Comment by Eminor3rd — November 5, 2012 @ 10:58 am
Everything I’ve read about Hamilton focuses on his offense – but it seems to me there’s some defensive uncertainty here too. Not only don’t I know how a good a fielder he is, I don’t know where he’ll wind up playing. A lot of IF prospects are moved to OF, where speed can be a huge asset. I could envision him, for instance, as a CF whose WAR is entirely on the defensive side.
Well, yes, he’s already been moved to CF, and yes, a good CF can accumulate 20-30 WAR over a 10 year career without picking up a bat! The question is will he lose value with the bat. He has good contact skills to keep a good average, but if anything ever happens to his speed he really has nothing.
In light of a recent story about how he tracked down a fly ball on the warning track after not moving for a few seconds because he thought it was hit right at him, that speed will add up to plenty of value in CF! Especially once he gets a clue out there!
Otis Nixon was about a 12. Ralph Garr was around 16. Mookie Wilson was about 20. Juan Pierre is closer to 30. I’m not sold that Hamilton will hit enough to play CF as a starter (see Tony Campana) but I think he’ll definitely contribute enough to crack 10 WAR over 10 years.
Vince Coleman had just over 13.1 career WAR. Hamilton’s walked more in the minors, and Coleman didn’t provide much value in the field, but unless Hamilton is able to maintain the walks while not hitting much and turn into a very good centerfielder, Coleman seems like a good expectation.