Sunday, February 22, 2009 hearts Josh Hamilton (and hates you)

Wow. I can't believe I'm going to devote my first blog entry to and Josh Hamilton (while we're at it, let's think of a good nickname for this guy). But we all make sacrifices for the greater good I suppose. And the sheer idiocy of having Hamilton (The Rehab Kid) ranked in the top ten of a prominent website's overall fantasy ranking system is something that I feel warrants some attention. I must first admit that I think Hamilton (Methadone Man) overachieved at least slightly last year. In his second season in the majors he finally fulfilled at least some of the potential that had been surrounding him since he was taken first overall in the 1999 draft by the then "Devil" Rays. 2008 was definitely his coming out party, but how good will '09 be to him? Probably not quite as good is my guess. And I'm sure I can't be the only one who feels that way. Let's break it down though, in terms of the actual numbers. A look at Hamilton's 5x5 numbers for the 2008 season:


Incredible numbers, really. Especially in the post-steroid era. In fact, these numbers put him well within the top ten hitters in baseball last year. But, if we take a look at his pre/post all-star splits we see something quite interesting:

.310/60/21/95/7 (pre)
.296/38/11/35/2 (post)

Those first-half numbers are just ridiculous. And when you consider just how far he was launching the baseball during the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game, you realize that, at that moment, his value was the highest it will ever be. I would guess that quite a few Hamilton(The Born Again Basher) owners may have even passed on the opportunity to deal him when they could have gotten someone like Mark Teixeira or even David Wright in return. In fact, in one league I was in last year, someone who was trying to snag him as a cheap keeper for the '09 season offered both Teixeira and Wright straight up and was actually turned down! Judging by the huge drop off in Hamilton's second-half stats, I'd say someone was later kicking themselves.

2008 is in the books though. All we care about, really, is what will Hamilton (The Sobrietor) do in 2009. Let's take look at the PECOTA projections, the MLB projections, and the ESPN projections, in order:


Now, I'm not one to go strictly off of any one set of projections, and I realize that PECOTA does their projections on a percentile basis that I don't have the time or the brain capacity to explain here. And, I also understand that MLB is projecting numbers very similar to last year, while the other two have dropped him primarily in R's and RBI's, probably (and understandably) due to his poor 2nd half numbers. But, the million dollar question is what do these differences translate to in terms of draft value and position? Again, in order, MLB, ESPN, and my own personal rankings(which are based primarily, although not exclusively on PECOTA projections):

10th overall, 3rd among outfielders, $31
19th overall, 5th among outfielders, $19
34th overall, 10th among outfielders, $18

I'll admit that I tend to stay away from players like Josh (The only juice I'm on is Jesus Juice) Hamilton until I see it for more than half a season. And I am also very big on actually predicting what is most likely to happen in the future, not merely extending what has already happened in the past. I believe this is why they call them projections, as the word itself insinuates forward thinking. This is a novel idea that many, many prominent fantasy websites have adopted, unfortunately just not the official fantasy site of Major League Baseball.

Early returns show a lot of people falling into this highly elaborate trap that has set. Draft results on Yahoo, CBS, and ESPN all show that (Jonesin Josh) Hamilton is actually going in the top 10 of most drafts, probably to someone who has wrongly undervalued Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee, and Nick Markakis. So, my advice to you? Obviously, don't fall into that trap, and if you play in an auction league, throw out "Josh Hamilton (The Overrated One) for $1" as soon as you can and watch one of your competitors waste $45 on him.