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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

2016 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT BUST: BILLY HAMILTON OUTFIELDER CINCINNATI REDS

Admit it.  You too got caught up in the Billy Hamilton hype prior to the 2014 season.  After Hamilton set ridiculous stolen base records the season prior in the minor leagues that evoked memories of Vince Coleman and Rickey Henderson, Hamilton's draft price skyrocketed despite the fact he had only 22 at-bats at the major league level.  Visions of 100 or even 80 stolen base flashed in most of the fantasy baseball community's minds and Hamilton ridiculously went as high as the fourth round in 2014 drafts based on that one singular skill.  While we too got a bit caught up in the hype, we did a piece prior to that season that pointed out some serious concerns about Hamilton's hitting ability and possibly trouble getting on base since he also did not take walks.  A brutal April brought those predictions to the forefront as Hamilton did in fact struggle to get hits and soon he was pushed down to the bottom of the Reds' batting order as a result.  Ultimately though, Hamilton did flash his wheels as he stole a gigantic 56 bases and even hit 6 home runs to at least yield some of the value back for the extreme price his owners paid at the draft table.  The red flags remained though as Hamilton batted just .250 and had a miserable .292 OBP that showed he was not a leadoff hitter.  So that would be the narrative for Hamilton that he took into the 2015 fantasy baseball seasons as the hype cooled more than a little.

As far as last season was concerned, Hamilton continued to run with reckless abandon as he stole 57 bases but his overall struggles with the bat were even more pronounced.  With just a 6.2 percent walk rate and a pure hacking style, Hamilton batted a woeful .226 and his OBP sank to a pathetic .274.  Included this time around were injuries as Hamilton spent time on the disabled list and ended the season needing shoulder surgery for a torn labrum.  Again the steals were tremendous (albeit lower than the 70-plus many expected) but the fact of the matter is that Hamilton just can't hit the baseball.  He is the classic case of a guy who can't steal first base and his awful OBP's make him an ill fit for the leadoff or even number 2 spot.  That means Hamilton will get placed in the dreaded number 8 spot in the order right in front of the pitcher which means he will get zilch to hit at from opposing hurlers.  Throw in the news that Hamilton is still not 100 percent recovered from the shoulder surgery and his fantasy baseball outlook for 2016 is quite murky.

Keep in mind that we are no fans of Hamilton in this corner, as we had him on our BUST list for 2015 and had no hesitation to do so again for 2016.  The steals are not as impactful as you would think as Hamilton's complete zeroes in the other four ROTO standard categories put more of a hurt on your then any positives he gives with the swipes.  Hamilton is the epitome of a one-trick pony and this trick's overall value is way too overrated for you to even think about investing in the guy this season.

2016 PROJECTION:  .235 5 HR 44 RBI 63 R 46 SB 

 

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