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Saturday 20th Jan 2018

As we wind down a season that is still rather uncertain with respect to a Bay Area post-season, we can finish up the last couple of Hotpages with some folks I would be shy of in the coming season, starting with perhaps the most interesting rookie of 2014, Billy Hamilton (OF, Reds).

No one ever questioned Hamilton's speed, an important aspect of the game, and just his presence on the bases might be at the Major League level. But, back in March, I made an argument that Ben Revere was a much better gamble than Hamilton, so let's just see:

Hamilton 60 22 28 554 72 56 23 .255 .296 .657
Revere 195 19 19 572 68 47 8 .308 .325 .690

So, not a huge difference in Tout, but $9 in LABR, and an amazing 135 NFBC ADP differential, and that is enough to win or lose a title.

As I have noted a few weeks back, when looking at the young hitters I like, and why, the focus went to walks and strikeouts. I really look to those numbers in both pitchers and hitters, as a matter of fact, for the more walks a hitter gets, generally the better a judge of the zone he is. Similarly, the more often he will get on base, the more often the chance for something to happen on his behalf.

The corollary is that a pitcher who does not allow walks has a better command of the zone, and, thus the less guys will get on base, and similarly there will be fewer chances for a run to score.

So, back to Hamilton, I simply don't see him getting better at the zone, or at reading pitchers (the 23 caught stealings are a tad alarming). True, his 56 steals probably put you near, if not atop the swipes category in your league, but among the big stealers--Hamilton, Gordon, Altuve and Revere--Billy was the worst investment by a long shot.

I think 2015 will show his true colors--that is, whether he can learn or simply be exploited--as a hitter, and for a few bucks (less than $10, depending upon the format) I can see the steals gamble. Chances are, though, I would rather let someone else crapshoot and try to scrounge my steals from a bunch of Lorenzo Cain-type guys. 

Brandon Moss (1B/OF, Athletics): I suspect no one misses the presence of Yoenis Cespedes like Moss, who has hit 55 dingers for Oakland over the past two years, but just two of them since the trade of the former Oakland left fielder. I think he can still bang 20 big flies with 400-plus at-bats, but I see all his other numbers taking a tumble.

Charlie Blackmon (OF, Rockies): Raise your hand if this surprises you. Take away Charlie's red-hot April (.374-5-18 with seven swipes) and you have a fairly pedestrian .268-13-53-21 line over 470 at-bats. Serviceable as a fourth outfielder, sure, but nothing to build around or gamble on. In fact, as a freeze over $5, that is a gamble.

Danny Santana  (OF/SS, Twins): I have to tell you that I have Santana as a $1 FAAB purchase, having gotten him hoping for ten swipes right when Minnesota advanced him. So, the fact that I have his .318-7-39 line with 19 steals for the measly dollar is terrific (it is also the kind of payoff that wins pennants), not to mention his playing both in the outfield and middle infield. But, 18 walks to 87 strikeouts tells me the league of pitchers will adjust and exploit him next year. Truth is I want him to do well, but I am not willing to go too far in support of it.

Jay Bruce (OF, Reds): I have noted for a few years that Bruce was the new Adam Dunn, and got a lot of pushback in saying so. And, the reality is, I like Dunn, who does have power and can take a walk. In fact, he is one of those guys who hits .220, but can register a .350 OBP in the process. So, I meant it as a compliment.

I will now change my assessment: Dunn is a lot better. I think the league has indeed figured Bruce out, and this is his level. Unlike Dunn, when Bruce hits .220, his OBP is .280. 


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