Who is better Dee Gordon or Billy Hamilton?

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Answered by: Joe, An Expert in the Fantasy Baseball Category
Comparing Dee Gordon And Billy Hamilton for fantasy value depends a lot on a teams needs. A comparison like this is always difficult because of the range of factors to consider. When it comes to fantasy statistics, there are only a few categories to consider, but certain factors can affect a players value in ways that do not show up in statistics. A key consideration is position qualification, as the more spots in the field a player qualifies for, the more flexibility they offer to fantasy managers.

A straight comparison of statistics shows Dee Gordon has performed better than Billy Hamilton in several statistical categories. The most significant of these is stolen bases. The scouting report on Billy Hamilton has always focused on his speed. After being drafted in 2009, he played in 42 rookie league games, made 177 plate appearances, hit .209 but stole 14 bases. The next season he played in a rookie league again and hit .318 in 69 games with 316 PA, but stole 48 bases. His 2011 rookie league season saw him steal 103 bases. The breakout came in 2012, when he split time at three different levels and stole a total of 165 bases. In 2013, he stole 75 bases for the AAA club before being called up to the majors for September roster expansion. In 13 major league games he made just 22 PA, but picked up 13 stolen bases while being used mostly as a pinch runner.

There is no denying Billy Hamilton has the potential to be a league leading base-stealer in the majors. However, this is his first full season at the major league level and he trails Dee Gordon in this category. Gordon has the benefit of more experience. He was drafted a year earlier than Hamilton and is almost two and a half years older. He made his major league debut in 2011 and lead all rookies with 24 stolen bases in just 56 games. He was leading the league in steals again in 2012 when he injured his thumb. The Dodgers added Hanley Ramirez late in the season, which cost Gordon his starting job. In 2013, he worked on learning how to play second base and centerfield, to improve his versatility. This paid off as he won the Dodger's starting second baseman's job for the 2014 season.

He played enough games in 2013 at shortstop that he qualifies for both short and second this year which increases his value, as Hamilton only qualifies as an outfielder. While Gordon's speed has always been his best quality, his reputation as a base-stealer has not been as strong as Hamilton's. Their numbers are quite similar although Gordon is slightly better in many of them. His experience shows as he walks more and strikes out less even though their batting averages and on base percentages are close. Hamilton has shown a little more power than Gordon, but as lead off hitters, neither has many chances to drive in runs.

Considering their performances so far this year, Gordon has had the better season. Hamilton is still learning how to play at the major league level and will become one of the great base-stealers in the game. With the adjustment Gordon has had to make to playing second base, he has been quite a surprise this year, but he should finish strong. Hamilton has not met expectations yet, but based on his potential, his upside is greater for fantasy teams in need of stolen bases. In fantasy leagues, reliable performance is more valuable than potential, which means Dee Gordon is slightly more appealing to fantasy owners.

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