Why I Don’t Like Billy Hamilton

I don’t like Billy Hamilton. I’m sure he’s a nice guy and all, but for fantasy, I hate him. Why? Well there are three big reasons…

1. Hamilton was ranked as a top 50 player coming into this season, making him extremely overrated. I thought this was foolish at the time, but AJ Mass, fantasy columnist for ESPN, said that he would take Billy Hamilton in the first round and he gets paid to know about fantasy! (The article is retroactively even more hilarious than it was at the time and it’s a fun reread. Here’s the link: http://espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/story/_/page/mlbdk2k15_bhamilton/billy-hamilton-being-underrated-fantasy-baseball-high-stolen-base-projections).

2. Hamilton is one-dimensional to a staggering extent. For fantasy, all he does above average in a standard 5×5 league is steal bases. Last year, according to ESPN’s Player Rater, 78% of Hamilton’s value came from stolen bases. This year he’s become even more one-dimensional, garnering 95% of his value from stolen bases. This puts together a picture of a player who’s a nice player to have on your team, with lots of stolen bases and not much else, not the lousy player I believe him to be. That’s true (although that pretty much makes him Ben Revere, who’s currently unowned in 43% Yahoo league), but only if he keeps racking up those stolen bases…

3. Yeah, Hamilton’s a drain on four of five categories, but still, those stolen bases are valuable and people seem willing to ignore everything else because of the allure of those stolen bases. Well, about that… Hamilton currently leads the league in stolen bases, with 25, ahead of second-place Dee Gordon by five. That’s great. However, a couple of weeks ago, Hamilton was moved down to ninth in the order from the leadoff spot. Now it’s time to do some math. On average, over the course of a season, the difference of plate appearances between the leadoff hitter and the ninth hitter in the lineup is .88, 4.63 to 3.75. Hamilton has 25 steals in 219 plate appearances so far this year, so he steals a base once every 8.76 plate appearances. Let’s take the difference in plate appearances per game, multiply that by the number of games he has remaining, and divide that by his steal per plate appearance rate. That leaves us with 10.24. That means, that over the rest of the season, Hamilton is losing 10 stolen bases that he otherwise would have had had he continued to bat leadoff. That’s a big difference in production and a big loss in value.

To sum this all up, Billy Hamilton is a player who gets all of his value from stolen bases. Now that he’s moving down to ninth in the order, he loses 10 stolen bases, a huge portion of his value. This confluence of factors makes it easy to figure out what to do if you’ve invested significantly in the Cincinnati speedster: Run faster than Hamilton can and go find the owner in your league that still believes in Hamilton as a top-50 player and sell for whatever you can get.

If you have any questions about fantasy baseball, individual players, trade offers, rest of season outlooks, or anything else, email me at sushi.krox@gmail.com and I’ll answer your question on Sushi On Sports

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