To further the Rickey Henderson comparison, he had a .267/.398/.382 slash line in 1982 with 130 stolen bases and 42 caught stealing. That is about as close I can get to Hamilton's numbers. His oWAR (BR formula) was 5.5 that year (I use oWAR to eliminate defense for now). Tavares's numbers are in the ballpark of Votto last year, who had a 5.7 oWAR. Now, there are ballpark/position factors in there and it's a cumulative stat, so it's not the best comparison. Taking in those into account it looks better for Taveras, but I would say Votto's numbers>Tavares and Hamiltons>Henderson so it's a wash.
Anyway, talking all that into account, Hamilton's offensive numbers are similar in value to Taveras (I would need more detailed numbers not available from minor league stats to do a more exact comparison). In other words, Hamilton has a very strong case based on minor league batting numbers. This is in no way a clear cut case like you are trying to make it out to be.
edit: oh, and if you believe in wOBA, the two players are almost identical and that doesn't take into account steals. If you believe in Sabermetrics, getting on base is more important than slugging (which wOBA tries to take into account and is pretty much OPS with slugging reduced in value). That makes Hamilton's case a lot better.
Last edited by scott91575; 08-22-2012 at 04:05 AM.
Billy Hamilton is not Rickey Henderson. Sorry, but that comparison is just crazy.
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Billy will never have the power that Rickey had.. I agree with that.
He might come close in OBP and steals though.. Would I bet my house on it? Nope, but that's the upside.
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I don't really know that his upside is Rickey type OBP at all. If he doesn't have the power then he is going to have to walk as much or more while also striking out less often, which he isn't close to being able to do right now.
Henderson didn't really exhibit any more power than Hamilton in the minors, although I wonder if the power exhibited in the majors was natural given the team he broke in with (*cough cough* McGwire, Canseco, etc.)
That said, while I don't share Doug's views on Hamilton's being unable to sustain a Henderson-like OBP at some point, it's worth noting that Henderson's strikeout rate in the minors was definitely impressive. He struck out just 12.4% of his plate appearances (16.4% walk rate). Hamilton currently sits at a 10.4% walk rate and 20% strikeout rate, although this year has been much, much better (14.5% and 18.3%, respectively).
I don't see Hamilton ever having Rickey's power, though I still think he can maintain a 12-13% walk rate in the majors. I view Hamilton as being more in the mold of Tim Raines as upside, with a basement career similar to Otis Nixon. Raines finished his career with a 12.9% walk rate despite an ISO of .131. Like Hamilton, he was only about 160 pounds soaking wet.
The only career stat I used for Rickey was for men on base. That has nothing to do with Hamilton and was used to show you lead off men do not hit 50% of the time with men on base. It's not even close.
I don't really care to do it though. Hamilton is a unique player with a unique skillset. I don't believe that his minor league numbers are going to translate 1 to 1, particularly in the walk area. So even if I did find someone with stats that are similar, it wouldn't particularly do much good for a comparison for me.