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  1. I’m afraid he’s going to break your heart, sir. Would you guard yourself from the pain, or confront your love with abandon?

    Comment by JT — November 7, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

  2. I’m not actually a particular fan of Hamilton. In fact, I’ve generally been suspicious of the excitement he’s produced — at least in such cases where that excitement has led to considerable optimism concerning his future as a major leaguer. Running the numbers like this, however, it does seem as though posting a two-win season would be entirely possible.

    Comment by Carson Cistulli — November 7, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

  3. but dood: walkz

    Comment by chiefglockandhummer — November 7, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

  4. I haven’t seen anything in regards to Hamilton’s progress in CF so far this fall. Anybody have any insight?

    Comment by TRob — November 7, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

  5. Speed in baseball is excitement, if he can hit and field at an average rate he is at least worth watching.

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — November 7, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

  6. Isn’t there an argument to be made that your ignored factor: infield hits & drag bunts (as well as infield ROE, DP’s turned into FC, and 2B’s turned into 3B’s or 2B + E) is perhaps the most valuable (in terms of wins or runs) component of speed?

    Certainly Ichiro is unique, and his past production was as much a factor of his specific batting approach and talent as his speed, but his unique speed and time-to-first played a huge role in his ability to produce with that approach. Similarly, looking at profiles of players such as Ricky H, we see a unique ROE profile that is almost certainly an effect of his speed.

    A single IF out turned into an E or IF hit with the runner is worth 0.79 runs on avg (from tango). So 10 additional outs turned into non-outs per season is worth almost 8 runs. Is 10 a lot? Probably. But is 5 too little? I really don’t know.

    Comment by Nivra — November 7, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

  7. The baserunning contribution to speed value isn’t independent of batting ability though. Proficiency at getting on base will affect his ability to steal or advance extra bases in either a positive or negative way.

    Comment by Evan — November 7, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

  8. Elite speed also has benefits that cannot be directly measured by any means. If an elite speedster is on base, especially first base, he can disrupt a pitcher’s focus and require numerous throws to first. Elite speed puts extra pressure on the defense, possibly leading to more fielding errors. An elite speedster can excite his team and the home crowd as well as demoralize the opponents and their fans. That is why a few select players are said to have “game changing” speed. Obviously Hamilton has that kind of game changing speed… it is just a matter of how fully he can utilize his gift. I certainly hope he reaches his full potential because it would be a blast to see him play and it would be great for fans of the game.

    Comment by baseballjunkie — November 7, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

  9. I wanted to point this out as well, that in addition to defense and baserunning, elite speed can at least partially substitute for hitting ability. You just have to be a good bunter, make contact, and hit the ball on the ground.

    Comment by Jon L. — November 7, 2012 @ 8:49 pm

  10. agreed, speed is excitement.. whereas power is Oooh, Aaahhh.. a nice mix of them on a team should keep fans in the stadiums, but.. the only the front edge of the seat will be used due to the whole thing.

    Comment by Cidron — November 7, 2012 @ 10:18 pm

  11. Why aren’t those things measurable?

    Comment by Hason Jeyward — November 8, 2012 @ 10:33 am

  12. But that’ll only make a difference in ROE – a single, whether a laser to LF or a drag bunt, is still a single and reflected in BA (or any of the advanced stats).

    Comment by Pete — November 8, 2012 @ 10:38 am

  13. Well speed is one thing but skill and defense another.. SF Giants had a studd named Grego Blanco who showed speed and defense in the World Series robbing Det superstars of crucial hits. Speed is one thing but using it another

    Comment by Gaja — November 8, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

  14. Carson acknowledged what you said in your comment. His purpose was to show some of the potential impacet of Hamilton’s speed and how it could help make him at least an average MLB player, which he did quite effectively.
    By no means did he make any predictions or estimates of what Hamilton will accomplish.
    I would also point out that even if his other skills aren’t sufficient, he could (I don’t say will) have a major league career as a pinch-runner or perhaps even as a pinch-bunter.

    Comment by Baltar — November 8, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

  15. Love Hamilton haters! Makes it easier to know who doesn’t read scouting reports!

    Comment by SKob — November 8, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

  16. Baseball Prospectus did an exhaustive study on this and found that elite speedster on 1B distracted the hitter more than the pitcher but agreed more pressure is put on the defense in general.

    Comment by jmoultz — November 8, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

  17. I think this is underselling Hamilton. His speed “upside” of 2-2.5 implies he can only be among the middle of each group of 10. But if scouting reports and minor league numbers are to be believed, his upside is to be #1 by a wide margin. I think the excitement with Hamilton is not that he’s super fast. It’s that he’s faster than anyone we’ve ever seen. I don’t think the numbers calculated above really represent his “upside”.

    Comment by Anthony — November 8, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

  18. One more place that speed can help a player — tougher to double-up.

    Comment by Doug M — November 8, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

  19. I mentioned ROE, DP –> FC, and 2B + E which can all happen from speed that would be unaccounted for because of speed. The last is debatable.

    However, Carson’s question is “the value of speed,” not the value of speed that isn’t included in wOBA or OPS or BA.

    Comment by Nivra — November 8, 2012 @ 7:13 pm

  20. Another take on this subject can be found on the Diamond Mind Baseball web site.

    This link takes you to their list of articles, where you can scroll down and select Measuring the Impact of Speed.

    Comment by Tom — November 12, 2012 @ 9:46 am

  21. The question is whether Billy Hamilton will be the next Rickey Henderson or next Vince Coleman?

    Comment by tbjfan — May 10, 2013 @ 7:59 pm

  22. B Ham has no power. He hit 2 homers today which is one shy of his season high at any level. He’s a faster version of Juan Pierre.

    Comment by Carl Allen — May 11, 2013 @ 2:19 am

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