Is Billy Hamilton a Wise September Call Up?
Every now and then, a player comes along that really captures the attention of fantasy baseball players. Often, that’s because he has put up some gaudy minor league statistics.
Billy Hamilton is such a player. The Cincinnati Reds September call-up made the trip to The Show, because he did one thing really well: steal bases. Last year, in fact, Hamilton stole 155 bases in just 132 games! What are the odds that he can do that in the Big Leagues? Better yet, will his presence even budge the sportsbook MLB odds which are often reflected in Fantasy leagues? The fact is, the 23-year-old has 392 minor league stolen bases to his credit.
Reds’ catcher Devin Mesoraco has certainly taken notice.
“He’s amazing,” Mesoraco said while shaking his head. “Everybody in the ballpark knows he’s going to steal. Everybody knows why he’s in the game but nobody can throw him out. I don’t know how he does it. It’s been amazing to watch these last few weeks.”
Brought up primarily as a September call-up a la Herb Washington from Charlie Finley Oakland A’s fame, Hamilton has shown that he actually can play baseball beyond his blinding speed. On Sunday, he had a 3-hit game against the Pirates. It is notable that Hamilton got the start in such a key stretch run game that can help determine the National League Central race.
Hamilton’s stats now show a perfect 12-for-12 in stolen base attempts this season despite having just 14 at-bats and two starts under his belt. He has been a huge boost to owners in need of speed down the stretch, and his immense stolen base potential makes him a highly valuable keeper-league asset. And, stolen bases is one of those categories where one guy can do some significant damage down the stretch.
Hamilton’s outlook for 2014 depends a lot on what the Reds decide to do with free agent Shin-Shoo-Choo. With Hamilton’s September numbers, however, it seems as though he is ready for a permanent job at the top of the Cincinnati lineup.