Minors

Billy Bases, The Dragons Man of Steal

Friend of Redleg Nation Tom Nichols (Dayton Dragons Director of Media Relations and Broadcasting) has written a series of very interesting retrospectives on players and events pertaining to the Dragons.

He recently wrote one about Reds phenom Billy Hamilton’s time with the Dragons. Check it out.

33 thoughts on “Billy Bases, The Dragons Man of Steal

  1. The author wrote about Hamilton’s 18 steals in his first 22 games for Dayton while only batting .212.

    I think that’s the floor for what we’ll see in Cincinnati. At that clip, you’d be looking at 100 steals even with a crappy batting average.

    This is a whole new breed of cat. I can’t wait.

  2. How can anyone not be excited about BHam getting a shot at playing every day? As this article describes his season in Dayton, he represents a possibly historic performance. My hope is that he can do well enough early on to allow him to develop in the ML. It will be nice to see some speed in CF again too.

  3. Bob Nightengale at USA Today Sports is already proclaiming the Cards as pennant winners.
    “So good that the Cardinals might as well practice popping the bubbly in spring training, just to make sure nothing goes wrong in their real celebration.

    No one is going to come close to stopping this runaway train in the National League Central.

    The road to the National League pennant is I-70 through St. Louis, with the Cardinals one game away from having three consecutive World Series appearances.

    In theory, the Cardinals haven’t been this big a favorite to run away with their division in a decade. They could have their playoff rotation set up by Labor Day and use September to watch their prospects play.”

    Bulletin board material. That’s why they play the games.
    That Opening series against the Cards is going to be very important. Not so much for the whole season, but for starting the season off on the right foot. Reading it got me fired up for Opening Day. I hate the Cardinals.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2014/02/11/st-louis-cardinals-spring-training-michael-wacha-jhonny-peralta-john-mozeliak/5405429/

  4. Hamilton is going to get his shot at the show, playing CF and leading off. I don’t think anyone expects him to hit major league pitching or even get on base at the major league level with aplomb. The offset to the lack of hitting and getting on base will be his speed once he does get on base. The overriding question is hHow will those two contradictory aspects of his game play out to produce runs, because that is really the bottom line.

    Year * pa *** obp * runs * R/PA
    2010 * 583 * .329 ** 91 ** 0.156 Stubbs
    2011 * 681 * .321 ** 92 ** 0.135 Stubbs
    2012 * 544 * .277 ** 75 ** 0.137 Stubbs
    2013 * 712 * .423 * 107 ** 0.150 Choo

    2010 * 316 * .383 ** 61 ** 0.193 Hamilton ROK ball
    2011 * 610 * .340 ** 99 ** 0.162 Hamilton A- ball
    2012 * 605 * .410 * 112 ** 0.185 Hamilton A+/AA ball
    2013 * 547 * .308 ** 75 ** 0.137 Hamilton AAA ball

    Runs are counting stats and I understand there are numerous mitigating factors in any counting stat. The analysis provided above is very simplistic, but I believe it does document cause for concern going into 2014 with Hamilton unprepared to hit major league pitching. When Hamilton gets on base he will score a LOT of runs because of his speed that would lead the Reds to the promised land. If he doesn’t get on base, I believe the Reds are looking at the 2012 version of Drew Stubbs hitting leadoff and that isn’t going to take the Reds anywhere in 2014.

    I do not believe that Hamilton is ready to hit major league pitching and that will really put the onus on Phillips to get on base a lot in 2014. It’s the same old story of giving up outs. Dusty did it with his inane commitment to the sacrifice bunt and hitting low OBP hitters at the top of the order because of the position they played. If Hamilton can not get on base, the Reds will be giving up outs at the top of the order and relying on Phillips to set the table for Votto, Bruce and Ludwick. The good news compared to last season is that if Phillips gets on base in the 2 hole, Price won’t be sacrificing him to 2B so pitchers will have to pitch to Votto with 1B occupied. The bad news is that if Phillips doesn’t get on base, Votto will be coming to the plate a lot with 2 outs and the bases empty.

    • @Shchi Cossack: Yeah, that’s my biggest concern about this team. You can’t steal first. I would so much rather have him hit eighth (or ninth). What would be a sacrifice for anyone else could cause real chaos for the defense with him in the box. I’m just not convinced that he will be successful as a leadoff hitter. At least not yet. I have to admit, that .423 obp I see listed for Choo looks mighty large.

      • @preach: I think batting him 8th would be smart but don’t think it will happen. I personally would like to see Phillips lead off Votto second and Bruce third with Hamilton 8th. If he gets on in front of a pitcher he could steal and then get sacrificed over. Even if he doesn’t steal he would put extra pressure on the pitcher in a situation where he is usually getting an easy out. Like I said though I don’t see this happening I think he’ll lead off. Hopefully it works out for the best.

      • @WVRedlegs: The Old Cossack is hoping the WJ bites the bullet and stakes a waiver claim for Bonifacio. The reports I’ve seen are skeptical that anyone will absorb his $3.5MM salary by issuing a waiver claim, but we will know shortly. If he becomes a FA after 2:00 p.m. today, then I think there will be a LOT of interest and Bonifacio will be able to pick and choose where he wants to play and he will probably look for an assured starting job rather than a utility role with a possible starting position available if…

        • @Shchi Cossack:

          Rosenthal has reported that Bonifacio has cleared waivers. I don’t know the waiver rules all that well. If the Reds passed, can they go back and make a claim before he could be declared a free agent? I think they can, but not sure.
          There are several expected “contending” teams that could have an interest in him.
          Is the Reds’ 40-man roster still at 39 right now? That might help the Reds’ chances a bit if it is.

      • @WVRedlegs: If the Reds can provide Hamilton the chance to bring his hitting up to major league capability before throwing him to the lions, the benefit could be enormous. Hamilton really started to improve at the end of last season in AAA, but hadn’t yet reached a level of expertise at AAA.

        Year * pa *** obp ** sb ** sb%
        2010 * 201 * .320 ** 12 * 100% Bonafacio with FLA 2011 * 641 * .360 ** 40 ** 78% Bonafacio with FLA 2012 * 274 * .330 ** 30 ** 90% Bonafacio with MIA 2013 * 282 * .258 ** 12 ** 66% Bonafacio with TOR
        2013 * 179 * .352 ** 16 ** 88% Bonafacio with KC

        Bonafacio has averaged 1.25 oWAR over the past 4 seasons plus an additional 0.30 dWAR over the past 4 seasons (1.375 WAR average combined) with only one full (2011) season in the past 4 seasons. I have a hard time understanding how a player with a reasonable expectation for a 1.3+ WAR isn’t worth a $3.5MM investment for one season.

        • @Shchi Cossack:
          Well that certainly didn’t work very well…Let’s try again.

          Year * pa *** obp ** sb ** sb%
          2010 * 201 * .320 ** 12 * 100% Bonafacio FLA
          2011 * 641 * .360 ** 40 ** 78% Bonafacio FLA
          2012 * 274 * .330 ** 30 ** 90% Bonafacio MIA
          2013 * 282 * .258 ** 12 ** 66% Bonafacio TOR
          2013 * 179 * .352 ** 16 ** 88% Bonafacio KC

  5. This is one of many reasons I am a fan and not a coach but if you were to bat Billy 9th you could give Votto some more insurance and a better chance someone is on base by the time he comes up. Maybe you don’t do it all the time but when you have a pitcher like Leake in the lineup why not give it a try?

  6. Shin-Soo Choo scored 107 runs last year for the Reds. Never before in his MLB career had he scored more than 88 runs in a season. Never before did he have BP, Votto, and Bruce batting behind him either.
    If BHam scores more than 107 runs, which I think is very likely, who gives a %&#$ what his OBP is then? Runs = Wins.

    • @WVRedlegs: I suppose there’s an intangible reason for Billy to be on base, if Nichols’ comments ring as true as they seem. He disrupts pitching and defenses.

      Sure, eventually, he will score the run but what sort of mental fatigue does it leave on a defense?

      Admittedly, these are professional players at the highest level and a run here and there doesn’t shake their trees much.

      Dunno … it’s a holistic game. If Hamilton is on base, Votto gets a double on a fat pitch, and Bruce whacks a double, it’s 2 runs.

    • @WVRedlegs: To me it seems difficult to score over 100 runs without having a decent OBP. I don’t think they can be separated. I’m sure there have been some outliers, but I don’t care if you have Ruth, Aaron, and DiMaggio hitting behind you, if you don’t get on base, you don’t score.

    • @WVRedlegs:
      I haven’t checked the old Cossack’s figures in his above post for veracity, but he seems trustworthy so I’ll work with them.

      Choo scored 35.5% of the time he reached base in 2013. Stubbs scored 46% of the time he reached base from 2010 to 2012.

      It certainly seems that Hamilton should score at a higher rate per time on base than Stubbs. If he equaled Stubbs scoring rate of 46% and has 712 plate appearances like Choo did last year; in order to score 100 runs, he needs an OBP of .305.

      I realize runs scored is not dependent solely on the individual player’s results. He may not reach it, but somewhere in the neighborhood of .305 OBP does not seem totally out of the question for BHam. His scoring rate per time on base should theoretically be higher than Stubbs, meaning that he could score 100 runs with less than a .305 OBP.

    • @WVRedlegs: You point out that Choo scored 88 runs in 2012 and 107 runs in 2013 and conclude that the reason for that increase was because he was hitting in front of Votto, BP and Bruce. From there, you reasoned that Billy Hamilton would also score that many runs because he’d be hitting in front of the same lineup.

      But hitting in front of Votto and Phillips is not why Choo scored more runs. Getting on base more was the reason.

      Choo got on base a whopping 49 more times in 2013 than he did in 2012 (39 more BB and 12 more HBP minus 2 fewer non-home run hits). So it’s not surprising that he scored 19 more runs.

      If you factor out the home runs that he hit each year, Choo was driven in 30.8% of his times on base in 2013 and 30.0% of his times on base in 2012. So his higher runs scored was not a function of his teammates. It was strictly about getting on base more often.

      Also keep in mind that Choo drove himself in 21 times last year, that’s almost 20% of his runs scored. Billy Hamilton will be lucky to hit a few home runs, which gives Choo another leg up in comparing the likely runs scored.

      The one advantage Hamilton will have is that he’ll steal more bases so he’ll get in scoring position more often. That’s a plus.

      • @Steve Mancuso:

        I just think with Hamilton, OBP is not going to be the “tell all” stat. Sure if Hamilton gets on base at a Cozart rate (first 2 months last year) and has a 4% BB rate, there will be troubles. But I don’t think BHam will have to have an OBP of .330+ to be successful and make an impact.

        You nailed it exactly. It will be the % of times he scores in relation to getting on base. BHam is not going to hit 21 HR’s, so he has to get on base to score. But if BHam can score at a Stubbs’% pace, OBP won’t be that critical. It’ll be important, sure, but not critical. The percentage of times scoring after getting on base for BHam will be his most important stat, in my humbleness of opinion. That is, assuming he is in the leadoff spot. If he is batting 8th, its moot.
        In Choo’s years before 2012 and 2013, he had very good OBP numbers, but he only scored so many runs.
        2008= 68 R’s .397 OBP.
        2009= 87 R’s .394 OBP.
        2010= 81 R’s .401 OBP.
        2011= 37 R’s .344 OBP.
        So, even though Choo had superb OBP at Cleveland, it didn’t translate into very many runs, or very many wins.

        • @WVRedlegs: I’m with you except the last part. And obviously, Choo’s OBP not translating into wins wasn’t his fault, nor say anything about the value of his getting on base. 2011 he was hurt, so the counting stat is off. In 2010, there was still a .022 difference in OBP, which translated to over 40 more times on base. And he had 65 more plate appearances in 2013 than he did in 2010. Mostly because of batting higher in the lineup.

          Both stats matter – the rate at which a player gets on base and the rate at which he scores when he’s on base. You multiply those together and you get the runs scored. Pretty safe to say that Hamilton will get on bas a LOT less often than Choo (probably 100 times fewer) but he will score when he’s on base at a higher rate (although Choo’s power helps offset that).

          It’s not right to say that OBP isn’t going to matter for Hamilton. The more he gets on, the more he’ll score. But I think your point is rightly that he’ll offset some of that lower OBP with a higher rate of scoring, like Stubbs did.

  7. HenRod has been DFA’d off the 40 man roster in favor of Brett Marshall, claimed from the Cubs. I would seriously look for another organization if I was HenRod. The Reds obviously have no aspirations of ever giving him a shot on the major league roster.

    • @Shchi Cossack: I realize that HRod wasn’t setting the world on fire, but I don’t see much in the way of upside on Brett Marshall. He’s been pretty bad in AA and AAA the past two seasons. He’s just 23 though. So maybe can still get better.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Ted Power gets another shot at turning around a pitcher and getting value off the scrap heap.

        I would respectfully disagree with you regarding HenRod’s performance, at least in part. In AA, HenRod slashed .317/.373/.434 over 2 seasons (2011 & 2012). HenRod did struggle for the 1st 137 games (about 1 season) at AAA, but shook that off very nicely by slashing .343/.396/.371 in AAA after the all star break last season (40 games & 159 PA).

  8. I think there might be a chance they convert Marshall to the bullpen. He has a fairly decent K/9 rate.

    I think we really need to go hard after Bonafacio, but he likely wouldn’t see himself getting much playing time with us.

    • @Sultan of Swaff:

      I think we really need to go hard after Bonafacio, but he likely wouldn’t see himself getting much playing time with us.

      The only way for the Reds to have assured themselves a real shot at Bonifacio, was to make a waiver claim and pay his $3.5MM salary for 2014. I agree that the Reds have little chance to sign him as a FA since he will certainly want to maximize his playing time and increase his value going into next offseason. Of course, maybe WJ tries to to get the 29 year old Bonifacio’s attention by offering a multi-year contract as a speedy super-sub/utility player. If the Reds can offer 33 year old Hannahan $4MM on a 2 year contract and 34 year old Schumaker $5MM on a 2 year contract, Bonafacio should be good for at least $2MM per on maybe a 5 year contract offer, right? Bonifacio could provide injury replacement insurance for every position except pitcher and catcher.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s