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View Full Version : Remember what Keith Law said when Billy Hamilton was drafted?



Blitz Dorsey
04-01-2011, 12:57 PM
Soon after the Reds picked Billy Hamilton in the second round in 2009, ESPN.com's Keith Law hosted a chat and was taking questions about various picks. I remember this verbatim: A Reds fan sent in a question that read: "What do you think of the Reds grabbing SS Billy Hamilton in the second round?"

Law, in full smug mode, said: "He can run. He can't hit. Good luck."

And now we know why Keith Law -- who is about as much of a talent scout as the local drunk at the corner bar -- is no longer working for a MLB team, but is spouting off BS for ESPN.

billy bob
04-01-2011, 01:06 PM
AGREE 100%...... HAHA!!!!!!!!!!

StubbsFan#6
04-01-2011, 01:08 PM
Have always despised this guy (like many) and with each of his comments I loathe him more and more...

edabbs44
04-01-2011, 01:23 PM
Soon after the Reds picked Billy Hamilton in the second round in 2009, ESPN.com's Keith Law hosted a chat and was taking questions about various picks. I remember this verbatim: A Reds fan sent in a question that read: "What do you think of the Reds grabbing SS Billy Hamilton in the second round?"

Law, in full smug mode, said: "He can run. He can't hit. Good luck."

And now we know why Keith Law -- who is about as much of a talent scout as the local drunk at the corner bar -- is no longer working for a MLB team, but is spouting off BS for ESPN.

Wow...that's aggressive. He did catch a lot of flak for what he said about Harang a few years ago. Seems like he wasn't wrong about that. And has anything been proven about Hamilton at this stage? Law scouted him during ST and said that he really needs to get stronger. Did you see that? I recommend it, because it makes sense.

But why the general feeling of animosity for Law? I really don't get it.

lollipopcurve
04-01-2011, 02:01 PM
Love it when these self-styled experts are held accountable for their amateur proclaiming.

CySeymour
04-01-2011, 02:04 PM
Before we start proclaiming Hamilton proving Law wrong, which I hope he does, let's see if he hits when he gets to the major leagues. That's what counts.

Benihana
04-01-2011, 05:23 PM
Keith Law is the Todd McShay of baseball. He should stick to his other passion- writing foodie blogs

Superdude
04-01-2011, 06:40 PM
Yea lets at least wait until Hamilton makes it past rookie ball before we start mocking Keith Law...as much I love mocking Keith law.


He did catch a lot of flak for what he said about Harang a few years ago. Seems like he wasn't wrong about that.

He was very wrong at the time. Unless he predicted the San Diego game and the subsequent decline in Harang's ability to throw a baseball, Law was way off in his assessment of Harang.

edabbs44
04-01-2011, 07:17 PM
Yea lets at least wait until Hamilton makes it past rookie ball before we start mocking Keith Law...as much I love mocking Keith law.



He was very wrong at the time. Unless he predicted the San Diego game and the subsequent decline in Harang's ability to throw a baseball, Law was way off in his assessment of Harang.

SD game is debatable. And I'm not sure that any of us know exactly where he was coming from when he said that. But I think that his comment holds a little more water now than it did then, when everyone and their brother was shredding him for saying it.

757690
04-01-2011, 08:10 PM
Wow...that's aggressive. He did catch a lot of flak for what he said about Harang a few years ago. Seems like he wasn't wrong about that. And has anything been proven about Hamilton at this stage? Law scouted him during ST and said that he really needs to get stronger. Did you see that? I recommend it, because it makes sense.

But why the general feeling of animosity for Law? I really don't get it.

Law has said a quite a few other things that could upset a Reds fan, and his track record on draft day for all teams is well below average.

Just a few that I remember, he said that Zach Cozart was a terrible pick and projected to be a utility guy at best, and he said that the Reds would never win with Dusty Baker as manager.

Shaknb8k
04-01-2011, 08:42 PM
A best friend of mine work for the Memphis Grizzlies a few years back when they were preparing for their upcoming draft. He said within the NBA it was well known that many of the "experts" at ESPN are constantly trying to get into or get back into the sport, so they write or say what is best for their agenda.

For example that year all the ESPN mock drafts had a certain player going to the Grizzlies, but that certain player refused to even workout for them because he did not want to play in Memphis, and because of that the Grizzlies had no real interest in him and never intended to draft him. The person doing the mock draft was one of those types of writers and he was trying to work his cards to get back in the league. If that is the case with basketball I'm sure that is the case with all the other sports, and many times seems exactly what Keith Law does.

Superdude
04-01-2011, 09:16 PM
But I think that his comment holds a little more water now than it did then, when everyone and their brother was shredding him for saying it.

IIRC, Harang was one of the best starters in the league when Law called him a back rotation guy. The statement was similar to Colin Cowherd's comments on Votto earlier this season... just an "expert" blabbering to draw attention and drum up controversy. Harang's career after that comment is irrelevant IMO.

edabbs44
04-01-2011, 11:23 PM
Law has said a quite a few other things that could upset a Reds fan, and his track record on draft day for all teams is well below average.

Just a few that I remember, he said that Zach Cozart was a terrible pick and projected to be a utility guy at best, and he said that the Reds would never win with Dusty Baker as manager.

He had Cozart ranked 38th in that draft, right behind a HS Yasmani Grandal and right before a HS Christian Colon. Cincy picked him 79th. Are you sure that he thought it was an awful pick?

edabbs44
04-01-2011, 11:33 PM
IIRC, Harang was one of the best starters in the league when Law called him a back rotation guy. The statement was similar to Colin Cowherd's comments on Votto earlier this season... just an "expert" blabbering to draw attention and drum up controversy. Harang's career after that comment is irrelevant IMO.

"One of the best starters in the league" could be a little much. I think our views of pitching may have been skewed in Harang's heyday due to what we were comparing him to. Kind of like the somewhat attractive girl at the bar with the ugly friends. Maybe he looked a bit better because he was hanging out with Eric Milton and Brandon Claussen.

3 seasons with an ERA under 4.21 in his career while he pitched most of his career against the NL Central, none under 3.73. Is that what we would really call a top pitcher?

I liked the guy, no doubt, but I'm not sure if referring to him in that way is entirely accurate.

Danny Serafini
04-02-2011, 01:55 AM
He may not have been Cy Young, but at the same time he led the league in strikeouts, wins and complete games the same time Law was saying he was a #4 starter. It's pretty clear Law was the guy who screwed up on that one.

757690
04-02-2011, 04:22 AM
"One of the best starters in the league" could be a little much. I think our views of pitching may have been skewed in Harang's heyday due to what we were comparing him to. Kind of like the somewhat attractive girl at the bar with the ugly friends. Maybe he looked a bit better because he was hanging out with Eric Milton and Brandon Claussen.

3 seasons with an ERA under 4.21 in his career while he pitched most of his career against the NL Central, none under 3.73. Is that what we would really call a top pitcher?

I liked the guy, no doubt, but I'm not sure if referring to him in that way is entirely accurate.

During those three seasons he was the only NL pitcher to have an ERA lower than 4 and at least 200K's all three seasons. An argument could have been made that he was the best pitcher in the league for those three years.

And even if Law was correct, his argument was what was ridiculed the most. He said that Harang's numbers were inflated because he faced the Pirates so many times.

edabbs44
04-02-2011, 08:00 AM
He may not have been Cy Young, but at the same time he led the league in strikeouts, wins and complete games the same time Law was saying he was a #4 starter. It's pretty clear Law was the guy who screwed up on that one.

Here's what he actually said:


Anyway, Harang's not an ace, just a good innings-eater, would be a 3/4 on a contending club.

One can say that he said #4, or one could say that he said that he would be a #3 on the better teams in baseball. Either way, I'm not sure that anyone can really complain too much about what he said.

I think the quote got way overhyped. I like reading his stuff and like that he is willing to say bold stuff. No one is going to nail every single assessment or prediction. He may end up being wrong on Hamilton and he may not have nailed Harang to a tee, but I think it is a little early to critique exactly what he said on the guy since it is still way early.

jojo
04-02-2011, 09:20 AM
Anyone who makes their living by projecting draft picks-many of whom are just out of HS-and doesn't shy away from giving his opinion about all players (not just the 19 yo ARODS) is going to be wrong a lot.

Keith Law is not a moron.

757690
04-02-2011, 03:33 PM
Anyone who makes their living by projecting draft picks-many of whom are just out of HS-and doesn't shy away from giving his opinion about all players (not just the 19 yo ARODS) is going to be wrong a lot.

Keith Law is not a moron.

I personally think Law isn't any worse than the other draft day experts. But I do have two problems with him.

1) He tries too hard to make controversial statements so that he can stand out from the rest of the draft day crowd.

2) He speaks as if he is the one and only expert on these matters.

Guys like Sickels and Goldstein always use language that makes it clear that this is just their opinion and they could be wrong. Not so much with Law.

camisadelgolf
04-02-2011, 04:57 PM
I have a feeling that KLaw is one of those guys you hate until you meet him in person and realize how he is irl.

RedsManRick
04-02-2011, 08:33 PM
I'd let Hamilton prove that he can hit advanced pitching before I declared Law wrong. I've heard more than one scout say that he gets the bat knocked of his hands so-to-speak quite often.

If he ends up hitting like Janish, how we assess his hitting ability?

Chey
04-04-2011, 06:18 AM
Billy Hamilton also thought Cassiere had no Chey. Boy was he wrong.

bucksfan2
04-05-2011, 02:52 PM
I personally think Law isn't any worse than the other draft day experts. But I do have two problems with him.

1) He tries too hard to make controversial statements so that he can stand out from the rest of the draft day crowd.

2) He speaks as if he is the one and only expert on these matters.

Guys like Sickels and Goldstein always use language that makes it clear that this is just their opinion and they could be wrong. Not so much with Law.

I have no issue with a guy like Keith Law. And I tend to agree with what JoJo said earlier (may be the first time I ever agreed with him!) about the difficulty of the MLB draft. Lets be honest even the MLB teams have a tough enough time drafting players.

What you said makes sense and I there is a problem with it. They really aren't held accountable for what they say. If you look at the Billy Hamilton pick and reaction by Law its a good 4 years or so before Hamilton would reach the major leagues. Are people really going to hold Law accountable for that? If you asked him about that Law could replay "I don't remember making that comment" or "That was 4 years ago."

Caveat Emperor
04-05-2011, 03:36 PM
I don't see how Billy Hamilton has proven anyone wrong at this point. It's way premature to be shoving plates of crow into people's faces.

NorrisHopper30
04-05-2011, 03:57 PM
I tweeted Keith Law yesterday a few times and he responded to me about Billy. He said it's hard to rate HS bats, and he has re-ranked him at #51?

I asked him when he starts rethinking his thoughts on the draft and he said when he sees them for the first time in pro ball..sounds like BHam is starting to grow on him though.

I give him props for responding to me and I think him ranking Hamilton at #51 is the equiv of "eating crow" for now, but if Hamilton doesn't pan out maybe he was right?

Blitz Dorsey
04-10-2011, 11:49 PM
It was just the smug way he answered the question (pretty much the same way he acts all the time). A Reds fan asked a legitimate question. Instead of breaking it down and explaining why he didn't think Billy Hamilton would ever be an effective offensive player, he just wrote the pick off as a reach and said: "He can run. He can't hit. Good luck."

Wow, that's some deep insight there. And so far, Law's been way off base. No one is saying Billy Hamilton is definitely going to be a good MLB hitter -- heck, he's still in low-A ball. But Law was basically saying the pick was a reach and had nothing to back it up except some snide comment. I don't mind criticism, just bring something of substance to the table. If anything, that was a steal of a pick, not a reach.

Tony Cloninger
04-11-2011, 11:52 AM
His smart Aleck answers are about in line with how Hal Mccoy answers his mail. T J Simers as well. Do not get these guys who act like they have to be funny or condescending.

No reason why Hamilton cannot hit like Jose Reyes as he progresses.

dougdirt
04-11-2011, 01:17 PM
His smart Aleck answers are about in line with how Hal Mccoy answers his mail. T J Simers as well. Do not get these guys who act like they have to be funny or condescending.

No reason why Hamilton cannot hit like Jose Reyes as he progresses.

I just don't see him having anywhere near the power Reyes has. Neither do scouts. The rest of their games? Sure, that could work. But I don't see Hamilton being a 15-20 HR guy like Reyes has shown to be.

Todd Gack
04-11-2011, 06:31 PM
Are you telling me Keith Law isn't perfect? Darn.

Look, I like Keith because he seems to have a lot of connections around the league and a lot of info. I'm pretty sure he's been wrong on a lot of guys. But I'm also pretty sure he's been right about a lot of guys. I don't know why people take other 'experts' opinions so personally.

dougdirt
04-11-2011, 06:42 PM
Are you telling me Keith Law isn't perfect? Darn.

Look, I like Keith because he seems to have a lot of connections around the league and a lot of info. I'm pretty sure he's been wrong on a lot of guys. But I'm also pretty sure he's been right about a lot of guys. I don't know why people take other 'experts' opinions so personally.

Maybe it is because we are Reds fans, but for a while now he seems to always have bad things to say about the Reds. As for his comment on Billy Hamilton.... he was right at the time. The year he was drafted he hit .205 in the GCL and struck out in 26% of his plate appearances. Of course things have since changed some, but there are still PLENTY of people out there who question his bat and while I don't fully agree with them, I am far from sold on it either. You can see that there are things there that could be very good, but he has some bad going on in his swing too.

Todd Gack
04-11-2011, 08:24 PM
Maybe it is because we are Reds fans, but for a while now he seems to always have bad things to say about the Reds. As for his comment on Billy Hamilton.... he was right at the time. The year he was drafted he hit .205 in the GCL and struck out in 26% of his plate appearances. Of course things have since changed some, but there are still PLENTY of people out there who question his bat and while I don't fully agree with them, I am far from sold on it either. You can see that there are things there that could be very good, but he has some bad going on in his swing too.

thanks for the info doug. You're, by far, the best poster on the board. I always enjoy reading your posts more than anyone else.

Homer Bailey
05-25-2011, 10:47 AM
Soon after the Reds picked Billy Hamilton in the second round in 2009, ESPN.com's Keith Law hosted a chat and was taking questions about various picks. I remember this verbatim: A Reds fan sent in a question that read: "What do you think of the Reds grabbing SS Billy Hamilton in the second round?"

Law, in full smug mode, said: "He can run. He can't hit. Good luck."

And now we know why Keith Law -- who is about as much of a talent scout as the local drunk at the corner bar -- is no longer working for a MLB team, but is spouting off BS for ESPN.

.197/.288/.274 for a .562 OPS.

Tony Cloninger
05-25-2011, 11:11 AM
They need to stop this switch hitting experiment and let him hit from his natural side.

Caveat Emperor
05-25-2011, 01:31 PM
.197/.288/.274 for a .562 OPS.

He's a toolsy prospect. If history tells us anything, it's that the light switch often clicks suddenly for guys like him and they rocket through the system after that.

Too early to sing his praises, too early to condemn him

Homer Bailey
05-25-2011, 01:41 PM
He's a toolsy prospect. If history tells us anything, it's that the light switch often clicks suddenly for guys like him and they rocket through the system after that.

Too early to sing his praises, too early to condemn him

I agree with all points.

I just don't see how Keith Law has even been slightly wrong to this point.

Plus Plus
05-25-2011, 04:33 PM
Billy Hamilton hit .318/.383/.456/.839 last season in Billings. His struggles this year have been pretty obvious, but it's kind of silly to label him as a no-stick player, as Law effectively did.

Benihana
05-25-2011, 05:27 PM
It is too early for anything with Hamilton, Yorman and Duran. They are teenagers in A ball. If they hit in Dayton, great. It's not until they repeat Dayton next year and still do nothing that I'll start to be very concerned.

mth123
05-25-2011, 09:02 PM
Billy Hamilton hit .318/.383/.456/.839 last season in Billings. His struggles this year have been pretty obvious, but it's kind of silly to label him as a no-stick player, as Law effectively did.

Everybody hits in Billings.

Caveat Emperor
05-25-2011, 10:28 PM
Everybody hits in Billings.

Except Drew Stubbs, who posted a very pedestrian .252 / .368 / .400 line as a 21 y/o college product in his time at Billings.

Which directs me back to my original point -- toolsy prospects frequently look miserable until, seemingly overnight, they just "get it" and all the potential starts to come pouring out at once.

Now, they sometimes never reach that point and end up being piles of nothing with mountains of potential (looking your way Ruben Mateo & Wily Mo Pena), so there's always that concern -- but frankly, making a judgment either way about anything is just asking for trouble.

jojo
05-25-2011, 10:34 PM
Except Drew Stubbs, who posted a very pedestrian .252 / .368 / .400 line as a 21 y/o college product in his time at Billings.

Which directs me back to my original point -- toolsy prospects frequently look miserable until, seemingly overnight, they just "get it" and all the potential starts to come pouring out at once.

Now, they sometimes never reach that point and end up being piles of nothing with mountains of potential (looking your way Ruben Mateo & Wily Mo Pena), so there's always that concern -- but frankly, making a judgment either way about anything is just asking for trouble.

So how does one value an unknown quantity?

bubbachunk
05-25-2011, 10:38 PM
So how does one value an unknown quantity?

Carefully

TOBTTReds
05-26-2011, 06:53 PM
Billy Hamilton hit .318/.383/.456/.839 last season in Billings. His struggles this year have been pretty obvious, but it's kind of silly to label him as a no-stick player, as Law effectively did.

I'd bet if you asked 50 talent evaluators that have scouted him, 40 or more would say he is a no-stick player. If he was a 60 runner, he'd be darn near worthless. Thankfully he is a 85 runner (yeah, I just graded a tool higher than possible), so he still effective. I'm a huge fan of the guy and Dayton is the first box score I check because of him, so I'm not trying to bash.

He has some major fundamental flaws in his swing that will change after this year I'm sure. Be prepared to see a Juan Pierre style hitter up there next year (I hope).

dougdirt
05-26-2011, 08:59 PM
I'd bet if you asked 50 talent evaluators that have scouted him, 40 or more would say he is a no-stick player. If he was a 60 runner, he'd be darn near worthless. Thankfully he is a 85 runner (yeah, I just graded a tool higher than possible), so he still effective. I'm a huge fan of the guy and Dayton is the first box score I check because of him, so I'm not trying to bash.

He has some major fundamental flaws in his swing that will change after this year I'm sure. Be prepared to see a Juan Pierre style hitter up there next year (I hope).

I wouldn't try to turn him into a Juan Pierre type hitter just yet. The guy does have some gap power from both sides when things are working right with his swing and he keeps his weight back. Unfortunately right now he simply doesn't keep his weight back often at all and is often out on his front foot.

I would rather the Reds take him back to a RHH only before they tried to turn him into a slap hitter.

bellhead
05-26-2011, 09:10 PM
Wish we Mr. Miyagi in Dayton who had a wax on/wax off drill to keep his weight back.

powersackers
05-27-2011, 01:15 AM
He's on the front page of www.minorleaguebaseball.com with a video of him stealing his "minor league leading 38th base". Of course he somehow managed to get on base again Thursday night and got #39. He was sliding into second and on the bag for #38 before the IFer even caught the ball.

I like the idea of him repeating low A next year. He's got time on his side, and plenty to learn.

TOBTTReds
05-27-2011, 02:45 PM
I wouldn't try to turn him into a Juan Pierre type hitter just yet. The guy does have some gap power from both sides when things are working right with his swing and he keeps his weight back. Unfortunately right now he simply doesn't keep his weight back often at all and is often out on his front foot.

I would rather the Reds take him back to a RHH only before they tried to turn him into a slap hitter.

I don't think being a Juan Pierre type is bad (not saying you do, but the way you say not yet, I get that impression). Even if BH has some gap power, I just don't see it ever being enough to really make a difference.

For me, I want him to hit whichever way he can to get on base the most. If he had a slash line of .300/.380/.370, I'd be quite happy. Pierre had an ISO of .062 in the minors and a .067 in the bigs. BH's is .103, mostly because of his 3B's (he has 14 in 152 games, Pierre had 12 in 317 games).

I guess the question is:
Do you anticipate him having enough power for it to be worth him possibly not getting on base as much?

My answer is no, I just want him to get on base.

If you think he will have a bit more power, which it seems you do, then I completely understand your point.

RedsManRick
05-27-2011, 03:11 PM
Hamilton makes me think of Dodgers' prospect Dee Gordon:

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=sa454527&position=SS

Scouts are all over the place in their assessment of him.

dougdirt
05-27-2011, 04:47 PM
Hamilton makes me think of Dodgers' prospect Dee Gordon:

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=sa454527&position=SS

Scouts are all over the place in their assessment of him.

I think the comparisons are slightly off. The big difference between the two IMO is size. Tools wise, I agree that they are similar. But I think Hamilton has more power potential due to his size, which says a lot considering Hamilton is maybe a potential 40 power hitter. Dee Gordon is maybe 5'8" and 140 pounds. He isn't going to be getting any bigger either unless he gets fat. Billy Hamilton is about 6'1" and 160 pounds. He probably isn't going to get any bigger, but the height allows for a little more power potential.

dougdirt
05-27-2011, 04:51 PM
I don't think being a Juan Pierre type is bad (not saying you do, but the way you say not yet, I get that impression). Even if BH has some gap power, I just don't see it ever being enough to really make a difference.

For me, I want him to hit whichever way he can to get on base the most. If he had a slash line of .300/.380/.370, I'd be quite happy. Pierre had an ISO of .062 in the minors and a .067 in the bigs. BH's is .103, mostly because of his 3B's (he has 14 in 152 games, Pierre had 12 in 317 games).

I guess the question is:
Do you anticipate him having enough power for it to be worth him possibly not getting on base as much?

My answer is no, I just want him to get on base.

If you think he will have a bit more power, which it seems you do, then I completely understand your point.

While there isn't exactly something wrong with the slash line above, I think that Hamilton could become more than that overall. If you attempt to turn him into a slap hitter, he probably could become a .350 OBP and a .350 SLG guy, but I don't know if he ever becomes much more than that. I would take my chances that he can develop into a .425 SLG guy by letting him learn to hit over the next 2-3 years before going down such a route where you try to retool his swing as a slap only type of guy.

TOBTTReds
05-27-2011, 04:57 PM
While there isn't exactly something wrong with the slash line above, I think that Hamilton could become more than that overall. If you attempt to turn him into a slap hitter, he probably could become a .350 OBP and a .350 SLG guy, but I don't know if he ever becomes much more than that. I would take my chances that he can develop into a .425 SLG guy by letting him learn to hit over the next 2-3 years before going down such a route where you try to retool his swing as a slap only type of guy.

Fair enough...especially for a former three sport guy who can now just concentrate on baseball, and he's only 20. From a development standpoint, I think it continues to be important to monitor is progress at the plate from L/R.

dougdirt
05-27-2011, 05:29 PM
From a development standpoint, I think it continues to be important to monitor is progress at the plate from L/R.

We are in complete agreement here. I think it is too early to jump ship on him hitting left handed, because I see some promise out of that side every now and again. But, if say June rolls around next year and he still isn't showing much of anything other than a flash a few times a week of getting it as a left hander, I would begin to think about switching him back to a full time right hander.

TOBTTReds
05-27-2011, 06:32 PM
because I see some promise out of that side every now and again.

And you know what the scouts will say:

I saw it in him once, so I know it's in there! If only player development would find a way to get it out of him all the time! :D