Bill Hall in Houston, Playing Everyday
It has been a long time since Bill Hall burst onto the fantasy scene with a .270/.345/.553, 35 home run, 101 R, 85 RBI season in 2006. Everything between then and now has been a disappointment, though Hall has found some value in deep leagues at times due to on-and-off home run streaks. After hitting 18 home runs in 344 at-bats for the Red Sox last season, Hall finds himself on a one-year deal in Houston with an everyday gig at a valuable fantasy position
For his career, Hall has averaged one home run every 25.7 at-bats. If he could come close to that AB/HR rate in 2011, he would eclipse 20 home runs given 500-550 at-bats. However, if Hall hits home runs at the same pace he did in 2010, he would hit about 26 in just 500 at-bats.
Houston is a good offensive park to be moving to, but it may not aide Hall's home run output as much as one might think. Dead pull power hitters love the Crawford Boxes, but Hall has legit power to the left-center gap and center as well. As you can see from the chart below, (via http://katron.org/projects/baseball/hit-location/
) Hall would have actually lost a few homers to the left-center gap.
Of course, Hall could adjust his approach to his new environment, as he did having the Green Monster to target in 2010. Even if he doesn't try and attack the Crawford Boxes, his fly balls could travel further given the humidity and heat of Houston. This could mean that the change in home ballpark may be a wash.
Relying on Hall to do much in the AVG department, however, is another story. Hall's power is generated from a swing that also generates plenty of whiffs. For his career, Hall has swung and missed 26.3 percent of the time, which is well above the league average. Those swings and misses, combined with a lack of patience at the plate, have led to high strikeout totals throughout the years. Hall has struck out over in over 30% of his plate appearances over the last three seasons.
My projection for Hall has changed since posting the second base projections
. Now, since Hall is going to be playing everyday, I have his projection at .252/.319/.449 with 24 home runs, 68 runs, 73 RBI and 12 stolen bases. The additional home runs and subsequent runs and RBI should bump him up to the 15-20 ranking range at second base. The fact that his AVG will be a negative will keep him out of most 12-team mixed league lineups, but deeper league teams will likely be looking for help at the middle infield spots toward the later rounds. While there is a ton of risk in his 2011 projection, Hall has the upside for good power production at his position, which makes him worth taking a flier on late in 2011 drafts.