Who is he and where did he come from?
He’s David Hamilton, and he just got called up from Triple-A Worcester. You may have heard of him from me ranting and raving about him in Minor Lines, including about four weeks ago, when I suggested the 25-year-old may have limited time before his call-up. In fact, by the time I finished this article, he had already shown his incredible speed by stealing a base on a 99 mile-per-hour pitch and scoring a run against the Minnesota Twins. Should I play the lottery?
Since Worcester is only one of a few answers to where he comes from, I’ll also remind you all that the San Marco, Texas native and 2019 draft pick comes to our organization from the Milwaukee Brewers by way of the Hunter Renfroe trade. Specifically, Renfroe was shipped off to the Brewers for Hamilton, Jackie Bradley, Jr., and Alex Binelas. JBJ is hitting under the Mendoza line for Kansas City after we released him and Ales Binelas remains in Portland for a second season, but let’s not pretend that Hunter Renfroe didn’t depart Milwaukee this past off-season, too. Renfroe alone would not have propelled us towards a division title last season. Hamilton is really the factor on whether or not Bloom won that trade... so far, he’s losing it, but it more likely than not will go down as a non-factor, unless Hamilton performs particularly well. Or, who knows, they could be trying to valuate him before the trade deadline. No pressure, kid!
What position does he play?
He is a center fielder and infielder, and likely will be playing both positions while Pablo Reyes has soreness. If he lasts long enough to see Trevor Story come back (he will likely be back in Worcester by then) he might play second. Worcester has mostly used him at short, with Enmanuel Valdez on the other side of the bag.
Is he any good?
I cannot say “yes” yet with a straight face and mean it, but I will say two things: the future looks great, and he’s improving rapidly. Like, very rapidly. He had 12 home runs in Portland in 2022; after some reports that he was tweaking his swing in the offseason, he already had 11 this season in Worcester facing tougher pitching, including a good amount of guys who had cracked a Major League roster. He’s always drawn walks a tad more than most, but it’s what he does when he’s on base that’s truly impressive.
He set a franchise record with 70 stolen bases for Double-A Portland last season, and had 27 before being called up from Worcester. He is significantly quicker than our current options in the infield. The quickness does not quite translate to sound fielding; he has a .943 fielding percentage, and the bad news is he’s good for double digit fielding errors a season, which is the last thing the Red Sox need currently. But if he’s improving in every other aspect of his game, fielding may be next?
TL;DR: An optimistic maybe. He is slashing .255/.339/.825 in Worcester, he’s been consistent while steadily rising through the minors since being drafted in 2019, and his power is greatly improving.
Show me a cool highlight.
This guy is fast. As the newer Longest Yard says, he’s so fast, he makes fast people look... not fast. Here is him stealing 6 bases when he was part of Milwaukee’s farm team in High-A in 2021.
What’s he doing in his picture up there?
Doing a Neil Armstrong impression at Fenway South... I mean, fielding a ground ball and throwing it to first base! One small step for infielders, one giant leap for guys traded for an aging outfielder.
What’s his role on the 2023 Red Sox?
He’ll likely be back in Worcester in a few days or weeks. This, obviously, depends on how quickly Trevor Story comes back, and as I said earlier, how sore Pablo Reyes’ abdomen actually is. Reyes is by far and away a better fielder than Hamilton, which is pretty important for a team on the upswing that’s been struggling with middle infield defense this season. But, having another speed threat along with Jarren Duran off the bench could serve Boston well, especially a guy whose power is developing as quickly as Hamilton’s.
Let’s end things on a bright note: he is wearing number 70. I highly doubt, no matter how he plays, that he will cause as much ire as the guy who wore that number before him!