Tag Archive | "Stolen Bases"

Finders Keepers: Billy Hamilton

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Finders Keepers: Billy Hamilton

Posted on 27 August 2012 by T.J. McDonald

With the fantasy season winding down and the fantasy playoffs starting soon, we have come to the end of the Finder Keepers series. Before I do, as promised last week, I will give you one more potential keeper prospect.  My number one rated offensive keeper prospect is the one and only, already legendary base stealer, Billy Hamilton. In this final installment I will give you a little information on him, his keeper potential and value, as well as talk a little about his rumored September call up.

Billy Hamilton was drafted in the second round of the 2009 major league baseball draft out of Taylorsville High School by the Cincinnati Reds. He was ranked as the 50th best prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America prior to the 2011 season and became the 12th minor league player to have 100 stolen bases in a season with 103 SBs while hitting .278.

He then moved up to the 48th ranked prospect by Baseball America prior to this season before taking the baseball world by storm, catching everyone’s attention by breaking Vince Coleman’s 29 year old professional record of 145 stolen bases on August 21st.

By mid season, he had climbed the prospect ranks reaching #27 on Keith Law’s mid season prospect rank. His remarkable baseball stealing skills have made him one of the most talked about prospects in all of baseball this year. He is so fast on the base paths that he has been known to score on a sac fly from second.

He is currently at 150 SBs on the seaon as of this writing.  He has been so dominate in the base stealing department this year that he leads the AA Southern League with 45 SBs in 42 games having only debuted in AA a little over a month ago on July 11th.  He also still leads the High-A California league by 19 SBs and hasn’t played a game at High-A since July 7th.  He is hitting .320 this year, a .042 point improvement from last year, and looks to have become a good switch hitter, which he has been working on since being drafted and hitting .311 from the left side this year, his weak side.

With this unheard-of-speed, there have been rumors of the Cincinnati Reds calling him up come September, when rosters expand, strictly for pinch running purposes. The manager of the Reds, Dusty Baker, seems very high on his future, stating recently, “I know the guy’s who records he broke, I know Vince Coleman. I know Donnel Nixon. That’s a tremendous feat. The amount of running you have to do. Your legs have to be in great shape. With sliding, your body takes a pounding. The fact that he’s been able to do that and stay healthy is remarkable.” “Someday, he’ll be here and be a tremendous force.” Lately it sounds like that day may be here sooner than some expected with Baker also stating, “It’s been discussed, It’s not my decision. You’ve got a lot to factor here. Once you put him on the roster, you’ve got to keep him on the roster. . . We’ve asked about him big time. But there’s more factors.” Couple that with GM Walt Jocketty’s comments recently, when he said, “We obviously are having very serious discussions about it, I don’t think he’s ready to play at this level but he certainly could run the bases.”, and I would not be surprised if we saw Hamilton causing havoc on the base paths in September as a pinch runner in the big leagues.

To put his feat into fantasy prospect Mike Trout is leading the majors with 41 stolen bases, Rajai Davis second with 39 and Michael Bourn third with 35.  If an owner owned all three of these players he would still be 34 stolen bases behind Hamilton alone in the stolen base category this season. Theoretically speaking if Hamilton continues his dominance  on the base paths in the majors he could single-handedly win you the stolen base category without a single stolen base from another player on your roster all year. This coupled with his good average, on base percentage and the prospect of him hitting lead off and getting a high number of at bats for your fantasy team. He is my number one rated offensive keeper prospect in my prospect keeper evaluations. While there is some concern that he may not stick at short stop long term, as the Red’s are currently have rookie Zack Cozart playing well at the short stop position. He will steal bases regardless of where he plays and the Reds will find an everyday spot for him as early as next year.  While at the beginning of the year it seemed far fetched that Hamilton would debut this year it does not seem so now and while he will not play on an everyday basis and probably won’t start, if called up we will get a good look at his base stealing abilities.  He may not break camp with the big league club at the beginning of next year. However I do foresee him getting the call at some point next season and becoming an everyday player. Hamilton is owned in %3 of ESPN leagues, 3% of Yahoo leagues and 26% of CBS leagues. Don’t be the one weeping, find him and keep him. I grade his keeper potential as an A+.

As the fantasy baseball season winds down and comes to a close I hope you have enjoyed both the Welcome to the bigs, kids series as well as Finders Keepers. In these series combined I have profiled eight potential keeper prospects and hope you will reference them the rest of the season in your search for the best available keeper prospects in your dynasty/keeper league.

Will you be picking up and keeping Billy Hamilton? Do you foresee a September call up and do you think he can keep up his remarkable base stealing feats at the major league level? Let me know in the comments and as always follow me on twitter @FantasyzrTJ. Also, be sure to check out Blake Murphy’s Cincinnati Reds’ Farm System Report for more on Hamilton and other Reds’ prospects to keep an eye on.

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Trading Down

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Trading Down

Posted on 09 April 2012 by Dennis Lawson

Trading Places

With a couple of games in the books, maybe your team appears to be slightly under-performing projections or your expectations.  Maybe that young bull of a middle infielder everybody was hyping is 0-7 and has not hit a ball out of the infield.  Or maybe you spent your top draft pick on a first baseman who has a .150 OPS to this point.  Obviously, you know not to panic, but do you know what to start looking around for right now?

Look around you for owners who are attempting to trade down as a knee-jerk reaction to slow starts by some of their players.  Obviously, veteran owners know better than overreact in the season’s first week, but some less experienced owners could be tempted into what appears to be a fair trade at the moment.  Here are 10 players that just might pique your interest.

  1. Carlos Marmol – Ignore the 27.00 ERA and 6.000 WHIP coming into the day.  Marmol has a reputation for going off the reservation at times, but he usually manages to get back on track.  He has averaged 100 strikeouts per 162 games for his career, and he has 5 consecutive seasons of 90+ strikeouts.  If someone panics on Marmol, be ready with to make an offer, if you need a 2nd closer.
  2. Matt Holliday – His .125 average and 2 rbi do not impress, but Holliday will find his stroke eventually.  The issue is whether or not you can snag him on the cheap before he finds it again.
  3. Scott Rolen – Maybe his shoulder issues will catch up to Rolen again this season, but you can count on Rolen to make the necessary adjustments and improve on his .143 average with 0 home runs and 0 rbi.
  4. Chase Headley – Do not be held off by Headley’s 6 strikeouts in 11 plate appearances.  Once he gets it rolling, he can be a .260-.270 hitter with double digit stolen bases.  Maybe that won’t crack your starting lineup, but in leagues that carry 6 outfielder positions, he might be a good 5th or 6th slot guy, even though he’s playing 3B this season.
  5. Aramis Ramirez – Ramirez may not be driving the ball right now, but he will.  Once he does start hitting, the Milwaukee lineup should give him plenty of rbi opportunities.
  6. Hunter Pence – Pence probably could not maintain a slugging percentage of .125, even if he tried.  At least, so goes the traditional thinking.  Maybe his warmup swings remind you of a hack golfer searching for his ball in the weeds with a pitching wedge, but it works.
  7. Todd Helton – You simply will not convince me anytime soon that Helton has forgotten how to hit a baseball.  Ignore the slow start and consider grabbing him, if you need a corner infielder or have a corner infielder with an injury history.
  8. Carlos Lee – Despite playing for what appears to be a slowly dismantling Astros team, Lee managed 94 rbi last season, and I see no reason why he cannot get to at least 80-85 this season.  Lee’s batting average, slugging, and OPS may vary greatly from year to year, but he has averaged 107 rbi per 162 games during his career.
  9. Shane Victorino – Just give Victorino time, and he will be hitting .270 and stealing a base every 5 game or so.  The object here is to find someone unwilling to wait until he does.  When they want to trade down, then there is your opportunity to trade up.
  10. Freddie Freeman – People already bailing out on Freeman could regret their decisions in a matter of weeks or even just days.  This early in the season, guys like Freeman need just a good couple of at-bats to right the ship.  Sadly, some owners will not give him the chance.

While I found it tempting to simply pull names at random from a hat, I instead went through Yahoo’s search tool to locate players who had dropped 3 or more points in terms of league ownership.  Oddly enough, Roy Halladay was only owned in 97% of all leagues, so that probably provides a good indicator of how many defunct leagues exist already.


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DOs And DONTs: St. Louis Cardinals

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DOs And DONTs: St. Louis Cardinals

Posted on 23 February 2012 by Dennis Lawson

Adam Wainwright clocked at 92 mpg tossing Yoda

The St. Louis Cardinals are not bad this season.  They have just been drawn that way.  Losing an all-world player at first base has a way of changing perceptions, though.  Too bad.  If any team can overcome the loss of a future Hall of Fame manager, future Hall of Fame 1B, and arguably the game’s best pitching coach, it just might be the Cardinals.  Not many teams could absorb the loss of a 5.4 WAR player (Pujols) while adding back a 5.9 WAR player (Wainwright) who lost a year to injury.    Still, they need some guys to step up, if they hope to top 90 wins again and at least sneak into the playoffs.  Fortunately for the Cardinals, their roster has no shortage of potential candidates to make that step this season.

Do look for an opportunity to draft Adam Wainwright after a few rounds of pitchers come off the big board.  He looks to be recovering just fine from Tommy John surgery, but it would be a mistake to rely too heavily on a guy who likely will not pitch more than 175-180 innings.

Despite Yadier Molina‘s slash line of .305/.349/.465/.814, don’t take Molina too early.  There are at least a half-dozen more productive catchers in the game.  He may be around the top 10 in all of MLB, and he certainly makes the top 5 in the National League.

Don’t go looking for speed on the Cardinals.  You will not find it in the dugout, in the locker room, or on the field.  It just is not there.  Even if the team takes a more aggressive approach to stealing bases under new manager Mike Matheny, we are still talking about a team on which 15 stolen bases could set the pace.  Look elsewhere for someone to pad the stolen base numbers.

Do keep in mind that Matt Holliday consistently provides solid numbers as an outfielder.  In 2011, he managed 83 runs scored and 75 RBI despite playing in only 124 games due to injury and a fight with a moth.  Also, do remember Lance Berkman, because Berkman managed some stout numbers (.959 OPS) while qualifying for both the outfield and 1B.

Don’t reach for any of the starting pitchers, but do keep Chris Carpenter, Kyle Lohse, and Jaime Garcia in mind when you need to round out your staff with guys who can get you double digit wins.

Reigning World Series MVP David Freese may not project to a top tier guy at the hot corner, but his stock should still be on the rise after he crammed 21 RBI into 18 postseason games in 2011.  The downside to Freese is that he has never stayed healthy enough to reach 100 games played during the regular season.  Still, Freese’s potential make him an interesting candidate, especially for fantasy players who have a “corner infield” position to fill.

Steer clear of Rafael Furcal, Daniel Descalso, Tyler Greene, and Skip Schumaker.  Just say “no”.  Don’t be overly tempted by Allen Craig, either.  Despite Craig’s propensity to hit for both power and average, he simply does not have a starting job and only appeared in 75 games last season.  If you want to take a flyer on someone who could pick up a lot of at-bats due to his ability to back up injured players at several positions, then Craig might be the guy.

Do keep in mind that Carlos Beltran and Jon Jay both potentially provide value for your outfield.  When you need to fill 6 outfield slots, there are only so many superstars to go around.  Fine.  It may very well be the other 4 outfielders you draft that make the difference, though.  Players like Jay (.350 lifetime OBP) and Beltran (84 RBI, 78 runs in 2011), should make it onto your radar after the halfway point of your draft.

Do remember Jason Motte when you start getting into the 2nd tier of closers.  In 68 innings, he struck out 63 while compiling a 2.25 ERA and .956 WHIP.  If only Motte had been the closer for the entire season, maybe he would be forcing his name into that conversation for “elite” status.  Until then, he wins the unofficial title of “Best Returning Closer with only 9 Saves” from last season.

Feel free to comment or provide constructive criticism.  The comment section for this article would be ideal for feedback.  If you use the Twitter, then you can find me there (@gr33nazn), and I welcome a slight amount of ridicule there as well.  Please DO take time to read the other DOs and DONTs articles that the excellent team of writers (plus me) has taken the time to put together.  Each one reads like an insider cheat sheet for each team.  Thanks for following along and good luck on draft day.

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