Image: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
2021 season age: 30
Bats: Switch; Throw: Right
Height: 6’0″; Weight: 155 lbs
2021 Stats: .125 avg 1 HR 2 RBI 10 R 6 SB 0.0 WAR
2020 in review: Hamilton started season with New York Mets. While batting a low .045 and going 1 for 22 his entire time with Mets. He still managed to steal 3 bases. He spent second half of season with Cubs .300 in only 11 Plate Appearances. Hamilton Spent most of his season as a pinch runner and defensive replacement. Only managing 36 plate appearances in 31 games. Not much to go off of Hamilton’s 2020 season.
Offensive impact: For his career, Hamilton is a .241/.296/.325. While Hamilton has been known for his speed he is not known for his pop in his bat. He draws attention with his speed (28.8ft/s Sprint Speed in 2020) but combines with a poor track record of on base skills and rates. His walk rates have always been average to below average (7.2 BB% career mark). For someone with Hamilton’s speed, he carries a surprisingly low BABIP (.303 career mark) due to poor exit velocities. Proof no matter how fast you are, you can’t run out every ground ball.
Defensive impact: Hamilton has a career UZR/150 11.6. HIs speed allows for him to cover a lot of ground and he takes good angles on the baseball. He’s someone you can trust in big ballparks and center field.
Beyond The Stats: In the 911 times Hamilton has reached base in his career he scored 416 times at a 45.6% clip. This along with stealing 305 bases. He averaged 57.5 stolen bases from 2014-2017. Also of note, curiously in 2020 Hamilton’s ground ball rate was a way career low 19.2% and a 53.8% fly ball rate. For someone who lacks pop like Hamilton does, more fly balls really aren’t all that good as it would be for others.
2021 role: Cleveland needs, and always seems to want veteran help and Hamilton provides some of that. He brings along late game defensive replacement and pinch running options, albeit without much potential to do anything offensively with the bat. This can be valuable to a team expected to play in close games in the later innings. While Cleveland will look for Oscar Mercado or Bradley Zimmer to clearly earn the role, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Hamilton earn a bench role on the roster out of camp.
Fantasy Outlook: This is all dependent on how many plate appearances Hamilton gets, but if he sees regular action you could get some deep league value. Mostly just from cheap steals and runs standpoint. You’d be best to steer clear of him unless it looks like he has some sort of regular role and you need cheap steals and can take the average/on-base percentage hit on your roster.