First Round Pick Analysis: Josh Hamilton

Josh Hamilton had a monster 2010 campaign.  No one can take that away from him, but should fantasy owners base an early round selection on that success?  Many people actually believe that he is good enough to select in the first round of 2011 drafts.  Is it justified?  Let’s take a look:

2010 Stat Line:
518 At Bats
.359 Batting Average (186 Hits)
32 Home Runs
100 RBI
95 Runs
8 Stolen Bases
.411 On Base Percentage
.633 Slugging Percentage
.390 Batting Average on Balls in Play

2010 Season Overview:
Obviously, everything was a success for him in 2010, outside of the stolen base total and his health.  The stolen bases are something that has never been there, with a career high of nine.  There’s no reason to think that he is going to make any significant contribution for you there.

The injuries have been a common discussion throughout Hamilton’s career.  Last year he stayed healthy enough to make significant contributions, but that isn’t always the case.  In 2007 he was limited to 90 games (298 AB).  In 2009 it was just 89 games (336 AB). 

Can we say, without a shadow of a doubt, that Hamilton will stay healthy enough to contribute in 2011?  Obviously, when healthy he’s a tremendous option, but his continuous struggles with staying in the lineup drapes a huge dark cloud over him.

The other major concern from 2010 is his BABIP.  Flat out, it is unsustainable.  There is little question that his luck rate is going to fall, probably significantly, bringing his average with it.  The prior three years he had posted averages of .292, .304 and .268, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see him fall back into the .300 range.

Does he look quite as appealing in the early rounds without such a lofty average?

What To Expect In 2011:
Assuming he can stay healthy, Hamilton should once again be a force in the middle of a high-powered Rangers lineup.  With or without Vladimir Guerrero, the team boasts a lineup that can score runs in droves, with Elvis Andrus & Michael Young setting the table. 

Hamilton’s power is very much for real, and another 30 HR campaign can easily be in his future. 

The runs and RBI should also be about on par with his 2010 numbers.  Obviously, a fall in average means less times on base, so a small regression in runs scored is possible (85-90 range).  He also could see a small drop in RBI, but it would likely be negligible.  If he exceeds 500 AB, he should have 90 RBI, at least, with 100+ possible.

As I mentioned in the 2010 Overview section, an average around .300 and single digit stolen bases are also likely in his future.

Conclusion:
Obviously, we are talking about one of the elite offensive players in the game, though there are three things that keep him from being a first round pick in my mind:

  1. Concerns over his health
  2. A huge regression potentially coming in his average
  3. The fact that he’s not a five category performer

Yes, he is a great player at a fairly weak position, but in the first round I want a player who is more of a sure thing.  There are too many concerns and question marks hanging over Hamilton, dropping him a few notches outside the first round.

What are your thoughts of Hamilton?  Is he someone you would pick in the first round?  Why or why not?

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Make sure to check out our previous first round pick analysis articles:

2 comments

  1. Mark Robinson says:

    Since my league is 15 deep and as defending champion I have the picks at the turn, 15/16; Hamilton is definitely on the radar. I am not a position scarcity guy and like to stack up the stats early in drafts, regardless of position, so I am considering both Holliday and Hamilton at the turn– we use OBP (serious players do not use BA so it is disconcerting to see the OPS and OBP left out of so many rankings in lieu of BA)and a base of Hamilton/Holliday at .390/.400 OBP along with solid #s elsewhere will allow me to take lower OBP guys later for speed.

  2. Fred says:

    I just took Hamilton with my #15 draft pick of the first round in my new Dynasty league. His upside is simply too good to pass up. And considering his salary was a paltry $4 mil this year (we use last years salary numbers), I had to pick him up.

    There’s a player that Hamilton reminds me of who also was an injury risk but had some great seasons at a very friendly hitters’ Park…Larry Walker in Colorado.

    I would have taken CarGo if he was available at pick 15. But I’ll take a guy there who is CF eligible that can hit at least 30 HRs/.300 BA/100 RBI/and close to 100 runs. And I’m not sure how Hamilton doesn’t hit 40 HRs if he plays a whole season.

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