Jun 5, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton warms up on deck at the beginning of a game against the San Francisco Giants at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Has Billy Hamilton become a Top 20 Fantasy Outfielder?

Heading into fantasy baseball drafts before the season, perhaps no player was harder to project heading into the season than Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton.

The thought of Hamilton potentially stealing 100 bases led to him being over drafted in most leagues, but Hamilton is starting to make those that drafted him early look pretty smart.

Hamilton continues to pick it up at the plate and on the base paths as of late to the point where it wouldn’t be crazy to rank him among the Top 20 fantasy outfielders in the game right now.

Sure the temptation of Hamilton stealing bases was always there, but you can’t steal first base and now that Hamilton is getting on base with more consistency, his value continues to increase.

I have Hamilton ranked just outside of my Top 20 and ESPN had him as their 23rd ranked outfielder heading into the season, but if he keeps progressing, he will continue to climb up those boards.

After a very slow April, Hamilton has seen his line climb to .252/.290/.345 with 24 steals on the year. While his line is by no means good and the .290 OBP sticks out like a sore thumb, he has been much better lately.

His 6.7 percent swinging-strike rate is fantastic, as is his 85 percent contact rate.

These are good signs that Hamilton will continue to improve.

If he does, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him chase down Dee Gordon for the SB title.

If his walk rate and batting average against left-handed pitching improve, as both leave a lot to be desired, Hamilton could turn out to be a true fantasy star the rest of the way.

Tags: Billy Hamilton Cincinnati Reds Fantasy Baseball

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