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Billy Hamilton -- OF – Cincinnati Reds
Height: 6'0" Weight: 160 lbs. -- Hits: Both Throws: Right
2013 Stats (AAA) – .256/.308/.343, 6 HR, 41 RBI, 75 Runs, 75 Steals
Billy Hamilton is one of if not the fastest players in the minor leagues. I can say this with assurance because I have seen him run…a lot. Hamilton has stole 395 bases in five minor league season while being successful 82.4% of the time. While there is no doubting his wheels there is much to worry about with his bat. Hamilton tore up single-A and double-A in 2012 raking to the tune of .311/.410/.420 triple slash with 155 stolen bases. If you take away the 337 at bats for single-A Bakersfield Hamilton hit just .270 in the minor leagues with a .332 OBP. If he can do that at the major league level he will have success. However, his bat is slow and he lacks any sort of power whatsoever. It is yet to be seen if Hamilton can get around on a plus major league fastball. He is an exceptional bunter which will keep the corners in at all times which should help him slap plenty of infield hits. A more concerning fact for Hamilton is his ability to see the ball much better from the right side. His on-base percentages from the right side the past three seasons were .357, .418, .324 while from the left side they were .297, .392, .283. Considering he’ll face a lot more right handed pitching at the next level these numbers are cause for concern. Because his game is so one dimensional, Hamilton’s success will be directly tied into whether or not he can get on base. Once he is there he can swipe bags with the best that MLB has to offer. He needs to mix up his approach however because he attempted to steal on an amazing 71.4% of first pitch attempts after reaching base. Defensively he is still quite raw in the outfield. He uses his speed to make up for a lack of initial jump on fly balls. His arm is a tick below average which was one of the reasons he didn’t stick at shortstop.
Hamilton can be a difference maker on your Fantasy team in 2014. But he also could be the single biggest bust in Fantasy Baseball history. Despite his immense speed there are some severe limitations to Hamilton’s game. His lack of any potential power limits his Fantasy value a great deal. His slow bat will undoubtedly cost him plenty of points off his batting average. His inability to get on base against right handed pitching will limit his number of stolen base attempts. His inexperience in the outfield makes him suspect on defense which could cause him to lose at-bats. These are all legitimate arguments against making Hamilton a top 100 player in drafts this year. But there is the potential here to steal 80+ bases in which case he can single handedly win a category for you. The best Fantasy Baseball players in the world are able to weigh these potential outcomes and determine the right spot to take a chance on Billy Hamilton. If you take him in the early rounds you are going to cost yourself a ton of home runs, RBIs and plenty of batting average points as well. It is usually the weaker players who reach on one dimensional players in the draft. There is no sense in taking somebody in the sixth round who may spend a lot of time at triple-A Louisville this year. If you are looking for one dimensional speed guys chances are players such as Michael Bourn and Ben Revere will be available to you in much later rounds. Everyone wants the new toy to play with but the hype surrounding Hamilton’s arrival far outweighs his logical prognosis for 2014 and beyond.
Vince Coleman – The similarities are endless but it all comes down to amazing speed.
Willy Taveras – Once the toast of speedy prospects but couldn’t hit enough to stick around in the big leagues.
Drafted in the 6th round (77th overall) in the FSTA Experts League Draft