Reds centerfielder Billy Hamilton will have right shoulder surgery on Friday, according to C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The surgery will obviously sideline Hamilton for the rest of 2015, but the goal is to have him back to start spring training in 2016:
Walt Jocketty on Hamilton: 'there's no structural damage, but we think this will help and be 100% and ready to go before spring training.'— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) September 22, 2015
Hamilton has been dealing with a sprained capsule since mid-August, and was just recently activated from the disabled list. The time on the DL didn't heal the issue, as it flared back up. There were some talks of keeping Hamilton active and using him solely as a pinch runner, but both parties decided to get this issue fixed so it didn't linger into next season.
The 25-year-old outfielder followed up his rookie campaign with an improvement in his speed game. The outfielder was caught just eight times in 65 stole base attempts this year, compared to being thrown out 23 times in 2014. At the plate, however, Hamilton saw his numbers take a plunge. In 454 plate appearances, he hit .226/274/.289.
When Hamilton was called up by the Reds there was always a question of whether or not he could hit at the major league level. His speed and defense would be huge additions to the lineup only if he could produce something at the plate. The numbers this year are a step in the wrong direction for Hamilton, and missing any long term time with this injury could hurt his development. And to add to that, Hamilton will enter 2016 with enough service time that he will be arbitration eligible by winter, meaning a good season could lead to a big raise.
The Reds are trying to figure out what their future looks like as they try to rebuild. Hamilton needs to be on the field for them to know what role, if any, he will play for them.