Closing Time: Replacing Billy Hamilton

Scott Pianowski
Cory Spangenberg is giving us category juice down the stretch (AP Photo/Orlando Ramirez)
Cory Spangenberg is giving us category juice down the stretch (AP Photo/Orlando Ramirez)

All things considered, Billy Hamilton did what we expected this year. His .248/.299/.333 slash is eerily similar to his career line. He swiped 58 bases, the fourth straight year he’s been between the 56-58 mark. He knocked the occasional homer, including one that broke Milwaukee’s heart. Mostly, he was a two-trick pony, strong in steals and reasonable in runs scored.

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And now Hamilton is probably done for the year, after busting his left thumb. The Reds merely placed Hamilton on the 10-day disabled list, but this late in the year — with a team going nowhere — we can connect the dots. It’s time to put those stats in bubble wrap, send Hams on his way.

So let’s find you a new stolen-base guy.

Cory Spangenberg is never going to be a power titan, but he’s hitched up his game this year — .420 slugging percentage, 13 homers in 388 at-bats. That plays nicely with his occasional speed; 11 steals for the year, and five over the last month. You can slot The Spange at a number of positions, second, third, the outfield, and he carries an .844 OPS when in the platoon advantage. He’s unclaimed in about 80 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Delino DeShields has his own wing in this blog; he’s a name we love to drop. Kid DeShields has been a reliable OBP and speed source this year (.280/.357/.382), and he’s collected nine bags over the last month. Playing time is finally clear, with Adrian Beltre down for the year — Joey Gallo slides to third base. It took a while for manager Jeff Banister to accept Double D, but DeShields has been the leadoff man in his last 20 starts. The ownership tag is a modest 22 percent.

Jose Reyes isn’t for everybody, but he does have 10 homers and 19 steals and he qualifies at three infield positions. He’s at .333 over the last month, with 17 runs and six bags. So much of the steals chase is finding guys who have the willingness to run, the willingness to accept the wear and tear on the body. His ownership level is in the DeShields neighborhood.

The Astros have a deep lineup, so Cameron Maybin’s playing time could be up and down. Nonetheless, Maybin has been useful for his new team, hitting three homers and stealing a base over his first six games. Maybin’s average was a drain in Disneyland (.235), though he also stole 29 bags over 93 games. You know your category needs better than I do. Maybin currently trades at 14 percent.