2014 Fantasy BaseballAlan HarrisonFantasy Baseball

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Potential Hitter Busts

Billy Hamilton Fantasy Baseball

The following is a list of hitters that are currently being taken too high for my liking, so you may want to be cautious with these sluggers or speedsters on draft day.

All ADP data is found in parenthesis (ADP) and taken from FantasyPros.com on February 1, 2014. All commentary reflects a 12-team league.

Note: This article is simply a preview of content that was originally published in TheFantasyFix.com’s 2014 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide. Average draft position and other data have not been updated since. You can find the draft guide here.

Billy Hamilton | Reds (69.5) – There’s no doubt in my mind that the Reds’ starting center fielder could become one of the most exciting players to set foot on the diamond in twenty-fourteen. And there is also the chance that Hamilton’s blazing speed could lock down the stolen base category in rotisserie leagues all by himself. I mean, he did in fact steal 155 bases in 2012 between two levels. But in order to wreak havoc on the basepaths, you have to get on them first. Hamilton’s walk rate and on-base percentage saw career bests during his stays with Advanced-A and Double-A, but when summonsed to Triple-A those numbers (6.9% BB%, .308 OBP) sunk to unacceptable lows. Mind you, Hamilton is one those rare talents that can still swipe 75 bags without taking many walks and displaying poor overall on-base skills, like he did in those 123 games at Triple-A in ‘13. The transition to the bigs could be challenging for the speedster and some — especially in head-to-head redraft mixers — would hate to burn a fourth or fifth-round pick on this one (or two) trick pony. Like I said before, Hamilton could win you your stolen bases category all by himself, or, he could find himself back in Triple-A sometime in May if he struggles from the leadoff spot in Cincinnati.

Jean Segura | Brewers (40) – Jean Segura burst on the scene in twenty-thirteen with 11 homers and 27 stolen bases in the first-half. But the regression monster, mostly in the HR/FB department, struck Segura pretty hard in the second-half resulting in just one longball for the shortstop in 54 games. His batting average, BB%, K% and stolen base success rate each took a turn for the worst after the All-Star Break last season as well. I think Segura is going to be a fine player, but I’m just not sure how much of a return on value one would get for him considering you have to cough up a third or fourth-rounder for the guy. Segura could struggle to hit .265 with 40 stolen bases and 15 or less home runs. Wait and grab an Everth Cabrera (130) or J.J. Hardy (160).

Edwin Encarnacion | Blue Jays (13) – At the time of this writing, the Toronto Blue Jays have yet to address the recent progress — or lack thereof — their 30-year-old slugger has made following wrist surgery to remove cartilage back in September. Initially, reports out of Toronto’s camp indicated that the surgery was a success and Encarnacion could need just about two months to recover. It’s hard to ignore the fact that only Miguel Cabrera and Chris Davis have more home runs and RBI than Encarnacion’s 78 and 214 over the last two seasons, but wrist injuries can be tricky, so I’m not sure I want to be assuming that risk with my first round selection.

Jason Kipnis | Indians (20) – Kipnis got off to a rough March/April in 2013 — hitting just .200 with one homer, four RBI and five stolen bases — causing some owners to panic and send him fake packing. The Indians’ pivot man rebounded, like many do, to finish batting .284 with 17 homers, 84 RBI and 30 swipes to help many fantasy owners raise a flag. Now entering his age-27 season, Kipnis could be primed to continue his 2013 post-April breakout performance. My only quarrel with Kipnis is his current cost. An ADP of 20 is extremely risky, especially when you can grab someone like Brandon Phillips 100 slots later for similar production, minus the speed. Phillips could bust this season as well, but I’d much rather have a 12th round player bust on me than a second rounder.

Jacoby Ellsbury | Yankees (11) – Let me start off by saying, Jacoby Ellsbury is one of the most exciting young players in the game. And when healthy, he has the ability to be a top-ten outfielder for fantasy purposes. But that’s just it. When healthy. Ellsbury has failed to play full-season’s slate of games since his miraculous 2011 season when filled the stat sheets with 32 homers, 39 stolen bases etc. The only part of that season that we still see is the speed. Can he replicate the homers? Probably not, but if he can, Yankee stadium could be the place to do it. I’m not opposed to drafting Ellsbury altogether, but with his recent contract and injury history, I’d feel more comfortable grabbing a player with just a little more balance and less injury risk in the first round.

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  1. Peter
    March 20, 2014 at 6:25 am — Reply

    Not too many people give Billy Hamilton the credit for the adjustments he has made throughout his minor league career. He became much more patient from 2011 to 2012. He pressed to hit last year in 2013 to try and prove he could hit. He’s never going to win a batting title, but I doubt his BABIP will ever sit around .311 again in his career as it did last season. He seems to have taken major strides this off-season in bunting, and while he won’t receive credit for it in the stat lines, there will be many “reached by error” after Hamilton’s name this year. He knows his role this year: get on base. That’s a big change from his mindset last year. If you can’t tell, I’m all on board with Billy, both fantasy and for the Reds.

  2. March 20, 2014 at 9:31 am — Reply

    Believe me, I’m with you. I’ve had the chance to watch him and meet him in the Cal League and he’s arguably the most exciting player i’ve ever seen. If yo’ve followed me at all here or on Twitter (@TheFantasyFix), you know my love for Billy is irrational. I just think that people may be over drafting him a bit due to the buzz. So in terms of “potential bust,” it’s relative to his draft position. Can he return a fifth/sixth round value? Maybe. But I’d much rather grab him in rounds ten or later for a better return on my investment. That likely won’t happen, unfortunately.

    Thanks for the feedback/support. Let’s hope Billy goes Ham this season!

    • Peter
      March 20, 2014 at 10:53 am — Reply

      Hi Alan,

      I got to this article just by googling Hamilton, I did not know your full position on him. I do agree with your assessment as being a potential bust. But, his (potential) single category dominance lets you stack the deck with power and average guys, and Billy will have the runs too.

      Tell me, where would you value a 1985 Vince Coleman in a draft today?

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