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Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Real McCoy | Billy Hamilton is a blur but no mirage

Hal McCoy believes in Billy Hamilton.

Billy Hamilton won’t be a mirage.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 20, 2014 at 07:39 AM | 29 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: billy hamilton, reds

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Drexl Spivey Posted: March 20, 2014 at 08:22 AM (#4674327)
The main question asked in the article is: When (if ever) should teams position a guy at second base when Billy is on second in order to create a better pick-off play at second to deter him from stealing third?
   2. Knock on any Iorg Posted: March 20, 2014 at 09:04 AM (#4674358)
Perhaps after a sufficient data set is compiled from the new defensive monitoring system (does it have a name yet?) it should be possible to develop a value for defensive positioning. Then we could weigh that against the value of Billy Hamilton taking third from second.
   3. dr. scott Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:46 PM (#4674486)
I just like the fact that he had 7 hits, 2 walks, Pinch ran 7 times and has 13 stolen bases and was caught 1. So he was on base 15 times, and attempted a steal 14 times. As he has stolen more than one base at least once, that suggests he was slacking more than once.

He is slacking a lot more in spring training this year. 11 hits, and 6 walks and only 9 attempts... all successful.
   4. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 20, 2014 at 12:59 PM (#4674496)
As he has stolen more than one base at least once, that suggests he was slacking more than once.


Or the ball was put in play on the first pitch, there was someone on base in front of him. It's still possible he's stolen successfully in almost every situation where it was possible. That's awesome.
   5. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: March 20, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4674504)
Hamilton was on base three times last year when he didn't try to steal.

1. September 18: In the second inning, he doubled. Choo took a strike and then drove him in on the second pitch. Hamilton stole four bases later in the game.
2. September 22: In the third inning, Hamilton singled and then Chris Heisey fouled out on the first pitch to end the inning. The Reds were up 7-0 at the time.
3. Also Sept. 22: In the eighth inning, Hamilton doubled and didn't try to steal as Heisey took two balls. Heisey fouled two off and then singled Hamilton home. Hamilton did have two steals that day.
   6. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: March 20, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4674506)
I know it doesn't really mean much, but I still take it as a good sign that Billy Hamilton is having a good spring. I mean, it's better than if he were having a lousy one, right?
   7. McCoy Posted: March 20, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4674519)
It didn't seem to mean much for Neifi Perez.

In OOTP Billy Hamilton comes up as a SS and he steals between 80 and 90 bases each year and yet each year his WAR is somewhere between mid-2's to mid-3's.
   8. Howie Menckel Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4674564)

Aren't all the players a blur to Hal McCoy?

#justsayin
   9. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4674565)
IT IS WHY SOFTER THROWERS like Greg Maddux, Jim Kaat and Bronson Arroyo were and are such good fielders


Didn't Maddux throw 95 in his prime?
   10. McCoy Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:19 PM (#4674578)
No. 90-91 and with a generous gun probably 92-93, though that was his early days.

If I remember correctly Greg made the switch from a four seam fastball to a two seam fastball in high school because he realized he was never going to be a flamethrower and blow the ball by hitters.
   11. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4674581)
Didn't Maddux throw 95 in his prime?

In his prime he generally threw in the high 80s. The 1993 Stats handbook says he throws a fastball that ranges from 83 to 89, and his high school scouting report has him around there too. He could probably have pumped it up a bit above that, but he was obsessed with movement rather than velocity.

The top 4 of the '93 Braves rotation was just about perfectly balanced -- two guys who threw soft (Maddux and Glavine) and two guys who threw hard (Smoltz and Avery), with one soft tosser and one hard thrower from each side.

EDIT: Coke.
   12. SteveM. Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:35 PM (#4674588)
I saw Hamilton in Louisville last summer and he is a fun player to watch. I know stolen bases are overrated, but speed does make for a more fun game to watch.
   13. McCoy Posted: March 20, 2014 at 03:43 PM (#4674593)
When Bryce Harper first came up he was like a tornado on the basepath. It didn't accomplish much in the grand scheme of things but you learned quickly that you didn't take your eyes off him until he was in the dugout.
   14. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: March 20, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4674611)
When Bryce Harper first came up he was like a tornado on the basepath. It didn't accomplish much in the grand scheme of things but you learned quickly that you didn't take your eyes off him until he was in the dugout.


My favorite Bryce Harper play.

For those who can’t watch it: He crushes a line drive hit to right field. The right fielder lazily sits back, bobbles it slightly, and lobs the ball back to the infield. ...But Harper was watching the whole time. And as soon as he saw the outfielder was being lazy (playing back on the ball, not running in on it), he decided he was going for two, and he winds up with a double on a head-first slide.

Just…really remarkable baseball. He has to be the only person in the game who gets to second base on that hit.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: March 20, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4674644)
When (if ever) should teams position a guy at second base when Billy is on second in order to create a better pick-off play at second to deter him from stealing third?

Right after BB'ing Votto, duh. :-)
   16. gehrig97 Posted: March 20, 2014 at 05:45 PM (#4674649)
What's the word on Hamilton's defense?
   17. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: March 20, 2014 at 06:40 PM (#4674661)
In OOTP Billy Hamilton comes up as a SS and he steals between 80 and 90 bases each year and yet each year his WAR is somewhere between mid-2's to mid-3's.


I used him as CF and leadoff hitter, won a couple of pennants, tried him at 2B one year to disastrous effect, moved him back, then he suffered a career ending injury.
   18. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 07:29 PM (#4674667)
Just…really remarkable baseball. He has to be the only person in the game who gets to second base on that hit.


Trut does that once a month. Seriously. Anything not AT an outfielder is a potential double.
   19. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 09:24 PM (#4674685)
What's the word on Hamilton's defense?


Good speed (obvs), bad routes, below average.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:59 PM (#4674706)
He'll have a different shape to his batting line and he won't have the defense, but somebody like Gary Pettis may not be a bad comp. Through age 30, Pettis was -48 Rbat on a 76 OPS+ (seems it should be worse) but added 39 runs between baserunning and DP avoidance. That was enough to make basically a league average offensive player. Ichiro added about 10 runs a year between those two. Last year Alexei Ramirez (284/313/380) was -11 Rbat and Andrus (271/328/331) was -12 ... Hamilton won't have to hit very much to be a league average offensive player especially since his baserunning may be mind-blowing.

Tony Campana can fly. According to b-r, he's had 188 SB opps and attempted to steal 69 times. Hamilton won't get 188 opps this year but I imagine he'll run more often. Campana is 62 for 69 in his career. His Rbase is +13 (includes a lot of PR) plus another +3 in Rdp in only about a half-season of PAs.

Then there's Womack. At his peak (ages 27-31 so he was probably losing some speed by then) he averaged 9-10 runs per year in Rbase + Rdp.

So it seems reasonable to put Hamilton in the 10-15 category.

He'll have a career of at least a 2-3,000 PA -- even Womack and his 74 OPS+ was above replacement for those years -- the defense and OBP will determine how much longer he lasts.
   21. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: March 21, 2014 at 12:37 AM (#4674710)
I like Tony Womack as a comp. I'd forgotten about him.
   22. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 21, 2014 at 01:46 AM (#4674721)
In OOTP Billy Hamilton comes up as a SS and he steals between 80 and 90 bases each year and yet each year his WAR is somewhere between mid-2's to mid-3's.

Are his SS defensive ratings disastrous? That would wipe out a lot of his value.
   23. bjhanke Posted: March 21, 2014 at 03:51 AM (#4674727)
You play the second baseman right in front of Billy, so Billy can't see when the ball actually leaves the pitcher's hand. Me? I just want to see one year - just one - where MLB rescinds the foul-strike rule. Then we could actually compare Billy Hamiltons. - Brock Hanke
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 08:46 AM (#4674743)
I saw Hamilton in Louisville last summer and he is a fun player to watch. I know stolen bases are overrated, but speed does make for a more fun game to watch.

Speed, yes. Stolen bases, no.

The string of endless pick-off throws to first becomes mind-numbing relatively quickly.
   25. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:08 AM (#4674788)
Speed, yes. Stolen bases, no.

The string of endless pick-off throws to first becomes mind-numbing relatively quickly.


Nuts to that. Sure, time-killing throws to first with some non-stolen base threat over there can get old (though it's not nearly as excruciating as some cranks around here make it out).

But if you've got a legitimate SB threat on the bases, and they don't come any more legit than this kid, then the moves to keep him close are not mind numbing at all. That's ####### baseball.

   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 10:44 AM (#4674812)
Nuts to that. Sure, time-killing throws to first with some non-stolen base threat over there can get old (though it's not nearly as excruciating as some cranks around here make it out).

But if you've got a legitimate SB threat on the bases, and they don't come any more legit than this kid, then the moves to keep him close are not mind numbing at all. That's ####### baseball.


Yeah, there's no accounting for taste. I despise the pitcher/base-stealer dance.

Give me doubles and triples and first-to-third, and hit-and-runs all day long. But spare me the stolen base.
   27. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 21, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4674894)
Yeah, there's no accounting for taste.


Head injury, perhaps. (-:

I can understand not liking holding the runner, even if I think you're wrong. But not liking the SB/CS is just flat out weird to me.
   28. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 21, 2014 at 03:53 PM (#4674993)
Does Snapper dislike the stolen base or just the ancillary crap that comes with it? Y'know the, step off, courtesy throw off, step off, give a nasty look, visit from the catcher to discuss what pitch to throw if we ever get around to throwing the baseball, step off quick throw over while the guy is half a step off the bag...or as we call it in Boston "the Buchholz."

I have a recollection of Bill James discussing this in one of the abstracts talking about artificial turf. The idea being that one of the odd things about speed is that it actually winds up slowing the game down.
   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 21, 2014 at 04:49 PM (#4675037)
Does Snapper dislike the stolen base or just the ancillary crap that comes with it? Y'know the, step off, courtesy throw off, step off, give a nasty look, visit from the catcher to discuss what pitch to throw if we ever get around to throwing the baseball, step off quick throw over while the guy is half a step off the bag...or as we call it in Boston "the Buchholz."

The ancillary crap.

I hate the current pace of the game, and base stealers make it even worse.

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