Red Sox Prospect David Hamilton could potentially help Boston in 2023
Fans of the Boston Red Sox aren’t exactly thrilled with the direction the team has gone this offseason. Losing Xander Bogaerts was tough for many, and the fact that Rafael Devers hasn’t been extended yet either isn’t helping matters.
The Red Sox did make several solid additions though, especially bolstering the bullpen. One of the bigger questions that remain is depth in the middle infield.
As of right now, Trevor Story seems to be the only obvious starter. After him, the team has Christian Arroyo and Kiké Hernandez (if you want to count him although he’ll probably spend most of his time in the outfield) as middle infield options.
Justin Turner was brought in this offseason, and he has limited experience at second base (953 1/3 innings) and shortstop (280 2/3 innings). So while they likely won’t want the veteran spending too much time at either position, he can make appearances there.
As you can tell, Boston could use some depth. And if we’re looking at people they have in the system already, just turn to the 40-man roster.
Enmanuel Valdez is the likely first option. He slashed .296/.376/.542 with 28 home runs and 107 RBI between Double-A and Triple-A. The offensive potential is there, and with his Triple-A experience, he has to be considered “extremely close” to the Majors at this point.
After him though, there is David Hamilton (and Ceddanne Rafaela but like with Hernandez, he’ll likely be mainly an outfielder).
Hamilton spent all year in Double-A, where he slashed .251/.338/.402 with 16 doubles, nine triples, and 12 home runs. So how would he be able to help the team? At first glance, those numbers aren’t moving the needle for anyone.
The left-handed hitter has a few things going for him though. He’s streaky at the plate. So while he struggles at times, there were also stretches where it seemed virtually impossible to get him out. His ability to hit left-handed pitching (.262 average) is a positive as well.
Most important, however, is the speed. Hamilton stole a Portland Sea Dogs record 70 bases (on just 78 attempts) in 2022.
Boston’s lack of speed and base stealing threats has been legendarily bad in recent years.
Hamilton is a solid glove that gets to some balls not many others could get to due to his speed. He’s a streaky bat that has the potential to get on base at a solid clip. But what really makes him an asset is that speed.
Not every player on the roster needs to be able to hit bombs or contribute heavily on a nightly basis. There are 26 men on a Major League roster. Having one true base stealing threat shouldn’t be that hard.
In 2022, the Red Sox had one (1) player with double-digit steals. It was Story, with 13. That’s a number Hamilton could reach in his sleep.
Stealing adds an extra dimension. It’s a threat that Boston hasn’t been able to use against their opponents in quite some time (2018 was the last good year in that category).
Something fans seem to forget at times is that you don’t need your bench players to rack up 500 at-bats in a season. You’ll see the people complaining about his average or lack of power. But not everyone on a team is going to hit around .300. Especially when they only get a handful of at-bats.
If Hamilton were to make his MLB debut in 2023, it wouldn’t be with the expectations that he would be an everyday player. And while everyone won’t hit around .300, not everyone is going to be able to steal bases at will.
That’s what David Hamilton would bring to the Boston Red Sox. They wouldn’t be asking him to hit for a high average or annihilate pitches over the Monster. His value would come in his legs. Stealing bases, pitching running, and scoring from first.
You can point to a lot of problems with the Red Sox offense in 2022. An underrated issue would be their lack of speed. Hamilton would immediately bring an end to those problems.
Will he start the year with the team? No. He hasn’t seen Triple-A pitching yet. But a midseason call-up isn’t impossible, and having that speed down the stretch (if they find themselves in a playoff push) could be invaluable.