Tag Archives: Billy Hamilton

Phillies reportedly looking at right-handed hitting center fielders

As potentially convoluted as the Philadelphia Phillies infield situation could get during the 2020 season, the outfield appears to be fairly set at this point

In right field, Bryce Harper put together an outstanding first season in Philadelphia. As long as he remains healthy, Harper is locked into the starting lineup at the position for years to come.

Andrew McCutchen is the left fielder. The veteran is expected to be 100% recovered from the devastating knee injury and subsequent surgery that ended his own first season with the club in early June. In fact, he responded earlier this week to a piece that I published asking what the Phillies could expect from him in 2020.

In center field, 2017 first round draft pick Adam Haseley will enter spring training as the anticipated everyday starter after appearing in 65 games during his rookie season last summer. Haseley, who turns 24 in mid-April, made 40 of his 65 overall appearances in center field in 2019, including 36 starts.

This morning, MLB insider Jon Morosi revealed that the Phillies may be looking to add a right-handed hitting complement to the lefty-swinging Haseley.

 

On the assumption that general manager Matt Klentak is still willing to look at available options outside of the organization, which players remaining on the free agent market might make the most sense for such a role?

The best available right-handed hitting center fielder is probably Kevin Pillar. Having just turned 31 years of age earlier this week, Pillar is a seven-year veteran.

Pillar has spent most of his career with the Toronto Blue Jays, who dealt him to the San Francisco Giants just one week into the 2019  campaign. He went on to enjoy his best season with 21 homers, 61 extra-base hits, 88 RBIs, 83 runs scored, and 14 steals. Pillar also finished fifth among all MLB center fielders in putouts.

Other available free agents fitting the bill of an experienced center fielder who bats right-handed include Peter Bourjos, Rajai Davis, Austin Jackson, and Juan Lagares. Switch-hitting speedster Billy Hamilton is also available.

The Phillies current outfield depth includes left-handed hitters Jay Bruce, Nick Williams, and Odubel Herrera. The latter is not expected to remain with the club into the 2020 season after a highly publicized domestic violence incident last year.

Even the top two outfield prospects in the minor league system, 2016 first overall draft pick Mickey Moniak and 2016 international signee Simon Muzziotti, are each left-handed hitters. Both can play center field but neither is big-league ready at this point.

The lone player on the Phillies current 40-man roster who fits the bill would be the injury-prone Roman Quinn, a switch-hitter. It is a near certainty that Quinn will make the team and fill a reserve outfield role with as long as he is healthy.

Two players who have big-league experience and who fit the right-handed hitting center field bill were signed by the club this winter to minor league deals. Both Mikie Mahtook and Matt Szczur (pronounced ‘Ceasar’) will come to spring training with a shot at filling the role for the club.

In an emergency, McCutchen could slide over to briefly cover the position. He played in 15 games there in 2019 including 10 starts. But his days as an MVP and Gold Glove caliber defender in center are long over, and it would be best to limit McCutchen’s exposure there considering the knee injury.

It is no secret that the Phillies hope to use last year’s .500 finish (81-81) as a springboard to compete for a postseason berth in 2020. Assuming health and continued positive development, Haseley will get the majority of starts in center field.

For the Phillies in the coming season, having a quality, experienced, right-handed hitting option at the position could prove to be a big help, giving Haseley a break against some tougher southpaw pitchers.

 

MORE RECENT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES CONTENT:

Phillies visit Kansas City for just second time since the 1980 World Series

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Phillies visit Kansas City for second time since the 1980 World Series

On the surface, this mid-May series in Kansas City between the Philadelphia Phillies (21-15) and the host Kansas City Royals (13-25) at Kauffman Stadium might not seem very interesting.

However, when you consider the situations of the two combatants and the Phillies upcoming schedule, the importance of winning – better yet, sweeping – this series should become more apparent to all Phillies fans.
First, those situations. You can tell just by looking at the win-loss records of the two squads that they are in far different places this year. The Phillies lead the National League East Division standings by four games, five in the loss columng.
Meanwhile, the Royals are in the basement of the AL Central Division. They already sit 11.5 games in back of the first-place Minnesota Twins, 13 out in that loss column. In fact, they are buried in the cellar at the current time, a full five back in the loss column from the fourth place team in their division.
These are the teams that the Phillies must beat up on if they are going to really pull away in their own divisional race. Also, after this weekend the club returns home for the next nine games. That would usually be a good thing, and it probably is in the scheme of things. But they return home to face some tough competition at the start of a scheduling crucible.
Of the Phillies next 23 games, 20 are against teams who currently have a winning record. And the three against a losing team come next weekend at home against the Colorado Rockies, who are just below the .500 mark and are always dangerous.
The Phillies will return home to a four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers (23-16) followed by three with the Rockies. Then they go on the road to the Windy City and four with the red-hot Chicago Cubs (22-13) and on to Milwaukee for three more with the Brew Crew. A quick stop home for a three-game series with the Saint Louis Cardinals (22-16) is then followed by a trip out west to face the Los Angeles Dodgers (25-15) and San Diego Padres (21-17).
That, my friends, is what is called a “test” in the sports world. It is the kind of stretch that tells you whether or not you are a legitimate contending team or not. It is a gauntlet that can either make a team, bringing it closer together, elevating it to new heights, or expose it as either a flawed club or an outright fraud.
And so, this weekend in Kansas City is important to the Phillies. They are a better team than the Royals. But that doesn’t mean that Kansas City doesn’t possess talented players entirely capable of coming up with a strong weekend and sending the Phillies home lamenting a missed opportunity . Gabe Kapler needs to have his club ready to play, and they need to go hard after these three games.

FRIDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES LINEUP

  1. Andrew McCutchen LF
  2. Jean Segura SS
  3. Bryce Harper DH
  4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  5. J.T. Realmuto C
  6. Odubel Herrera CF
  7. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  8. Maikel Franco 3B
  9. Nick Williams RF

ROYALS LINEUP

  1. Whit Merrifield 2B
  2. Adalberto Mondesi SS
  3. Alex Gordon LF
  4. Hunter Dozier 3B
  5. Jorge Soler RF
  6. Ryan O’Hearn 1B
  7. Kelvin Gutierrez DH
  8. Martin Maldonado C
  9. Billy Hamilton CF

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

  • Jake Arrieta: 4-2, 3.40 ERA, 1.244 WHIP, 40 hits allowed over 45 IP across seven starts with a 37/16 K:BB
  • Six of Arrieta’s seven outings can be characterized as strong, with only his April 27 start at home against the Miami Marlins as a poor outing. That would be his lone non-Quality Start (at least 6 IP, no more than 3 ER allowed) to this point.
  • Arrieta has four career starts vs the Royals: 2-0, 3.70 ERA, 22 hits over 24.1 IP with a 24/10 K:BB. However, three of the four came in 2010-11, and he has not faced them at all since the 2015 season. He made a start at Kauffman Stadium as a rookie with the Baltimore Orioles in 2010, and then made another start there in the 2011 season for Baltimore.
  • Homer Bailey: 3-3, 5.25 ERA, 1.306 WHIP, 34 hits allowed over 36 IP across seven starts with a 34/13 K:BB
  • Bailey has made seven starts, and in five of those he hasn’t pitched badly. However, in his two poor starts, he was miserable. Back on April 8 in his second start, Bailey allowed seven earned runs over five innings, mostly a product of three home runs. Then on April 23 he was bounced after just one inning by the Tampa Bay Rays after allowing four earned runs on three hits and four walks. In those other five starts he allowed just 23 hits over 30 innings with a 27/7 K:BB. Opponents have managed just a .219 BAA over his last five starts. In other words, unless the awful version happens to show tonight, Bailey can be expected to toss a solid game.
  • Bailey has made 11 career starts against the Phillies: 1-4, 3.74 ERA, 57 hits allowed over 65 innings with a 54/14 K:BB. His last came early last season when he went six innings for the Cincinnati Reds in a 6-1 loss at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies scored five times off the Reds bullpen after Bailey left that game.
  • Tommy John surgery in 2015 followed by surgery to remove bone spurs in his pitching elbow in early 2017 caused Bailey to miss most of the 2015-17 seasons. He made just 26 starts over those three years, 18 of those after returning in 2017.
  • Back on December 21, Bailey was included in a big trade between the Reds and the LA Dodgers, who subsequently released him the following day. He signed as a free agent with the Royals on February 9.
  • Bailey and Arrieta are two of five active MLB pitchers to have tossed multiple no-hitters in their careers. Bailey’s came all the way back in 2012 and 2013.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • This is the first meeting between these two teams since the Phillies took two of three games at Citizens Bank Park in the 2016 season. It will be just the second regular season trip to Kansas City for the Phillies, with the last coming way back in 2007. Of course, the Phillies famously captured their first-ever World Series championship by defeating the Royals in six games back in 1980. The Royals won their first just five years later. Both franchise’ now have two titles.
  • Tonight marks just the 13th regular season meeting between the Phillies and Royals, tied with the Los Angeles Angels as the fewest games which the Phillies have played against another MLB opponent.
  • This will be the Royals first Interleague series of the season. They went 6-14 last year in such games, and are 190-213 since Interleague play began back in 1997. They will face each of the Phillies divisional rivals later in the season. The Phillies set a franchise record with a dozen Interleague wins last season, and have a .600 winning percentage against AL clubs since the start of 2018, fourth best in the NL.
  • Andrew McCutchen has faced Bailey 51 times, more than any other Phillies player, and is hitting .314 off him. No current players in the Phillies lineup have homered off Homer.
  • Billy Hamilton, perhaps the flat-out fastest player in Major League Baseball, has faced Arrieta 18 times, most on the Royals. He has just a .167 average vs the Phillies right-hander. Alex Gordon is the lone Royals active hitter to take Arrieta deep.
  • Harper will serve as the Designated Hitter in Friday night’s opening game. Harper was the DH just once last season with Washington, going 0-5 with two strikeouts in a game at Toronto on June 17.
  • Today is the 29th birthday of perennial AL All-Star catcher Salvador Perez. An All-Star in each of the last six seasons and winner of the AL Gold Glove at catcher in five of those, Perez is out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He is expected back at full strength for the 2020 campaign.
  • Over their last 13 starts, the Phillies rotation has combined to post a 2.42 ERA in leading the Phillies to a 9-4 record in that span, with their collective ERA as the 2nd-lowest among all MLB staffs during the stretch.
  • Keys for the Phillies? They are 16-4 when scoring first, 18-4 when scoring four or more runs, 18-6 when blasting at least one homer, 12-1 when they out-hit the opposition, 19-1 when leading after six innings, 20-8 when their starting pitcher goes at least five innings. On the flip-side, they are 0-11 when trailing after six innings, 1-4 when tied after eight innings, and are 0-2 in walkoff decisions. In other words, they haven’t done well when trailing late to this point.
  • A celebration of life for Phillies chairman and minority owner David P. Montgomery, who passed away earlier this week, will be held at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 3:05 p.m. This is a scheduled off-day for the Phillies coming off a west coast trip. The service will be open to the public with gates opening at 2 pm. Parking in the CBP lots will be free. In lieu of flowers, the Montgomery family kindly requests that contributions be made to: Phillies Charities, Inc., Citizens Bank Park, One Citizens Bank Way, Philadelphia, PA 19148.

FRIDAY PROGRAMMING INFORMATION


Philadelphia Phillies Top 25 Players of All-Time: #12 – Billy Hamilton

“Slidin’ Billy” Hamilton was described by David Fleitz in his excellent SABR biography on Hamilton as “the greatest base stealer and most prolific run scorer of 19th century baseball”.

But as with a handful of others on this countdown: Roy Thomas (24), Gavvy Cravath (23), Cy Williams (21), and Sam Thompson (17), his contributions to the Philadelphia Phillies have been lost to time for most contemporary fans.
Hamilton was born in 1866 to Scottish immigrants in Newark, New Jersey. The family moved to Massachusetts when he was four years old, and that was where Hamilton was raised, learning to play baseball as a boy.
He became a top player in the semipro leagues around his new hometown of Clinton, especially known for his speed game.
As a 21-year-old in 1887, Hamilton made his professional debut. Less than a year later that speed was his ticket to the big leagues, where he would debut with the American Association’s Kansas City Cowboys.
In his first full season in 1889, Hamilton led the American Association with 111 stolen bases. It would be the first of three consecutive seasons and four total over his career in which he would steal more than 100 bases.
At the end of that 1889 campaign, Kansas City folded under the weight of financial problems. Hamilton’s contract was sold in January of 1890 to the Philadelphia Phillies organization of the National League.

The Phillies manager at the time was future Hall of Famer Harry Wright. He had taken over the reigns during the team’s second-ever season of 1884. Known alternately as the “Quakers” prior to 1889, Wright quickly turned the club into a winner.

 

After four consecutive winning seasons from 1885-88, the 1889 Phillies had finished a game below the .500 mark. Add that to the fact that a number of players had bolted for the new Players League, and Wright was looking for new talent.
Wright installed Hamilton immediately as his starting left fielder and #2 hitter in the Phillies lineup, and thus began one of the greatest six-year stretches of baseball that any player has ever produced in the history of the franchise.
Hamilton hit .360 with a .468 on-base percentage over those half-dozen seasons playing at the Philadelphia Baseball Grounds, which became known as “Baker Bowl” during his final year with the team.
He registered 1,084 hits during that time, scored 880 runs, had 51 triples, and stole 510 bases. He led the National League in steals four times while with the Phillies. He also lead the circuit in walks three times, and in runs scored three times. In 1891 his 179 hits was also a league-leading total.
Hamilton’s speed would lead him to become the Phillies center fielder, and during the 1894 season, he and his outfield mates had a year for the ages. Hamilton hit .403 that year, while right fielder Sam Thompson led the squad with his .415 mark, and left fielder Ed Delahanty hit for a .404 average.
That performance by the Phillies outfield was not just the greatest by any in team history, but also the only time in big league history where all three outfielders finished with a .400 plus batting average, and eventually reached the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Hamilton was pure speed, and was given the green light to run on the bases whenever he wanted. His speed and style earned him the nickname “Slidin’ Billy”, and Fleitz states that one paper was quoted that he “tried to steal everything in sight, including the umpire.”
His slugging teammate Thompson was quoted as well: “Hamilton’s work on the basepaths was spectacular; he delighted in stealing bases,” and Thompson even went so far as to call Hamilton “more daring and reckless” than Ty Cobb.
With all their offensive firepower, the Phillies could not win a pennant during the five seasons that the three men roamed the Philly outfield together. While each produced impressive numbers every season, the Phils pitching always let them down. The closest they would come would be their final season together when the 1895 Phillies went 78-53 and finished in 3rd place out of 12 teams, 9.5 back of the leaders.
Their best team might have been the 1893 bunch. On August 5, they completed a sweep of Washington and stood in 2nd place, just four games off the pace. However, Hamilton came down with Typhoid fever and missed the rest of the season. Without him, the Phils lost 10 of their next 13 games, falling out of the race.
On November 14, 1895 the Phillies inexplicably dealt Hamilton away to the Boston Beaneaters (now the Atlanta Braves) in exchange for third baseman Billy Nash, who would also become the Phils manager.
A power hitter who had helped lead Boston to three straight pennants from 1891-93, Nash’s career suddenly dried up at age 31 in Philadelphia. Hamilton meanwhile would continue to rack up hits and score runs throughout his early 30’s over six more years, helping Boston win pennants in 1897 and 1898.
During that 1898 season, The Sporting News commented that Hamilton “has got base stealing down to a science, and no player succeeds in the attempt so often in proportion to times attempted. His slide is wonderful, and often he gets away from the fielder when the latter has the ball in hand waiting to touch him.”
The 1901 season would prove his last in the big leagues at age 35. But Hamilton hung around the game in numerous roles for the next 16 years, serving as everything from a minor league manager to a scout back with Boston, and even as part-owner and manager of a team in Worcester. Following the 1917 season, Hamilton left the game for good at age 51.
In a 1937 letter to The Sporting News, Hamilton commented on his own career achievements: “I was and will be the greatest base stealer of all time. I stole over 100 bases on many years and if they ever re-count the record I will get my just reward.”
Hamilton was ultimately elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1961, joining his old Phillies teammate Delahanty, who had been selected 16 years earlier. They would be joined by the third member of that great 1890’s Phillies outfield, Thompson, in 1974. All three are also on the Phillies Wall of Fame, with Hamilton the last to be honored in 2004.
None of the three would live to see their inductions, however, with all selected by the Veteran’s Committee well after their deaths. Hamilton passed away in December of 1940 at age 74 after being confined to bed for most of the last year of his life.
He was survived by his wife, who lived on for another 16 years, as well as four children and two grandchildren. His kids represented him at the July 1961 Hall of Fame ceremonies.

Career Accomplishments
  • Led the American Association in Steals (1889)
  • Two National League batting titles (1891, 1893)
  • Led National League in On-Base Percentage five times
  • Led NL in OPS and OPS+ twice
  • Led National League in Hits (1891)
  • Led NL in Runs Scored four times
  • Led NL in Steals five times
  • Led NL in Walks five times
  • Tied for sixth in MLB history with Ted Williams in career batting average (.344)
  • Third in MLB  history in Stolen Bases (912), behind only Rickey Henderson & Lou Brock
  • 26th in MLB history in Runs Scored (1,690)
  • 1961 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee
  • 2004 Phillies Wall of Fame inductee

Most Memorable Moment
During that 1894 season when he and his outfield mates recorded their .400+ seasons together, the Phillies hosted the Washington Senators in a doubleheader at Philadelphia Baseball Grounds.
The Phils won the opener in a 10-8 slugfest, but it was the second game that would provide Hamilton’s memorable moment. Not only did the Phillies win once again with a typical offensive outburst, but the 11-5 victory included a record-tying performance by the center fielder.
Hamilton stole seven bases in that second game to wow the 4,100 fans in attendance. Those seven steals tied the 13-year old big league record that had been set previously by George Gore.

Reasons for Ranking Placement
Hamilton produced an 8.2 WAR season in 1894, and had four more WAR seasons of 5+ while with the Phillies. His other season with team resulted in a 4.4 WAR campaign.
For his six years in a Phillies uniform, Thompson ranks first in batting average (.361), on-base percentage (.468), stolen bases (508) and is third in OPS (.928) in franchise history. He ranks 12th in runs, 14th in walks, and 24th in triples on the club’s all-time lists.

Previous Entries

Formula explained
The player rankings formula combines both traditional and advanced statistics/metrics and assigns a point total to each category. These statistics only reflect the player’s Phillies career.
First, single season WAR is a primary factor in our rankings. According to WAR’s calculations, 2+ WAR is considered a starter, 5+ WAR is All-Star caliber, and 8+ WAR is MVP level. We totaled the number of seasons that a player performed at a 2+ WAR, 5+ WAR, and 8+ WAR level and assigned a set point value for each category, (+1), (+3), and (+5) respectively. For example, in 1980, Mike Schmidt complied an 8.8 WAR. This was counted as a 2+ WAR season, a 5+ WAR season, and an 8+ WAR season. So, for 1980 alone, Mike Schmidt earned (9) points for WAR.
Second, we assigned a point value for amount of years spent with the Phillies. In order to be considered for this list, a player must have been with the organization for a minimum of (5) years.
Next, we assigned point values for being among the top 25 in particular statistical categories, such as batting average, hits, doubles, triples, RBI, home runs, and OPS for hitters, and ERA, Wins, and WPA (wins probability added) for pitchers.
Finally, all statistical categories were totaled up using our point based system and ranked accordingly, with myself and managing editor Tim Kelly reserving the right to move players up the list, within reason. An explanation of why a player is ranked in a certain spot will be provided, as will an overall score breakdown

2014 Best of MLB Awards

Trout, Kershaw are AL and NL POY respectively

It’s that time of year again, awards season in Major League Baseball. And this site will be no exception.

This year for the first time, with the renewed emphasis on baseball, I am announcing the first-ever “Best of MLB” awards honorees.

In all, honorees are being named for both the National League and the American League in each of 9 categories, one for each inning in a ballgame: Player of the Year, Starting Pitcher, Relief Pitcher, Offensive Player, Defensive Player, Rookie, Comeback Player, Breakout Player, and Manager.

For the most part, these awards were not subjective. I went to FanGraphs, looked up overall regular season WAR values, and gave the awards to the highest players in their categories. In 2-3 other categories, I weighted those numbers heavily in deciding the honorees. Remember, the honors are based on the regular season.

If you follow baseball, you already know these players and are well aware of the excellence of each of their 2014 season performances. So not much extra commentary is needed. But I did want to make just a few comments on some of the honors.

First, my selection of Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton as the top National League Rookie over New York Mets pitcher Jake deGrom. These were clearly the two most impactful rookies in the league this season. I chose Hamilton, who had a higher WAR value, feeling that his everyday impact as a centerfielder was greater than deGrom’s weekly impact as a starting pitcher.

For the American League Starting Pitcher honors, Cleveland’s Corey Kluber beat out a strong field that included ‘King’ Felix Hernandez, David Price, Phil Hughes, and Jon Lester. Kluber was the #2 player in all of baseball in individual WAR, while the others rated 11-14 respectively. All tremendous, but one clearly above the rest.

Corey Kluber, AL’s top starting pitcher

At the A.L. Reliever spot, what a horse race. The honor went to Yankees RP Dellin Betances in a very close race with the Royals excellent setup man Wade Davis. While Davis rightfully received a lot of publicity due to KC’s postseason run, Betances was every bit as dominant in the regular season, and simply finished with a higher WAR value.

Also, I wanted to single out the Breakout Player winners. What a season for both Michael Brantley and Anthony Rendon, 5th and 6th in all of baseball in overall WAR numbers. The 27-year old Brantley has been one of those “good not great” contributing types, and elevated his game. The 24-year old Rendon stayed healthy in his first true full season and served notice that he should be one of the game’s best into the future.

On defense, Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr was the best defensive outfielder in the game this season, and that includes Lorenzo Cain. Only two facts: his poor offense, and that his poor offense kept him from playing every day, all year long with the Red Sox, kept him from what should have been an easy Gold Glove win. If you don’t know, watch him closely. He’s the kind of player who, with the right offense around him, impacts a game enough defensively to overcome the offensive shortcomings. He should be starting somewhere every day.

Finally, the NL Manager of the Year. Keep in mind, this was a regular season honor, so Bruce Bochy’s great postseason run to a 3rd World Series did not factor. But the job that ‘Donny Baseball’ did in winning the NL West in LA with a frequently dysfunctional core under tremendous pressure to win got him the nod.

Don Mattingly skippered Dodgers to NL West crown

Without further ado, here are the 2014 ‘Best of MLB’ awards honorees:

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
NL – Clayton Kershaw, SP, LA Dodgers
AL – Mike Trout, OF, LA Angels

OFFENSIVE PLAYER
NL – Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh
AL – Mike Trout, Los Angeles

STARTING PITCHER
NL – Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles
AL – Corey Kluber, Cleveland

RELIEF PITCHER
NL – Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati
AL – Dellin Betances, New York

DEFENSIVE PLAYER
NL – Andrelton Simmons, SS, Atlanta
AL – Jackie Bradley Jr, CF, Boston

COMEBACK PLAYER
NL – Johnny Cueto, SP, Cincinnati
AL – Chris Young, SP, Seattle

BREAKOUT PLAYER
NL – Anthony Rendon, 2B/3B, Washington
AL – Michael Brantley, OF, Cleveland

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
NL – Billy Hamilton, CF, Cincinnati
AL – Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago

MANAGER
NL – Don Mattingly, Los Angeles
AL – Buck Showalter, Baltimore