Re: Billy Hamilton
I think you have to look at speed as the second most important element leading off - after OBP. Getting on at a high clip is most important. But look at Stubbs. Low OBP, high strikeouts but he was a run machine. His base running was excellent and his speed was top notch. When he did get on he scored a phenomenal % of the time. It didn't offset his low OBP but it did ameliorate it somewhat. Dusty gets ripped for his "clogging the bases" comment and probably should but there is a grain of truth in it too with slow station to station players like Hanigan. As RMR shows, even with much higher OBP rates they may barely achieve the scoring production of much, much lower OBP players with excellent speed. Remember, of course - this is the two extremes of the categories, speed and OBP wise. Also, Stubbs success scoring on a high pct basis came because of his overall running prowess - not just stealing - his speed was an asset beyond just stealing bases which is something that gets forgotten. First to third, scoring from first, or scoring from second on the shallow single are things the fleet footed runner can do. I don't think you have to be in Rickey Henderson's class - look at Pete - but I think you should be a smart aggressive baserunner with enough speed to take an extra base like Pete was in order to be a good leadoff man, and of course, have a solid OBP. If Stubbs taught us anything it should be that a low OBP leadoff man with a lot of speed can be somewhat effective (if inordinately frustrating to watch). I have high hopes Billy can better Stubbs OBP rate and he is even faster and a better base stealer. I don't think he has to be a .380 to .400 OBP guy to be really, really good. .325-.340 especially in his early seasons would be okay by me. Anything more would be gravy. Anything less would be Stubbesian - but might still be workable.