2011 Fantasy Projections, No. 25: Why Josh Hamilton Is Due for a Regression

Nick KappelAnalyst IIIFebruary 2, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 30:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers reacts after he hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning against the San Francisco Giants in Game Three of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 30, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one-by-one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.

Josh Hamilton’s 2010 campaign was arguably more impressive than his 2008 season, despite missing 29 games (including most of September) with a rib injury. In 2009, Hamilton missed a total of 73 games (including more than a week in each of April, May and July, as well as all of June and nearly all of September) with a partially torn abdominal muscle and a pinched nerve in his back.

Hamilton’s history of injuries must be considered before drafting him this season, and is at least part of the reason he’s not higher on our 2011 big board. The other part has to do with the great amount of luck Hamilton experienced in 2010, judging by his whopping .390 BABIP (second-highest in the majors).

A big part of his 2010 success also had to do with his improvement against not only fastballs, but off-speed pitches as well:

2009:

  • Fastballs: 8.6 runs above average
  • Sliders: 0.8 runs below average
  • Curveballs: 3.5 runs below average
  • Changeups: 4.9 runs below average

2010:

  • Fastballs: 31.5 runs above average
  • Sliders: 5.7 runs above average
  • Curveballs: 5.0 runs above average
  • Changeups: 9.7 runs above average

Despite his aggressive nature (Hamilton swung at 80.7 percent of pitches across the plate, MLB average was 64.4 percent), Hamilton was able to make significant improvements in his pitch-recognition skills last season. Or maybe he just got really lucky. Or maybe it was a little bit of both.

Either way, Hamilton has monster potential given an entire season without injury. His .359 batting average is unrepeatable, but a .300-plus mark is within reason.

One of the most obvious high-risk/high-reward picks in the draft, Hamilton checks in on our 2011 big board as the sixth-ranked outfielder, No. 25 overall.

 PARHRRBISBAVG
2010 stats57195321008.359
3-year average5467925958.315
2011 FBI Forecast60095281007.315

 

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