Times Staff Report
July 3, 2014
CINCINNATI - Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton has been voted the National League Rookie of the Month for June.
The 23-year-old speedster led the N.L. with 14 stolen bases while his 36 hits were tied for second. Hamilton paced N.L. rookies with 18 runs scored, three home runs, 10 doubles, 18 RBI, and a .500 slugging percentage. His .327 (36-for-110) batting average also was the highest among the League’s rookies.
Hamilton, who was selected by the Reds in the second round of the 2009 Draft, helped the Reds complete a four-game sweep of the N.L. West-leading San Francisco Giants from June 26th-29th, going a combined 8-for-18 (.444) with three doubles, four RBI and three stolen bases in the series. The youngster matched a career-best (11 times) with three-hit performances on both June 27th and June 28th. From June 10th-24th, Hamilton collected hits in 12 consecutive contests, hitting .375 (21-for-56) with 13 runs scored, a pair of homers, 11 RBI and eight stolen bases in that span. The hitting streak was the longest by an N.L. rookie this season. The Mississippi native went 3-for-4 with a pair of runs and a season-best three stolen bases in a 6-5 win on June 17th at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park. The three steals were the most in a single contest for the Reds leadoff man since he swiped four bags on September 18, 2013 at Houston in a 13-inning game.
With 35 stolen bases on the season, Hamilton currently ranks third among all Major Leaguers. In addition, his 81 hits, 17 doubles and 40 runs scored are tops among N.L. rookies. This is his first career monthly honor and the first by a Reds rookie since third baseman Todd Frazier won in August 2012.
Other rookies receiving votes included San Diego Padres starting pitcher Jesse Hahn (4-1, 1.95 ERA, 36 SO, 27.2 IP) and reliever Kevin Quackenbush (0-0, 1.50 ERA, 14 G, 12 SO, 12.0 IP); Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Chris Owings (.317, 20 H, 3 HR, 12 RBI, .635 SLG); and Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco (.288, 14 R, 23 H, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 4 2B).
The National League Rookie of the Month for June, Billy Hamilton, will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, to commemorate his performance.
Reds sign Cuban pitcher: Late last week, Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Walt Jocketty announced the signing of Cuban free agent starting RHP Raisel Iglesias to a 7-year contract through the 2020 season.
“He’s a tremendous athlete, a converted shortstop. He throws 94-96 with two quality breaking pitches, a curveball and power slider, and has the makings of a quality changeup,” Jocketty said. “He has four quality pitches, and our scouts feel he can be a starter and be a starter very soon. What we’ve tried to develop here is pitching and defense. The more pitching we can acquire, the deeper we can get, the more flexibility it gives us going forward.”
Jocketty added, “It was a great organizational effort to get this done, and we’re very excited about it. The decision was based on the evaluation of our scouts, the same group of guys who went to see (Aroldis) Chapman. I guarantee you we saw him pitch more than any other club. I have tremendous respect and appreciation for the evaluation of our scouts. They’re hard-working and very diligent.”
Iglesias pitched for Isla de la Juventud in Cuba’s National Series for 3 seasons and compiled an 8-12 record and 3.47 ERA over 5 starts and 83 relief appearances (223ip, 202h, 115bb, 169k, 11hr).