Hamilton won't be asked to shoulder too much burden
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Billy Hamilton is impatient. As he describes it, he likes to "talk fast, eat fast and run fast."
"I feel like I gotta keep moving every time I'm doing something," Hamilton said.
That mindset has propelled the 23-year-old speedster from a second-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft to one of the most electrifying young players in baseball. But with his first full Major League season still on the horizon, it's fair to wonder if Hamilton's ascension perhaps moves too fast at times, expecting so much so early in his career.
On Thursday, Reds manager Bryan Price quelled some of those thoughts, insisting the organization won't put too much pressure on Hamilton in 2014.
"I'm not worried about that," Price said. "We're not going to ask him to carry all of the load. If we're going to be the team we think we can be, we have to disperse the responsibility throughout our lineup. We have to ask our bench to give us some energy and performance on days where we need to give guys a blow so they're not overwhelmed.
"But with that being said, that's just who Billy is. He just needs to continue to evolve because the work ethic is there."
Replacing the departed Shin-Soo Choo at the top of the lineup will be a worthy first challenge for Hamilton, MLB.com's No. 37 prospect, but even with the inherent weight of the job, the outfielder remains as loose and poised as ever, especially after getting a successful taste of the Majors last September, when he stole 13 bases and hit .368 in 19 at-bats.
"Coming up gave me a bunch of confidence, showed me what it's like to be up here every day and motivated me to get to this level and stay here," Hamilton said. "I got some really good work done in the offseason, so I'm looking forward to the spring."
Arriving in Goodyear several weeks early in January to work on his approach at the plate with Double-A Pensacola manager and ex-big leaguer Delino DeShields, Hamilton added that his bunting ability has developed greatly, and he expects the improved skill to pay immediate dividends come April.
"There will be a lot more bunting than I've done in the past," Hamilton said. "I have to use that to take some pressure off myself. My main job is to do whatever I can to get on base and help the rest of the guys in the lineup. It should be a good season."