Billy Hamilton brings a lot of things to the table for the Kansas City Royals, mostly with his speed.
In order to capitalize on his key tool from an offensive standpoint, he needs to get on base. Defensively, he is already a great talent that will patrol the grass for the Kansas City Royals. However, with the depth in the outfield that might not be enough to keep him in the lineup for the entire season.
This is not reinventing the wheel here. Billy Hamilton’s limited offensive output in Cincinnati has been well documented. If he can turn things around in a Royals uniform, he becomes one of the most unique weapons in the league.
It is no secret that Hamilton’s speed allows him to be a great baserunner, but getting on the bases has been another story. At his peak he was worth a base running rating over 13 in consecutive years. Last season, his BsR was 8.4.
One of the ways to get on base is by walking, but he has not done that well in his career. In seasons where he played a normal amount, his highest walk rate was 8.3 percent. His on base percentage last year was .299.
Last year was also Hamilton’s highest swing percentage by at least two percent. The good news is that those swings were in the zone, his swing percentage a pitches outside the zone was 29.9 percent for the second year in a row.
The difference is the percentage of contact he made at those pitches inside the strike zone. His rate of 82.5 percent was the lowest of his career. This was also the first season of his career that his contact percentage as a whole fell under 80 percent.
Hamilton just needs to focus on making better contact. According to Fangraphs, his weak contact percentage was the highest it’s been. If he is going to swing more, that is fine, but he needs to find a way to make it work.
It is very likely that Hamilton is going to be hitting in the nine hole most of the time. That alone might help him to be better. He was a leadoff hitter for most of his time with the Reds. Being consistently at the back of the lineup might help him to get on base a little more.
If things go well, Hamilton can be one of the most special talents in the league. All he has to do is get on base.