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Making the Case for the Dodgers Acquiring Billy Hamilton

The speedy outfielder could fill a specific role on the Dodgers.

Sep 20, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Cincinnati Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton (6) tracks down a fly ball against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, the Royals designated 28-year-old outfielder Billy Hamilton for assignment, meaning he’s available for an organization to claim. Although the Dodgers don’t need another position player, they could use Hamilton in a specific role to help them in the playoffs.

Something the Dodgers have considered in the past is carrying a stolen base specialist on their playoff roster. In 2017, they thought about using Tim LoCastro in that role and even had guys training for it in the minor leagues, but it just never worked out. Now, they can make it happen.

If they acquired Hamilton, it would be best if he never takes an at-bat for the team. In 3,041 career plate appearances, he holds a .242/.296/.326 line with a 67 wRC+. He would simply have to be a pinch-runner and defensive substitution.

Hamilton is one of the fastest players in the game and has been one of the best base stealers in baseball. He ranks in the 97th percentile of the Statcast Speed Leaders and has 296 career steals with an 81% success rate. This season, the Dodgers rank 25th in the league with 37 stolen bases. In playoff games, having a guy who can take an extra-base and create some havoc on the base paths could be very valuable to any team.

They could also use Hamilton as a defensive substitution late in games. A.J. Pollock has been bad defensively this year and with Cody Bellinger likely playing first in the playoffs, the Dodgers’ outfield defense isn’t going to be great.

Hamilton is a strong defender in the due to his elite speed and quick jump. After Bellinger, he would be the best defensive outfielder on the roster. He ranks in the 72nd percentile of outs above average and the 77th percentile of outfielder jump.

If the Dodgers find themselves in a close game, having a guy who could sub in to steal a bag and then take over on defense in the next inning could be the difference in winning or losing a game.

Right now, the Dodgers’ focus is on assembling the best 25-man roster for the playoffs and a base stealer is something they lack. Adding him is by no means a need for the Dodgers, but they might find him a nice luxury to have.

Written by Blake Williams

I graduated with an Associate's Degree in Journalism from Los Angeles Pierce College and now I'm working towards my Bachelor's at Cal State University, Northridge. I'm currently the managing editor for the Roundup News and a writer for Dodgers Nation. Around the age of 12, I fell in love with baseball and in high school, I realized my best path to working in baseball was as a writer, so that's the path I followed. I also like to bring an analytics viewpoint to my work and I'm always willing to help someone understand them since so many people have done the same for me. Thanks for reading!

3 Comments

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  1. We have too many players this is ridiculous. If any acquisitions are to be made it should be for pitching only

  2. If anyone knows about how important a stolen base can be, it’s Dave Roberts. He owns one of the most famous stolen bases in Red Sox history.

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