Royals stud prospect John Lamb needs Tommy John surgery

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Heading into this season Baseball America ranked Kansas City left-hander John Lamb as the 18th-best prospect in MLB, but the Royals just announced that the 20-year-old former fifth-round pick will miss the remainder of season following Tommy John elbow surgery.

Lamb was one of nine Royals prospects to crack Baseball America‘s top 100 list after throwing 148 innings with a 2.38 ERA and 159/45 K/BB ratio between two levels of Single-A last season and was off to a strong start this year at Double-A, posting a 3.09 ERA in eight starts despite being extremely young for the level of competition.

Now he may not pitch again until mid-2012, which shows how even a historic stockpile of prospects can detiorate in a hurry. Of course, losing Lamb barely makes a dent in the Royals’ abundance of young talent and he’s so young that taking two entire seasons off would still leave him as one of the youngest pitchers at Double-A when he returns. Still, a tough blow for one of the game’s elite pitching prospects.

Report: Giants in “serious discussions” with Reds to acquire Billy Hamilton

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Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Giants are engaged in “serious discussions” with the Reds to acquire center fielder Billy Hamilton. Talks are apparently advanced enough that a deal could be completed before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.

It’s no secret that the Giants would like to make an upgrade in the outfield this offseason, as the club has also been linked to Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. Currently, the Giants’ outfield consists of Denard Span, Hunter Pence, and Jarrett Parker.

Hamilton, 27, owns a meager .248/.298/.334 batting line across parts of five seasons in the majors with the Reds. However, he has plenty of speed, having stolen at least 56 bases in each of the last four seasons. Hamilton is also well-regarded for his defense, which would be a boon at spacious AT&T Park.

Hamilton is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He’s projected to earn $5 million for this coming season. Buchanan notes that the Rangers are also interested in potentially acquiring Hamilton.