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 Post subject: Billy Hamilton
PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:17 pm 
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Just came in to pinch-run in the 9th in the opener of this critical Reds/Pirates series, stole a base, and scored the tying run (from 2nd) on an infield single. He now has more stolen bases (10-of-10) than plate appearances (9). He's also already in the top 10 in the NL in wSB, Fangraphs' cumulative base-stealing value stat.

According to this article from J.J. Cooper (Baseball America), one scout said Hamilton's 1st-to-2nd steal time betters Ricky Henderson in his prime.

Who knows if he'll ever hit enough to play everyday but he's already an enormously fun (and unique) player to watch.


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 Post subject: Re: Billy Hamilton
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:03 pm 
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nmigliore wrote:
Just came in to pinch-run in the 9th in the opener of this critical Reds/Pirates series, stole a base, and scored the tying run (from 2nd) on an infield single. He now has more stolen bases (10-of-10) than plate appearances (9). He's also already in the top 10 in the NL in wSB, Fangraphs' cumulative base-stealing value stat.

According to this article from J.J. Cooper (Baseball America), one scout said Hamilton's 1st-to-2nd steal time betters Ricky Henderson in his prime.

Who knows if he'll ever hit enough to play everyday but he's already an enormously fun (and unique) player to watch.


His speed is so exceptional that I think you could tolerate some pretty bad hitting from him and he could still be a contributor. I'm not sure if the advanced metrics support that, but he'd be a legit threat to steal 100 bases if he were to play every day, even if his OBP was below .300.

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 Post subject: Re: Billy Hamilton
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:47 pm 
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His speed at .300 slugging, probably adds .100...

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 Post subject: Re: Billy Hamilton
PostPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:56 am 
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northway wrote:
His speed is so exceptional that I think you could tolerate some pretty bad hitting from him and he could still be a contributor. I'm not sure if the advanced metrics support that, but he'd be a legit threat to steal 100 bases if he were to play every day, even if his OBP was below .300.

No, there is; you can almost think of it like a bad hitter who is acceptable because of his defense. In this case, Fangraphs uses baserunning runs above average (BsR), which, like defensive metrics, is calculated into WAR. Also like defense, exceptional baserunning can easily add 1+ win of value.

Over the last 10 seasons, the BsR single season high was +13.2 runs (or +1.3 wins) by 2007 Juan Pierre, with 19 other seasons reaching the +10 run (+1 win) marker.

Considering Hamilton's special speed, Ricky Henderson might be a more apt comparison. His single season high in BsR was +14 runs. If that seems lower than you'd expect, it is: that runs total is entirely based on stolen bases (wSB) and not advancing bases (UBR), as UBR wasn't tracked until 2002 (and together with wSB, they form baserunning runs above average: BsR). If UBR was tracked back then, I assume Ricky would've topped 2 wins from baserunning value alone multiple times.

With that said, these numbers work as counting stats, so getting on-base is kind of important here. Ricky Henderson had a career .401 OBP and even Juan Pierre has gotten on base about 34% of the time for his career.

But because of the way the Reds have used him so far, Hamilton has already added +2.9 runs from baserunning this season despite being in the Majors for just a few weeks. In fact, +2.4 of those runs have come from base-stealing (wSB), which means he's been the 6th most valuable base-stealer in the NL this season, which is pretty amazing considering he debuted just this month.

I do wonder what kind of career he'd have if they continued to use him in this type of pure pinch runner role; that way he'd be dependent on his teammates getting on base late in a game, not so much himself. So far it's worked quite well. That would be pretty fascinating to see over a full season.

One thing also worth pointing out is defense. By all indications, Hamilton has made a smooth transition to CF this season. If his speed turns out to be a real asset out there, then the bar for hitting to be an acceptable regular is even lower.


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