playing in October is two-fold.
"Who do you delete to take his place?" Baker said. "Thing is, Billy, is he ready to handle that pressure? And not only baserunning, which he can probably handle, but is he ready to start a game or is he ready to come off the bench and get some hits that you might need. There's a lot of factors here. Is he Willie McGee maybe?"
Since reaching the Major Leagues on Sept. 2, Hamilton is batting .429 (6-for-14) with 13 stolen bases and nine runs scored. The fleet-footed outfielder has been electrifying, stealing four bases in his first big league start on Wednesday, becoming the first player in the live ball era to accomplish the feat.
Hamilton batted .256 with 75 stolen bases and 75 runs scored in 123 games for Triple-A Louisville this season, a year after shattering the professional baseball record with 155 thefts.