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The Billy Hamilton Exception

What about guys that don’t take walks, have low batting averages, don’t like lemon meringue pie, and just have a stink-up-the-house OBP % in general?

It’s a bit more difficult to justify rostering these types of runners, although Billy Hamilton is an exception to my own rule. Once Hamilton does get on base, there’s a hell of a good chance he’s stealing second. Hamilton was a fantastic GPP play last season in 2015 for me, and I’ll be using him again this season. His scary AVG and OBP, and many other outliers, kept some DFS owners away, which is key for GPP play. Determining whether to use Hamilton for cash leagues is a different animal altogether and really depends on the salary value at hand and the lineup situation.

Let’s dig into Hamilton a bit more just for fun:

• In 2015, Hamilton reached base 124 times in 412 official at-bats, including hits, walks, hit-by-pitch, and reached-on-error.
• He had an 88 SB %, swiping 57 bases in 65 attempts. Yep, Hamilton was caught stealing only eight times, a drastic improvement over 2014 where he was caught stealing 23 times in 79 attempts.
• This is my favorite: Hamilton had a 52 SB Attempt % (65 total SB attempts / 124 total times reached base). So, there’s some good statistical support from 2015 to suggest – a one in two chance – that if Hamilton gets on base he’ll attempt a theft.

Here are some of my favorite key pieces of personal research if I’m going to roster Hamilton and others like him:

Talent-to-Salary Value Risk – Is the salary worth taking a chance on? There are times you’re going to get a giant goose egg with Hamilton-types.
Streaks – Don’t get too worked up over a base stealer in the middle of a hot streak. Just because Hamilton is having a hot week, it doesn’t mean he’s going to have two hot weeks in a row. And, vice versa. Pay attention to more reasonably predictable numbers when it comes to speedsters.
First Half vs. Second Half – There’s a general perception that runners will slow down in the second half of MLB play due to the wear-and-tear of a long season. Do I believe it? Somewhat. I’m really only talking about mega-speedsters, like Hamilton, that pretty much make their living swiping bases. My general take is that they will wear down some. Remember, I’m more concerned about wear-and-tear with specific one-trick pony stealers like Hamilton. I’m not worried about SB as a whole across the league in the second half of play (there is always value to be found), especially when you consider youngsters that get called-up late in season who are eager to make themselves known on the base paths.
Batting Order – This is pretty obvious, but is your non-lemon-meringue-pie-eating speedster hitting leadoff, 8th, or 9th? Opportunity, folks, opportunity.
RS % – If you’re ever considering a speedster for your lineup, look at run scoring percentage. It’s a good indicator, correlating somewhat in the base stealers’ ability to net you more fantasy points via runs scored. The idea being: if my guy can get to second base there’s an excellent chance he’s scoring on a single. There are other variables, of course, but I’m laying things out simply. Hamilton had a 43 RS % last year. Not bad at all when you consider the league average is about 30 %. You’ll take that every time, won’t ya?

Yes, there are others, like Hamilton, who can provide excellent overlooked value for your lineups at a reasonable salary cost. I’d keep my eye on these guys this season when looking for value:

Jarrod Dyson, KC, OF – Dyson hasn’t had a ton of at-bats over his career, although he should see a bump in production this season with additional playing time as the Royals’ outfield situation is not settled. If Dyson is in the Royals’ lineup for the day/night, he is a serious undervalued stolen base commodity. Also, you’re not going to see his salary price go crazy this season – guaranteed.
Jose Reyes, COL, SS – There’s some obvious negatives here, with Reyes’ possible suspension, his age, injury history, and declining stolen base production, but if all the stars align, and he can get back on the field, I’d be happy to go his way for SB production in GPP play while others snub their noses.
Anthony Gose, DET, OF – Gose is a good early-season target, especially with Cameron Maybin out of action to injury. He’ll see more at-bats coming his way. In general, I won’t be surprised to see a nice bump in SB production this season.
Leonys Martin, SEA, OF – Does a change of scenery help Martin? Yep, I believe so. We know the guy has 30-plus SB ability and with a place reserved for him in the Mariners outfield he’ll be an under-the-radar source of value for your GPP lineups.
Billy Burns, OAK, OF – Burns shouldn’t really be bunched in with the above names here since his .334 OBP % in 2015 isn’t horrible, but I wanted to bring up two points: 1) Hall of Famer Ricky Henderson is working with Burns on his base stealing technique. 2) Burns has incredible raw speed. Don’t forget that.

You can make something from nothing with these guys, right? Sure you can. Billy Hamilton appreciates it.

What about guys that don’t take walks, have low batting averages, don’t like lemon meringue pie, and just have a stink-up-the-house OBP % in general?

It’s a bit more difficult to justify rostering these types of runners, although Billy Hamilton is an exception to my own rule. Once Hamilton does get on base, there’s a hell of a good chance he’s stealing second. Hamilton was a fantastic GPP play last season in 2015 for me, and I’ll be using him again this season. His scary AVG and OBP, and many other outliers, kept some DFS owners away, which is key for GPP play. Determining whether to use Hamilton for cash leagues is a different animal altogether and really depends on the salary value at hand and the lineup situation.

Let’s dig into Hamilton a bit more just for fun:

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