This was suspected from the moment the season ended, but Reds GM Walt Jocketty has made it official: speedster Billy Hamilton will be moving to center field and will be playing at Triple-A Louisville in 2013.
Hamilton made more headlines than your average Single-A and Double-A player usually does in 2012 thanks to his stealing an astounding 155 bases. Still, he doesn’t have a position with Zack Cozart at short and, with Shin-Soo Choo patrolling center field in his final year before hitting free agency, center field is his ticket to the bigs.
As is hitting. He posted a .410 OBP in 2012, which is fantastic. And if he keeps that up by continuing to walk and continuing to beat out almost everything hit on the ground to the infield, he may be in Cincinnati sooner than 2014.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.