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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: BILLY HAMILTON OUTFIELDER CINCINNATI REDS

Few players have been more polarizing in all of fantasy baseball the last few seasons than Cincinnati Reds outfield burner Billy Hamilton.  After Hamilton put up video game-like stolen base totals while in the minor leagues for the Reds, the hype machine went into overdrive when he finally made it up to the majors as prospective owners began picturing what it would be like to own a player who could top 100 in that category.  The only problem was that Hamilton needed to get on first base first in order to begin collecting steals and that initially proved to be a big problem for him as he batted a pathetic .250 and .226 his first two years in the bigs.  Despite the batting issues, Hamilton was STILL able to run wild to the tune of 56 and 57 stolen bases respectively in those two seasons which showed just how much of a difference he could make there.  Still as 2016 fantasy baseball drafts got underway, most Hamilton owners went in accepting that he was a one-category specialist and that whatever else they got would be gravy.  Much to their pleasant surprise, Hamilton did take some nice strides forward with his hitting as he pushed his batting average up to an respectable .260, while also once again running non-stop in collecting 58 steals.  In fact Hamilton would have easily sailed into the 60’s in stolen bases if not for an oblique injury that he suffered toward the end of last August which finished his season early.  Having turned 26 in September, Hamilton is not going to improve much more going forward and he remains a very limited player who will help only in steals and somewhat in runs.  In fact he somehow managed to accumulate all of 17 RBI last season in 460 at-bats which is almost impossible to believe.  Also despite the uptick to .260 with his batting average, Hamilton saw his K/9 rate jump to a high 20.2 mark (up  from 2015’s 16.5).  A .329 BABIP helped save Hamilton from another year of average negatives but the point is not to assume he will be able to repeat that .260 mark going forward.  Once again draft Hamilton just for steals and be grateful for whatever else you may get.  
2017 PROJECTION:  .255 4 HR 26 RBI 75 R 63 SB  

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