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Cincinnati Reds OF Stolen Base Stud Billy Hamilton: Is the Price Right?

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton has surpassed 50 stolen bases each of the past three seasons providing Fantasy owners with a huge edge in speed. However, is his monumental speed worth the complete lack of power? Senior Fantasy Baseball Expert Adam Ronis weighs in...

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Like former pro wrestler Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase said, “Everybody has a price.” This mantra also applies to Fantasy Baseball. We all have certain players we don't want a part of, but if the cost is cheap, we will at the very least consider taking a shot.

In my opinion, the price is never right when it comes to Cincinnati Reds OF Billy Hamilton. The Reds outfielder gets pushed up in every draft or goes for too much money in an auction every single year. Stolen bases have decreased and it's on the mind of almost owner. When this occurs, people tend to overcompensate.

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A player like Hamilton can push you up the category instantly. Hamilton has at least 56 stolen bases in three straight seasons. He had 56 in 152 games in 2014, 57 in 114 games in 2015 and 58 last year in 119 games. Based on his success and volume the last two seasons, it's not crazy to say Hamilton can steal 70 bases this season if he plays in 150 games. Hamilton was caught stealing 23 times in 2014. The last two seasons he is 115-of-131 in stolen base attempts. Injuries have kept him off the field for some periods of time, but he has proven even in the event of missed games, Hamilton will still surpass 50 stolen bases.

Hamilton has hit .250, .226 and .260 in his three seasons. He has improved his patience each season going from a 5.6 percent walk rate as a rookie to 7.8 percent in 2016. The other positive aspect for Hamilton is he's finally starting to hit fewer fly balls and more grounders. He has no power and with his speed, he should hit on the ground as much as possible. Hamilton has a way better shot of getting an hit on a ground ball, even an infield hit because we know he has the speed to beat certain arms in Major League Baseball. Hamilton had a fly ball rate of 37 percent in his first two seasons and it dipped to 30.5 percent last season, while he had a career-high 47.7 percent ground ball rate and 21.9 percent line drive rate last year.

So, what's the problem with Hamilton? He crushes you in home runs, RBIs and even runs. Hamilton batted .260 with 69 runs, three home runs,  and 17 RBIs in 411 at-bats in 119 games. He's giving you nothing in home runs and RBIs. In today's environment, that is a huge void to fill. With more home runs being hit around the league, assuming the trend continues, you actually need more homers to keep pace. With Hamilton on the roster, you have to make up for that in a big way. While Hamilton provides a big advantage in stolen bases, that's one category. You do not need to win every category. If you don't have Hamilton or Dee Gordon, you might not finish first in steals, but still can finish in the top half of your league in the stolen base category with players that can hit for power and swipe a bag every now and then.

The one advantage of having Hamilton is if you get a big lead in steals in the middle of the season and it should be easy to trade him. I would be more inclined to trade for Hamilton in July if I was bunched with a group of teams in stolen bases because Hamilton could separate me from the pack.

As much as Hamilton helps in steals, he's a liability in too many categories. Hamilton will be a player I own no shares of in 2017. The price is too high.


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