So You’re Thinking About Taking Billy Hamilton…

An extraordinarily polarizing player in drafts this year is Cincinnati Reds speedster Billy Hamilton. Especially so in 5×5 and traditional leagues, where one could make the argument where Hamilton is almost a Babe Ruth-like talent.

Wait, what?

Well, it’s true. Sort of. Hamilton stole 88 bases between Triple-A and the majors last year. He swiped an ungodly 155 between three levels the year before that. In 2011, 103.

Last year, 12 teams stole over 100 bases, with just four over 120. Hamilton alone — in a best-case scenario, that is — could find himself on that list if the Reds let him run wild.

So while calling him a Ruthian talent is certainly hyperbolic, he’s the kind of talent that alone would easily win a category outright in those traditional style leagues.

Maybe *could* is a better word that would, though.

Hamilton hit well in his cup of coffee down the stretch with the Reds (.368/.429/.474), which lent itself to him running hog wild on the bases given the ample opportunity. Pinch running obviously skews things, but Hamilton stole 13 bases in just 22 plate attempts. That’d be a 355 stolen base pace (heh). But even regressing that to games played is still downright bonkers, as Hamilton swiped as many bags (13) as he had games played in the major leagues.

But where Hamilton’s risk comes into play is with the bat, where he’s coming off hitting just .256/.308/.343 at Triple-A, with a finally stable BABIP (.310 after years of .371 and .404), and just 28 extra-base hits in a full season’s worth of plate appearances.

And one obviously can’t scout the stat sheet, but there’s plenty of skepticism about whether or not Hamilton can hit in the big leagues.

Take a look at some of the things projected and said about Hamilton by smarter people than me (heh, again):

2014 Steamer Projection: .246/.301/.334 (.283 wOBA) | 67 SB
2014 Oliver Projection: .233/.278/.321 (.267 wOBA) | 64 SB
2014 ZiPS Projection: .264/.319/.362 (.302 wOBA) | 68 SB

“…his hit tool is not nearly as developed and he’ll likely continue to be overmatched at the Triple-A/MLB levels until he makes some further adjustments…Ideally, his bat could probably use another two to three months of seasoning in the minors…the offensive development will dictate if his contributions come from the starting lineup or from the bench” – Marc Hulet, Fangraphs, 2/6/14

“…struggles to put together quality at-bats; can get power hungry and try to lift balls he shouldn’t lift; game contact can play soft; would put a below-average future on hit tool without his speed…takes himself out of counts early and doesn’t drive the ball with consistency. If Hamilton can refine his approach, his speed would make him a destructive force at the front of lineup, an 80-100 stolen base threat and premium defender in center because of his pole-to-pole range.” – Jason Parks, Baseball Prospectus, 2/3/14

“Rising strikeout and falling walk rates may cut into Hamilton’s ability to profile as a first-division leadoff man, but his speed alone will make him a weapon.” – Everett Merrill, Baseball America, 10/11/13

“…overall strength is a serious concern and Hamilton is unlikely to quite (sic) those doubters anytime soon…that lack of punch presents as 20 power without much projection for growth…in his stance, Hamilton has a slight double tap as his timing mechanism and I question how successful it will be for him in the long run. In eight-to-ten plate appearances from the left side, he failed to square up a baseball once and his inconsistent weight transfer led to a lack of consistency in his swing.” – Mike Newman, Fangraphs, 8/5/12

From reading these excerpts, this isn’t just a ‘he may not hit’ situation, but a significant worry about if he can handle not only big league pitching, but pitching in the upper minors even dating back to Newman’s report a year and a half ago.

Undeterred, prospective owners have still taken to paying massive prices to acquire Hamilton’s talents in fantasy drafts.

Here are some of the spots I’ve heard Hamilton going (draft spot/$ value) via quick crowdsourcing:

Round 6, Pick 108 overall – Fangraphs Mock (via Enosaurus)
Round 6, Pick 2 – KFFL Bad Fantasy Mock (15-teamer with industry leaders)
Round 5, 12-teamer – Mock Draft Army (via Howard Bender, who said he saw up to 53rd overall)
Round 4, Pick 40 – via @kali0116 on Twitter
44th overall, 20-team dynasty – via @mdthomp24
No. 33 – Rotographs consensus rankings

That’s some pretty insane average draft position, right? And now since I’ve completely buried the lede, here’s what’s up:

Draft Ben Revere instead.

First, here’s a peek at where Revere has gone in similar situations:

Round 14, Pick 239 overall – Fangraphs February Mock (via Enosaurus, 131 picks later!)
Round 15, Pick 173 – via @kali0116 on Twitter (11 rounds, 133 picks later than Hamilton!)
231st overall, 20-team dynasty – via @mdthomp24 (nearly 200 picks later!)
Round 11, Pick 13 – KFFL Bad Fantasy Mock (15-teamer with industry leaders)
No. 53- Rotographs consensus rankings

I’ll tell you why you should take Revere instead. First of all of course is the money involved. I saw that Hamilton went for $28 in the NL-only LABR auction, while Revere went for a much more palatable $19 (though still maybe too high for my tastes). In most drafts, Hamilton is going many, many rounds ahead of Revere, though both players represent a *somewhat* similar skill set.

Here’s the rub: Nobody knows how long the leash is on Hamilton, whose deficiencies will be magnified if he does in fact hit leadoff as expected. This is a team with a first time manager in Bryan Price. This is a team that allowed Shin-Soo Choo to play center all last year, so it would be no big loss for them to run Jay Bruce out there, if not Chris Heisey.

Revere, on the other hand, has full reign in center in Philly, with nobody but John Mayberry and Clete Thomas to push him for playing time.

Not only does Revere have insane wheels, but he is a contact machine — 92.4% career rate — whose only worry when it comes to stealing bases this year will be any potential ill effects felt from breaking his right foot last year. Personally, I don’t think it’ll be a problem.

Revere has already stolen 34 and 40 in a season, and swiped 22 last year. That comes out to a 162 game average of 45.4 steals.

So to me, it boils down to taking a ‘risk’ on 70-80 steals — keeping in mind that Hamilton could very well hurt you in home runs, average, and RBI which are all big OF-heavy stats — or taking a pretty safe bet in 40-plus steals, with a good batting average to boot.

Give me the two category guy. I’m holding out for Revere. Thoughts?




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In addition to Rotographs, Warne is a Minnesota Twins beat reporter for 105 The Ticket's Cold Omaha website as well as a sportswriter for Sportradar U.S. in downtown Minneapolis. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Warne, or feel free to email him to do podcasts or for any old reason at brandon.r.warne@gmail-dot-com


71 Responses to “So You’re Thinking About Taking Billy Hamilton…”

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  1. dscott says:

    That might be the smart thing to do. But who wants to watch Revere and the Phillies play when you could root for Billy Hamilton to break Hendersons steal record. Not to mention he has looked good bunting lately, if he can bring back the bunt (recalls the 80’s and George Brett), he could bunt himself a .260 average. Here’s to hoping and taking risks <<<<<Billy Hamilton Owner in an auction league $21

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    • RotoworldModsAreNazis says:

      I love having people like you in my leagues who can’t remove the emotion from their fantasy game. Thank you for you for your donation….come again!

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  2. bdsparty32 says:

    Great article. I think Hamilton is gonna be one of the biggest busts of the year based on ADP. Like you said, Revere is a much better value and a safer choice as well.

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  3. colt452011 says:

    Hmmmm. I was able to keep Hamilton for $4 in my league and the auction is in 2 weeks. 12 team standard 5×5 head to head scoring. A steal? (No pun intended)

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    • RotoworldModsAreNazis says:

      I would cash that in ASAP and see who you can get in return in a trade.

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      • colt452011 says:

        It’s a 25 man roster with a $260 purse. I don’t think $4 is gonna hurt me with 5 starting OF positions. I’m gonna hang on to him and let whatever happens happen. I’m keeping my eye on Nick Castellanos whom I kept for $1 who will have OF and 3B eligibility for me.

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      • RotoworldModsAreNazis says:

        Sure the $4 isn’t going to hurt you, but why not explore what you could get in return and LOCK IN a profit by bringing in somebody who has produced at the major league level before. I imagine you could get a fairly priced “2nd rounder” for Hamilton at that price.

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      • novaether says:

        I think it depends on if you’re trying to win this year or if you’re building for the future. If you’re trying to win now, you could probably cash him in for a Hunter Pence or Mark Trumbo level player. Depends on your league, I guess.

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    • FeslenR says:

      For $4? why not keep him and yes, he’s a steal. I believe in him more than Revere…just saying.

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  4. stonepie says:

    id take eric young as well. a full season of hitting leadoff for the mets should net him 40+ steals

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  5. tyler says:

    How much would your view on drafting him earlier than in revere change if in a 10 team 8 keepers league?

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  6. LouisVuittonDon says:

    If you’re all in on Hamilton (or at least believe he’ll get regular playing time and steal 80-100 bases as a result, regardless of hitting production) you can punt on steals guys and build your roster around power hitters. If you take Ben Revere, you can not do that. Either you like the Hamilton risk or you don’t, there are good arguments on both sides…but no, Ben Revere is not the same type of player. I’d be mildly surprised if Revere surpasses 40 steals, while I’d be shocked if Hamilton got less than 80 with regular playing time. I think Hamilton is much more valuable in H2H leagues where you can deploy him as necessary, and sit him once you build a good enough SB lead.

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    • RotoworldModsAreNazis says:

      It’s a gigantic risk putting the majority of your investment in SB in one guy. What if he gets hurt??? You’re basically screwed in SB if that happens and you don’t have another decent source of SB. Very poor strategy, IMO.

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      • jpg says:

        Of course it’s a giant risk, but the reward has astronomical potential. You could have said the same thing about Scott Podsednik back in the day. You could say the same thing to the guy that bids $50 on Mike Trout. Being overly risk averse in fantasy is the worst approach of all IMO.

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      • RotoworldModsAreNazis says:

        How is distributing my SB potential amongst several players “being risk averse”??? Don’t be so dumb.

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      • jpg says:

        “What if he gets hurt???”

        Your words, not mine. Sounds like something a risk averse would say. And grow up while you’re at it. No need call me dumb. A handle like RotoworldModsAreNazis…. Yeah, immaturity from you isn’t surprising.

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      • boxx says:

        Lol buy a dictionary dude. If you avoid investing heavily in a guy like Hamilton due to him being untested or because an injury could screw you, that’s textbook risk aversion. If you spread your eggs around, rather putting them into one basket, so to speak, is a form of risk aversion. That said, if you are gonna take him to task, being risk averse is a good thing at times. It means you avoid rash trade, impulsive add/drops, avoid reaching three rounds too early to draft someone ect.

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    • Jimmy says:

      I don’t blame you for thinking like that but you wind up painting yourself into a corner in so many ways.

      It’s not just the threat of injury but anything that affects his playing time, even his distribution of playing time. Any little bald patch getting on base, any soreness, or whatever reason they have to fool around with his PT and you’re facing the embarrassing reality that you could lose SB that week. Now you have to fingers crossed your “optimized” group of rag tag power hitters run on all cylinders that week so you don’t end up dropping another category or two.

      Which brings me to my next point…

      Where on earth are you going to find 10 or 11 other players who are just as valuable overall but are optimized for no speed? There just aren’t enough guys who don’t contribute in steals but do contribute enough in power + average to make up for the lack of speed. If you’re gonna “optimize”, that means your Brad Millers, your Dexter Fowlers, your Everth Cabreras, your Brett Lawries, every shortstop ever — anybody who derives some of their value getting 10-20 swipes per year — all those guys are useless to you. And forget about in the earlier rounds drafting Justin Upton or Heyward or Marte or Hosmer, cross all these guys off your list. You basically wind up needing a team of Ortiz or Cabrera Lite, guys who hit for power and average, plus weird power guys at middle infield (go ahead and draft Gyorko 2 rounds too early otherwise you’re gonna screw up and get another useless speed/avg combo at 2B.

      I hear you brother but you think you’re freeing yourself from having to draft SB when actually you’re severely limiting your pool, it has to be perfectly executed and how many times has any of us perfectly executed on draft night? Once? Maybe twice in all 3 major sports?

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      • jpg says:

        I see your point but I disagree. If you draft other SB guys in addition to Hamilton, it allows you to corner the market in that category, which could provide additional leverage in trades and force others to pay a higher premium. Having a guy like Hamilton gives you the flexibility to trade the 10-20 stolen base guys you mention without the worry of it coming back to bite you.

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      • me says:

        Even if you could corner the market (you can’t or your roster will be 25 speed guys) it’s useless if you’ve already won it. You gain nothing by ensuring 2nd place only gets 30 steals rather than 100, he still gets one less roto point or you only get one win.

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  7. james o says:

    Kept Billy for $15 in a $260 10-team H2H. I would have preferred a cheaper price (expensive free agent pickup in the playoffs), but still love the upside.

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  8. jdbolick says:

    I’ve been cautioning against overvaluing Hamilton since his breakout 2012, but things have swung too far the other way at this point, with deserved skepticism regarding his bat somehow discounting the potentially massive value from his steals. Hamilton isn’t expected to be an Adam Dunn-type destroyer of team batting average, or even do as much damage as George Springer for that matter. Meanwhile he is projected to steal about double the number of bases as Revere.

    I sincerely doubt that Cincinnati will yank him unless he is struggling so badly that they feel playing him risks long-term damage. The concern about depending so much on one player in a category exposing you to extra injury risk is valid, and it’s frankly not all that easy to cut out a percentage of the player pool because you don’t want to overload in steals. But as long as Hamilton is healthy and playing, having one player who can single-handedly make you relevant in a category is hugely helpful. Taking Revere instead means that you have to find 30+ more steals than you otherwise would. Billy will help a heck of a lot more there than Revere will in batting average.

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    • jpg says:

      Exactly. Comparing him to Ben Revere is ludicrous. We’re talking about about once in a generation type stolen base threat. Also, his range is so incredible that he’ll probably be able to stay in the lineup on the strength of his defense alone. Calling him a one category guy is also ridiculous. Even if he posts a sub .300 OBP, he’s going to give you a lot runs scored if he stays in the leadoff spot. Zack Cozart scored 75 runs in the #2 hole with a .288 OBP in the same lineup.

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      • FeslenR says:

        JPG, to answer your earlier question “what if he gets hurt?”

        if you play mixed leagues or single league fantasy- my strategy was draft solid OF’s to go along with picking Hamilton.

        You can have reliable lineup if you pick guys like a Pence/Victorino type and so on.

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      • jpg says:

        Felsen I agree with you 100%. I was addressing what the other poster was saying when he said “What if he gets hurt?”.

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  9. Max says:

    The thing with Hamilton is, if he works out you win SB category unless something really strange happens in your league. Hamilton at his upside takes all the strategy out of finding cheap SB, and I don’t want my opponent to have that luxury.

    basically, I’d rather take him and hope he works out while trusting in my ability to find cheap steals if he doesn’t, than let him go to my opponent and lose control of the situation

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  10. Ruki Motomiya says:

    The problem with “Draft Ben Revere” is Revere is as most a, what, 45-50 steal guy? Even projection systems call for 64-68 steals, which is a huge different, with a probable increase in runs for being on the Reds compared to the Phillies and probably some token HRs. And you get the added possible value of a steal breakout season where he could crush your opponent’s in steals.

    As a note, Billy Hamilton is much more valuable in H2H leagues, as he has the potential to win a category every week alone. He’s a bit high for my tastes, but that is because I prefer my first 5 rounds or so to be safer players over riskier ones (Unless you count all pitchers as risky). I will admit that since my league is H2H though (I joined a friend’s league and they all like H2H) I’m thinking of picking him up.

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  11. Kevin says:

    “with a finally stable BABIP (.310 after years of .371 and .404)”

    Anyone else have an issue with this line? We know there is nothing magical about a .300 BABIP, and players should be compared to their career BABIP, so what makes the 310 MORE stable? Maybe larger sample size, but it all adds to his career baseline. Can you clarify?

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    • I think a better word I should have used would be ‘sustainable’, though I do think he’s the kind of guy who could have an above average BABIP on the basis of just hitting the ball into the ground and flying.

      Still, I wonder if the ceiling there isn’t .350ish

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  12. novaether says:

    I can’t help but be reminded of Dee Gordon when people talk of Billy Hamilton. “He can win you one roto category by himself!” Sure, but unless your league counts minor league stats, he might not win you anything.

    I like Revere this year. Hamilton could easily wind up being the more valuable player, but you have a great draft if you can find guys that slip through the cracks – even if they’re not going to break Ricky Henderson’s SB record. I value them equally this year and Revere is a lot cheaper.

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    • HUH? says:

      How does he remind you of Dee Gordon? Because he’s fast….because others have said that. It makes no sense. He is a completely different ballplayer.

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      • boxx says:

        Yeah it’s a bad comp. Hamilton takes walks whereas Gordon doesn’t. He also provides much more defensive value.

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      • Devil’s advocate suggests both are projected 7-8% walk rates by projection systems.

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      • jpg says:

        That may be true but Hamilton has much stronger minor league track record for taking walks. If you believe in Gordon’s spike in BB% in a short sample last year then you’re probably right. Otherwise, he was a guy routinely in the 5-6% range at every level. Hamilton’s career minor league BB% is 10.5, which dwarfs Gordon’s. That’s even including his dip to 6.9% last year in AAA. I’ll grant you that maybe that’s more indicative of his true talent at tougher levels but the fact still remains Hamilton’s track record of taking walks is vastly superior.

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  13. Belle of the League says:

    As some team owners will buy into the most dreaded word in player evaluation “potential”, I hear you.
    As with players on most “bust” lists, if you can get him cheap enough, draft him. Just don’t overpay on the basis of potential that could leave holes in your roster in other areas…and what’s too much to bid depends if you are playing points or roto, if it’s a keeper league and if so, are you rebuilding?, etc.

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  14. jiveballer says:

    I’d rather save many rounds/$ of value and come in second in steals.

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  15. Ballpark Frank says:

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Im all in on Hamilton and would have no problem in drafting him early. I actually took him in the 5th round of a Yahoo 5×5 Roto

    C:MONTERO
    1B:ORTIZ, LIND, V MARTINEZ
    2B:HILL
    SS:HANLEY, MILLER(2B/SS)
    3B:BELTRE, C Johnson (3B/1B)
    OF:GOMEZ, HAMILTON, BELTRAN, WERTH, CALHOUN, VENABLE

    I dont see why most pundits are OK with drafting someone like Pedro Alvarez but not Billy Hamilton. I guess a .240 average is OK if you hit 30 HRs but not if you steal bases. Even the most conservative projections have Hamilton above 60 steals and acknowledge that he could easily get 80+. Common sense would suggest that if he steals 60-90 bases that he will score alot of runs since every steal puts him in scoring position. Why wouldnt you draft a player with that kind of upside in the first 60 picks? Anyone can get hurt and only a fool would draft Hamilton as their only steals guy.

    I saw the video about how steals are a depreciating asset and it made me laugh at how far the “experts” are going to talk down Hamilton

    http://www.baseballprof.com/2013/10/how-billy-hamilton-is-changing-fantasy-rankings-systems/

    Maybe it’s because I only play in Roto leagues and not H2H but if I get off to a huge lead in steals then wouldnt I think about trading Hamilton once I feel Ive locked up Steals?

    Do yourself a favor and draft Hamilton.

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    • RotoworldModsAreNazis says:

      Baseball Professor is one of the worst “experts” out there, IMO. So hey…enjoy that solid advice you get over there, lol.

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    • Cybo says:

      “”I dont see why most pundits are OK with drafting someone like Pedro Alvarez but not Billy Hamilton. I guess a .240 average is OK if you hit 30 HRs but not if you steal bases.””

      Pedro’s 30 HRs come with 80 R and 100 RBI and bat around .240-.250. And 3B is shallower than CF/OF. Best case for Billy is 100 SB, 120 R, 0 HR, 40 RBI, and bat .260-.280. Pedro is a near lock for the above projection while Billy is far from a sure thing. I think the experts consensus is spot on in regards to these two.

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      • jiveballer says:

        Also, nobody is pushing Alvarez as a 5th round value like this guy gleefully paid for Hamilton.

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      • Simon says:

        Also, last year, Hamilton scored 75 runs in AAA, while stealing 75 bases, in 123 games. Given a likely lower OBP in the bigs, it seems likely that he’ll score under 100 runs, so a nice contributor, but not a game changer in that category.

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    • Eric F says:

      Huge thing you’re forgetting is that Alvarez will never be taken out of the lineup due to his homer ability. If Hamilton can’t hit or get on base, he will lose all value and most likely not be a starter anymore. Then he’s relegated to either AAA or bench status, and you’re hoping he can grab a steal every time he pinch runs.

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  16. DavefrmLville says:

    Unlike a big time power hitter, Hamilton’s historic speed makes his performance impossible to model. He is an outlier, this is confirmed by any scout who has seen him play. So let’s not try, we’ll all guessing.

    If you play in a dynasty-type league that you’ve put years of work into, can you ignore his upside though? IF he hits .230 and steal 100 bases in his first year, the guy that drafted him is going to finish top 3 for the next 5-10 years if he’s even mediocre at fantasy.

    I think he’s worth the risk in 5×5 keeper-type formats, we see 1st round guys flop every year. That’s not even where’s he’s at. If your drafting skills can’t sacrafice a 4th rounder for that kind of upside, then go ahead and draft Ben Revere.

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  17. tz says:

    The Mike Newman comment from Aug. 2012 would concern me. It seems like, as a natural RHB, his approach from the left side is very defensive, and MLB pitchers could eat him up simply by pounding the strike zone.

    Maybe it’s not too late to just have Hamilton go back to batting right handed full time. He had a much better ISO from the right side in the minors, and back in 2010, his last year before becoming a switch hitter, he hit right handers well from the right side.

    Or maybe he twists in the wind with the Reds, they give up on him, and the Rays scoop him up and he becomes a RH hitting Rafael Furcal.

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  18. Crash37 says:

    There are so many people looking for every angle to slander this guy. Is he full of helium right now in Roto drafts? For sure, but if we take a look at this logically then my personal feeling is the Steamer/Oliver/ZIPs projections are low and this kid will be on the bases enough to be a modest force.

    1 – The write-ups all have major caveats as to whether he can become the impact player some feel he could be. The main ones are his inability to handle MLB pitching due to strength and approach, his lack of driving the ball and his rising K% and falling BB%. For one I don’t want this guy driving the ball anyway. The more he hits it on the ground, even or especially weakly, the better chances of his average nearing or bettering the .270 mark. It’s said his approach is sometimes to try to drive the ball too much but he’s already addressing that this spring with increased bunting attempts and with solid results. His ratios were flat or rising in every minor league level until he hit a snag in AAA last year. Yet in a small sample size in the majors he shined which I think should temper the disappointment of his tepid AAA numbers if nothing else. Besides most prospects have growing pains when they hit the higher levels of the minors so this to me is just a normal career path.

    I’m not sure how the three projections methods approach players but my guess is they use league averages then apply each individual players’ ratios to come up with projections. My guess is if they tried to apply Hamilton’s speed into their projections they underestimated it significantly. Between 2003 and 2013 there were just under 24,000 infield hits and over 4,300 bunt hits for 1,176,000ish PAs. This comes out to just about 14 IFH+BUH per 600 PAs. Now let’s take a look at most of the top players for combined bunt hits + infield hits per 600 PAs, including Ben Revere:
    Ichiro Suzuki 39.02
    Derek Jeter 24.82
    Juan Pierre 37.22
    Michael Bourn 31.36
    Coco Crisp 20.79
    Erick Aybar 33.76
    Willy Taveras 52.87
    Corey Patterson 28.54
    Ben Revere 40.29
    Alexi Casilla 32.08

    Willy Taveras led the way and was STILL a terrible overall player. Ichiro is there of course, although 90% of his were IFH with only 10% BUH. And there’s Ben Revere with an excellent per 600 PA total. Steamer projects Revere to be a .277 hitter this year despite his average being substantially higher than that for the past 2 years. Oliver and ZIPs see him more at his 2012-2013 level. Going by minor league numbers to project Hamilton, Revere isn’t his closest comp, it’s probably Bourn if we use minor league BB% and K%. Slight difficulty here as Bourn didn’t spend much time in the minors but I think we can go with it. Revere’s BB and K rates are both too low to project using him. Bourn’s first full year in the majors was a disaster hitting just .229 with a .288 OBP. But upon further inspection this was due to a abnormally low .290 BABIP with is .050 lower than his career average. He’s never posted anything less than .329 otherwise in the majors or minors. He bounced back the next year with a .285/.354 year bolstered by a .366 BABIP and a whopping 47 IFH+BUH. The next two years were .265/.341 and .294/.349 respectively.

    Now it appears during his time in the minors Hamilton is completely capable of sustaining a .310+ BABIP which bodes well. However, also using these numbers it also appears that Hamilton’s BABIP has to be extremely high before his average approaches the .300 mark. This might be due somewhat to his less power vs. Bourn, i.e. his lack of ability to hit the ball as hard. But he’s definitely faster than Bourn so this should at least give him the ability to accumulate more IFH+BUH, slightly offsetting the difference with Bourn’s power. If we disregard Bourn’s first year as an outlier of bad luck then we’ve got a 3 year average of about .280/.348. If Hamilton can avoid bad luck with his BABIP, get 40+ IFH+BUH and stay healthy given 600 PAs he should be able to blow away the average projections of .248/.300. If we give him the extra 20 IFH+BUH that these projection methods may not be giving him it would bump him up to .280, which may be slightly high. So if he comes in at .275 and we assume his OBP remains the same ratio relative to his average that would come in at about .327. Given these bumps his projected SBs should jump up to the mid to upper 70’s.

    Now it obviously depends on what your needs are on your fantasy team, however the Hamilton siren call is certainly loud and tantalizing. If taken he could single handedly win the SB category, if he stays healthy, something he’s done in his short pro career, which gives you much more flexibility to use other picks on pitching and/or power hitters, bolstering your other categories. If he gets hurt you’ll still be really strong in other categories because of this even though you may have to punt SBs. But worrying about injuries to young players like this is a waste of worrying. Cheers.

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  19. bleh says:

    Why ask out Alison Brie, when you can date Lena Dunham?!!

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  20. Bobby Melody says:

    I understand that the rotisserie format is the standard format for fantasy baseball. I sure would like to see it evolve though. I mean really, a stolen base category is as valuable as a home run category? Clearly I would rather have a player hit a home run than stael a base. A save is as valuable as a starting pitcher’s ERA.
    If the goal of fantasy baseball is to give fans a better understanding of a player’s worth than scrap the 5 category system of roto. More valuable statistics of a players worth that fantasy baseball should be structured on should be a pitcher’s ERA, a hitter’s Runs Created, or WAR.

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    • Ruki Motomiya says:

      “If the goal of fantasy baseball is to give fans a better understanding of a player’s worth ”

      This is fantasy baseball’s goal? Since when?

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    • Moves Like Munenori says:

      I’m in a 20 cat league (10 for hitters, 10 for pitchers) and it’s much better and much more challenging. The “vanilla” producers actually become very sexy for their k/bb rate and doubles production. Find a league that suits your tastes.

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  21. Bobby Melody says:

    That is my point, wouldn’t you want to engage in a format that mimics MLB, instead of creating this sideshow of roto? Just saying….

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    • jdbolick says:

      Because it’s a game based on baseball, not a simulation of baseball. The important thing is for fantasy baseball to be balanced in such a way that it works as a game, and that appears to be the case for standard 5×5. Monopoly doesn’t mimic real estate.

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    • Eric F says:

      Sidenote, you’re wanting fantasy to be more indicative of actual MLB value, yet saying ERA is a valuable stat for pitchers…

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  22. Rob says:

    I’m a full fledged contrarian. The more negative articles I read about Hamilton, the more I’m buying in. Vince Coleman stole 100 bases with 94 runs with a .232/.301/.280. If thats the floor then sign me up. It’s not as if he’s being taken over Ellsbury.
    4th/5th round sounds great to me. I’ll already have 3 or 4 stud hitters by that point to make up for his deficiencies.

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  23. BothDakotas says:

    In deeper h2h leagues, how smart is it to completely punt steals in the evaluation process? It seems that getting guys who will post high WOBA is conducive to winning Average-Hr-RBI-Runs, and that if your in a 16+ team league its not prudent to only take guys who will contribute in only one category.

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  24. Cybo says:

    12 team mixed with 7 keepers. I’m seriously thinking of taking Billy with my first pick (we start in rd 8). I kept a lot of power with my 7 keepers so I feel like he’s a perfect fit for this team. Here’s my 7.

    Rosario
    Chris Davis
    Encarnacion
    Votto
    J Upton
    Stanton
    Jose Reyes

    I’m thinking for this team Billy could be a home run (ha) considering all the power I kept. Thoughts?

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  25. Calogero says:

    In H2H leagues, he’s more valuable than you represent.

    You could carry one bench hitter with boring, consistent production (Michael Brantley type) or a pure power guy (Chris Carter, Khris Davis types) and basically platoon them with Hamilton. If Billy stakes you to a big SB lead, pop the other guy in for the rest of the week. Or just play matchups all week. Basically, you can get the counting stat (SB) with less damage to your rate stats (AVG and/or OPS), and if you do it smartly, a Hamilton/Carter platoon could produce from one slot a statline like 18 HR, 55 SB, .245/.700 or so. Which is equivalent to non-existent player who would be drafted in the 4th round or so.

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  26. Swfcdan says:

    What I want to know is why did he start switch hitting, when he was much better as a righty? He now takes the large majority of his hacks from the left side!

    Sounds like a huge issue to me, he should quit switching and go back to being a righty which hes best at. Bizarre advice…

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  27. Fujikawa-Bunga says:

    I let hamilton sit past the 100th pick. I didn’t have a place for Ben Revere when he came around, but I took a late round flier on Rajai Davis. Rankings tend to be based on the projected full year’s worth of stats, but I see Davis having Hamilton-like vale for the first month or 2 while Dirks is out and he was something like 312th in ADP in my Yahoo League.

    He swiped 45 in 51 tries over just 350 plate appearances last year.

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  28. Bill says:

    All I have to say is remember when people who could steal bases could actually hit? Ricky Henderson, Tim Raines (why is he not in the HOF?), Ron Leflore, Lou Brock.

    The bat tool isn’t the only concerning thing, there is some concern about his defense if I remember correctly as well.

    That said, it’s impossible to predict, it’s what I call a binary option. Either it goes extremely well and he blows away projections by hitting .260 or above and getting an acceptable BB% or he can’t hit/field enough to stay in the majors. If you take him I would still take best available player regardless of whether they got steals or not as their value (you can always trade in May if all is going well) and you have to margin this bet with other ‘safe’ bets. i.e., you don’t want to tag your team with Hamilton, Pujols, Hamels and other injury risks, as much as you possibly can anyway.

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  29. Moves Like Munenori says:

    He left out the part about how frustrating it will be to own Hamilton, playing him when he’s benched or goes 0-5 with 4 k’s and benching him when he has 3 steals…call that emotion or what you will, but I’d rather have someone who does something positive most days instead of “lumpy producers.” I’d draft Hamilton but there’s no way he’ll make it low enough for me to grab him this year. The lumpiness reminds me of Nelson Cruz.

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  30. Alan says:

    Just took Hamilton in the 10th Round of a H2H Points Keeper League, it’s a weekly but no rate stats are used – Total Bases, BBs, Runs, RBIs, SB. Think it will be boom or bust but regardless will be interesting to watch him this year!

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