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Saturday, July 07, 2012

Billy Hamilton’s speed in context

This analysis ignores that teams also don’t run as often because of the sabermetric movement. Yes, teams pay more attention to the running game now.  That’s not the only reason for fewer stolen bases, however. To me, Vince Coleman is his comp. I suspect, if he can continue to progress offensively, he’ll generate slightly lower season-to-season totals than Coleman. As a result, he’ll be valuable to the Reds and even more valuable to Roto players.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 07, 2012 at 08:30 AM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: reds, scouting

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   1. The District Attorney Posted: July 07, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4175656)
It's interesting to note that Hamilton is putting up Coleman-like SB stats in an environment where there are fewer steals. That doesn't actually make the basestealing more valuable, though. Babe Ruth out-homering the rest of the league with 54 homers, or whatever it was, didn't make him as valuable as if a modern player hit 2500 homers. I guess this author doesn't say Hamilton's stealing is more valuable than Coleman's; the word he uses is "impressive." I don't really know what that means.

The larger point, of course, is that it's freakin' wackamaroo and cool that there's a 21-year-old top prospect on pace to put up a .400+ OBP and steal 170 bases. (And who also shares a name with a similar, unjustly forgotten Hall of Famer from a century ago). I have no idea if having such a prospect do such a thing makes any sense from the point of view of grooming a baseball player, but it is exceedingly neat.
   2. booond Posted: July 07, 2012 at 05:36 PM (#4175690)
How fast is Billy Hamilton? Incredibly fast, but we don't really have the objective measurements to quantify it. Would he look out of place running against the likes of Usain Bolt and the world’s top sprinters? Again, we don’t know, but probably not.


There is a huge difference between sports speed and sprinting speed. Chances are Hamilton would get crushed in an NCAA championship 100 meters, let alone running against Bolt, Blake and Gay.
   3. GregD Posted: July 07, 2012 at 05:45 PM (#4175691)
How fast is Billy Hamilton? Incredibly fast, but we don't really have the objective measurements to quantify it.
I heard they invented this cool new instrument. What's it called? Rhymes with botch
   4. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 07, 2012 at 05:46 PM (#4175692)
How's Hamilton's defense? Even if he never hits he could have a long career as a very useful utility infielder/pinch runner extraordinaire.

I'm actually curious why the fastest man in organized baseball is playing shortstop and not center field. Has he tried outfield in the past and displayed very poor instincts?
   5. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: July 07, 2012 at 05:54 PM (#4175696)
A portion of the Reds' blogosphere believes that he's destined for center field. I think some Reds fans are hoping that Hamilton's ceiling is similar to Brett Gardner with worse (but still above-average defense) and more steals. I would personally be thrilled with that outcome, but I don't think it's that likely.
   6. booond Posted: July 07, 2012 at 06:08 PM (#4175702)
How's Hamilton's defense?


From what I've read his arm won't play at short. Hopefully, they make the move to the OF or 2b sooner than later.
   7. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: July 07, 2012 at 06:33 PM (#4175712)
There is absolutely no way in hell I would let Hamilton play second base. He's a professional baseball player because of his legs; I'm not putting them in harm's way.
   8. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: July 07, 2012 at 07:05 PM (#4175726)
Hamilton isn't even the fastest guy in the Reds system, iirc - but can accelerate like nobody's business + is Ambitious on the base paths.

I like him at 2b, but moving to cf is the right move, I think.
   9. booond Posted: July 07, 2012 at 07:28 PM (#4175748)
There is absolutely no way in hell I would let Hamilton play second base. He's a professional baseball player because of his legs; I'm not putting them in harm's way.


He's a professional baseball player only if he gets on base. His legs are an extra. He should play where he helps the team the best.
   10. AROM Posted: July 07, 2012 at 09:07 PM (#4175823)
Brandon Phillips will be blocking him at second for a while. If he can't stick at short, he'll have to play OF.
   11. PreservedFish Posted: July 07, 2012 at 10:07 PM (#4175892)
He's a professional baseball player only if he gets on base. His legs are an extra.


False dichotomy. Legs help him get on base.
   12. PreservedFish Posted: July 07, 2012 at 10:48 PM (#4175920)
Also: was it so long ago that Tom Goodwin and Brian L Hunter stalked the major leagues? I wonder how many organizations there still are that are happy to give ABs to a guy that can steal 70 bases with a 75 OPS+. And what if that guy can steal 120 bases?
   13. PreservedFish Posted: July 07, 2012 at 10:54 PM (#4175927)
Third: how many times has a player's SB total beat his OPS+? Coleman did it his first three years running, but sadly his steals declined as his hitting improved. Henderson did it only in his record breaking year. Bill Bergen did it in 1909: 4 steals, 1 OPS+.
   14. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: July 07, 2012 at 11:02 PM (#4175931)
Third: how many times has a player's SB total beat his OPS+? Coleman did it his first three years running, but sadly his steals have declined as his hitting improved. Henderson did it only in his record breaking year. Bill Bergen did it in 1909: 4 steals, 1 OPS+.

Omar Moreno, 1980.
EDIT: Ron LeFlore, also 1980.
   15. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 07, 2012 at 11:12 PM (#4175934)
He's a professional baseball player only if he gets on base. His legs are an extra. He should play where he helps the team the best.
A truly great baserunner can add a win or two just with his speed and skill on the bases. No baseball skills are "extra", all baseball skills are as important as the runs and wins they can add to the bottom line.
   16. AROM Posted: July 07, 2012 at 11:44 PM (#4175947)
Vince Coleman added 48 runs with his feet from 1985-87. That's baserunning + avoiding DP. He was an average player despite a bat that was below average overall, and well below average for left field. He would have been extremely valuable if he had good enough instincts to be the defensive asset that his kind of speed should be.

   17. Bug Selig Posted: July 09, 2012 at 09:32 AM (#4176821)
Hamilton isn't even the fastest guy in the Reds system, iirc


When you throw something like this out there, shouldn't you name the faster chap?
   18. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: July 09, 2012 at 09:45 AM (#4176837)
This is what I was thinking of (not exactly consistent with my above quote), from a 5/15/12 BA article:

Wherever he ends up playing in the big leagues, Hamilton will undoubtedly be stealing plenty of bases. Maybe one of the most surprising of all the Hamilton tall tales is this—he's not the fastest player in the game. In fact, he might not even be the fastest Reds player if you timed them in a 100-meter dash.

But he is the quickest player in the game, and it's his ability to reach full speed in an instant that makes him such a threat on the bases.

[...]

"He's at full speed in the first two steps," said Benavides, adding that even the quickest deliveries to the plate aren't fast enough to nab Hamilton. "I see pitchers with 1.1 (seconds) slide steps and it doesn't stop him. He's fearless. He gets a big lead against a guy with a 1.0 to 1.1 slide step and he's gone. And the catcher still needs a perfect throw to get him."
   19. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 09, 2012 at 09:53 AM (#4176842)
Third: how many times has a player's SB total beat his OPS+? Coleman did it his first three years running, but sadly his steals have declined as his hitting improved. Henderson did it only in his record breaking year. Bill Bergen did it in 1909: 4 steals, 1 OPS+.


Obviously Herb Washington, 1974.

Frank Taveras in 1977 made the 70-70 club - 70 SB with a 70 OPS+.

Maury Wills in 1962 and 1965.

Lou Brock in 1974.
   20. Chris Fluit Posted: July 09, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4176913)
Willy Taveras in 2008 (68 SB, 55 OPS+)

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