2014 values of two Hamiltons, Bits 

September, 19, 2013
Take out a $10 bill and celebrate because Wednesday night was one for the Hamiltons. Josh Hamilton, a polarizing figure in baseball with a monster contract and less-than-stellar numbers in his first year with the non-contending Los Angeles Angels, smacked a ninth-inning home run and later delivered the game-winning sacrifice fly as his team upended the first-place Oakland Athletics. Then there was unrelated speedster Billy Hamilton enjoying his first big league start with three hits, two runs scored and a pretty sweet four stolen bases, as his Cincinnati Reds solidified playoff standing with a 13-inning win over the Houston Astros. Which Hamilton would you rather have in 2014 fantasy drafts?

Despite the fact the older Hamilton owns an MVP award and 182 career home runs, the case certainly can be made for the 23-year-old with game-changing speed and seven career at-bats. I’d take the power hitter first, at this point probably in the third or fourth round, banking on the marginal second-half improvement and significant upside. After all, Josh Hamilton hit 43 home runs last season. He has hit many fewer fly balls in 2013 and the ones he has hit have not traveled as far, but it’s certainly feasible both he and teammate Albert Pujols can bounce back to close to prior levels of production. Hamilton’s lack of plate discipline has been well documented, but he also has played through various injuries. I just find it hard to believe someone with his amazing talent will hit .245 with fewer home runs than Marlon Byrd consistently. Hamilton, hitting .317 in September and .279 since the All-Star break, will come at a discount, so you won’t need a second-round pick to secure him. It’s hardly a stretch to expect future 30-100 seasons.

Rob Leifheit/USA TODAY SportsBilly Hamilton has been successful on all nine of his stolen base attempts.
Billy Hamilton’s issue could be opportunity and performance. After all, he has been with the Reds for nearly three weeks and this was his first start, and perhaps that happened only because the Reds were in an AL park and could use the designated hitter and bat him ninth. Hamilton handled center field in oddly shaped Minute Maid Park adeptly, so that doesn’t seem an issue, and current leadoff option/center fielder Shin-Soo Choo is a free agent. But Hamilton has to play like he did Wednesday consistently. At the plate, he slashed a double the opposite way to left field off right-hander Brad Peacock and later scored; singled to left and stole second base; slapped an infield single to third base, stole second and later scored; walked and stole second; struck out looking and finally walked and stole second. That’s a monster fantasy night with four steals considering only 14 players have that many stolen bases in September. Hamilton has nine steals this month, in seven at-bats.