by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
A healthy Josh Hamilton may have been a tough sell on draft day, but one that already needed surgery? According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (click here for the article):
“Hamilton will undergo surgery to repair the AC joint in his right shoulder, a procedure that is expected to sideline him for six to eight weeks and probably force him to open the season on the disabled list.”
Hamilton has never been the pillar of health. While he played in 151 games in 2013 (his first in LA), he was limited to 89 games last season and managed a putrid .263/.331/.414 slash. So the question we now have to ask ourselves is if he is worth the risk, especially since he’s already going to miss time?
Obviously there’s no absolute answer, as the injury will likely drop his price tag to an extremely palatable level. With that in mind, we ask why not roll the dice?
The problem hasn’t been hitting the ball hard, with line drive rates of 22.2% and 24.6% over the past two seasons. Sure his strikeout rate ballooned last season to 28.3%, but you have to wonder how much the missed time and injuries contributed? He’s not likely to be the .300+ hitter he once was, but it also isn’t the major concern.
The issue is the power, as his HR/FB has plummeted the past two seasons:
- 2010 – 20.6%
- 2011 – 16.4%
- 2012 – 25.6%
- 2013 – 12.7%
- 2014 – 11.0%
Could the problem be having left Texas? Interestingly he did not hit a single home run at home in 2014, posting a HR/FB of 19.6% on the road. However in 2013 he hit 9 of his 21 HR at home and in his final season in Texas he posted a 27.6% HR/FB on the road. Would we ever have expected that number to continue? Of course not, but he posted a 16.7% HR/FB on the road over his five years in Texas. Bottom line is that he does have more power than he showed last season.
That’s not to say that fantasy owners should reach for him. Given his history there simply is no guarantee that there isn’t another injury waiting around the corner. Still he brings the potential to deliver power, which as we all know is down around the game, and do so with a solid average.
The surgery doesn’t guarantee anything, but it provides hope that he can get back to health and potentially deliver 20+ HR this season. With an average ADP of 219.7, that makes him a gamble worth taking in the later rounds.
Sources – Fangrapphs, Los Angeles Times, Fantasy Pros
Make sure to check out all of our early 2015 rankings:
- First Basemen
- Second Basemen
- Third Basemen
- Starting Pitchers
- Relief Pitchers
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