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Three top prospects among cuts03/19/2013 8:16 PM ET
By Ashley Marshall / Special to MLB.com
A trio of baseball's top 25 prospects were sent to Minor League camp on Tuesday as clubs continued to trim their spring rosters ahead of Opening Day.
Cincinnati's Billy Hamilton and Detroit's Nick Castellanos -- who are both learning new outfield roles -- were cut from their respective teams, as was Texas' slugging third baseman Mike Olt.
The moves were largely predictable, as neither Hamilton nor Castellanos advanced past Double-A last year and Olt struggled in his limited at-bats with the Rangers after the All-Star break.
MLB.com's No. 11 prospect, Hamilton was one of two cuts made by the Reds on Tuesday.
Hamilton, a non-roster invitee in his first big league camp, split time between Class A Advanced Bakersfield and Double-A Pensacola last year, swiping a Minor League-best 155 bases. With an Opening Day gig with the Reds now officially off the table, it's likely Hamilton will begin the year in Triple-A Louisville.
"He hasn't been switch-hitting that long. His record here in Spring Training, he's not doing real well for a guy that has speed," Reds manager Dusty Baker told MLB.com.
"He's striking out too much. He had to come here to see where his development is, where he is, and realize he has some ways to go. If he didn't, he'd be here already."
The Reds' top prospect, who missed 11 days with a strained left hamstring, hit .174 in 12 Cactus League games, striking out nine times in 23 at-bats. He recorded two extra-base hits -- both triples -- and he stole three bases in three attempts. Hamilton, who moved from shortstop to the outfield to ease the toll on his body, also scored four runs.
Hamilton could square off with Detroit's top prospect Castellanos in the International League this year.
Ranked No. 21 on MLB.com's list, Castellanos will begin the year with Triple-A Toledo. A former third baseman, the 21-year-old will continue to see time in left field, a role he took on in the fall after spending the majority of 2012 in right field with Class A Advanced Lakeland and Double-A Erie.
Castellanos hit .360 with a homer and six RBIs in 15 spring games, but Detroit's front office always saw him as a long shot to start the year with the Tigers.
"I did well, and they told me I made a good impression," Castellanos told MLB.com. "I was realistic about it, just knowing this was an incredibly tough team to make."
Also on Tuesday, the Rangers sent Olt to Minor League camp. Texas' No. 2 prospect behind Jurickson Profar, Olt may be the closest to getting to the Majors in 2013.
While he is blocked at his natural position of third base by Nelson Cruz, MLB.com's No. 22 prospect has impressed the Rangers with his defense in right field. Craig Gentry and Jeff Baker appear to be in the front running for an Opening Day role, forcing Olt back to the Minors until a spot opens up.
"It's good in that I will get more [at-bats] and get back on track," Olt told MLB.com. "I view this as a positive. They want me here as an everyday guy, not as a bench guy. So I'll go down, get my [at-bats] and get back on track."
Olt smacked 28 Texas League homers and plated 82 runs with Double-A Frisco last year, but he hit just .152 with one extra-base hit in 16 big league games. He'll begin the season at Triple-A Round Rock.
The first-rounder, Topps Double-A All-Star and Futures Game selection last year, has slugged 52 homers since being selected by the Rangers out of the University of Connecticut with the 49th pick of the 2010 Draft.