Is It Legit? 7/2/24: Jose Miranda, Gavin Stone, and David Hamilton

Are these players riding hot streaks or making long-term improvements?

The All-Star break is just around the corner, so it’s a good time for a mid-season evaluation of your fantasy squads. Whether your team is sitting comfortably atop the standings or you have some climbing to do, you surely have areas you can improve in. Let’s dive into three of the game’s hottest players to see if their strong production is sustainable over the rest of the season and can help fill those holes on your team, or if their recent success is simply a hot streak better left on your waiver wire.


Jose Miranda, 3B, Minnesota Twins

You may remember Miranda being a trendy breakout pick back in 2023 following his impressive rookie season. He slashed .268/.325/.426 with 15 homers and 66 RBI in 2022, but he struggled to replicate his strong showing in his sophomore campaign. Miranda posted just a 65 wRC+ in the season’s first five weeks, leading to a demotion to Triple-A. Shortly after he was re-called in July, a right shoulder impingement ended his season.

Miranda didn’t open the 2024 campaign with the big league club, but it didn’t take long for him to get his shot. He made his season debut on April 8th and hasn’t stopped hitting since. He owns a .294/.339/.491 lash line overall, and posted an even more impressive .333/.388/.552 line in June.

Comparing Miranda’s line to what we’ve seen from him in the past reveals many under-the-hood improvements. He’s cut his strikeout rate in each of his three MLB stints, beginning at 18.8% and dropping to 15.8% and now 14.2%. His swinging-strike rate has similarly decreased from 11.6% to 8.8%. Similarly, Miranda’s done a really good job at making more contact, allowing him to keep at-bats alive rather than punching out. His contact rate of 79.7% is easily a career-best and is in the 75th percentile of hitters.

On the batted-ball side of things, Miranda’s bumped up his barrel rate from 6.2% in his rookie season to 8.2% this year. His Baseball Savant page shows middling expected statistics based on his contact quality, but our metrics here at Pitcher List absolutely love what he’s doing.

One area in which Miranda has made a big stride is his performance against sliders. He’s seen the pitch 21.6% of the time, and I’m guessing that’s only going to go down because he’s crushing nearly all of them. He has a .489 wOBA against the pitch — that’s the third-highest wOBA against sliders, trailing only Cal Raleigh and Shohei Ohtani. Miranda has generated a 9 Run Value against sliders while posting marks of 1 to -1 against every other pitch type.

Despite Miranda’s strong results, he’s still struggling to find everyday at-bats. He’s cracking the starting nine more often than not — 9 of the team’s last 10 games yet just 13 of the last 19–but his defensive limitations and the Twins’ gluttony of position players will probably keep him from being a true everyday player.

Verdict: Legit, but not must-roster. It’s been great to see Miranda bounce back and even exceed his previous level of performance. Improvements in his underlying metrics are encouraging, but they’re not so good that you necessarily need to rush out and add him in all formats. In 12-team and deeper formats, Miranda’s a solid corner infield bat, but keep an eye on that playing time to be sure he’s still starting often before locking him into weekly lineups. Still just 26, Miranda’s worth adding to your watch list to see if he unlocks another level of performance as he continues to see big-league pitching, especially in dynasty formats.


Gavin Stone, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Stone has been one of the biggest breakout starters in fantasy this year, and he’s coming off his best game so far. He tossed a complete game shutout against the lowly White Sox last Wednesday. FanGraphs’ spiffy new Player Rater ranks him as the 18th most valuable starter so far this season, accumulating $16 in salary cap league value through his first 15 starts.

After a rocky 31-inning MLB debut in 2023, Stone’s bounced back better than anyone probably imagined. He’s 9-2 with a 2.73 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and 70 punchouts over 89 innings.

Stone’s improved both his strikeout and walk rates this year, posting 19.5% and 7% marks, yet those numbers don’t exactly jump off the page. His strikeout rate is 32nd percentile while his walk rate clocks in better in the 64th percentile. It’s the same story with Stone’s other swing-and-miss metrics. His 23.7% CSW% and 24.9% whiff rate are middle of the pack. Stone has done a good job of getting batters to chase outside of the strikezone though. His 31.4% chase rate is 79th percentile.

As you’d expect with a pitcher with solid, not great strikeout numbers, Stone’s stuff is graded as unspectacular by pitch models. PLV, Stuff+, and Pitching Bot give all of his offerings just average numbers, except for his slider. Stone’s slider has a 5.43 PLV (74th percentile) and 132 Stuff+ (100 is average). He’s appropriately bumped up its usage his year from 6.2% to 15.6%, and it’s generated solid results. It’s carrying a 70th percentile strike rate and 72nd percentile CSW%. When hitters do make contact, they’ve hit just .224 against it with a .235 wOBA.

While Stone’s pure stuff may not be exceptional, he has done a phenomenal job locating his pitches. It’s evident not just in the stuff grades, but also just glancing at his pitch location contours on Savant. Take a look at how beautifully he’s been able to locate his changeup, sinker, and slider this year.

Both Stuff+ and Pitching Bot award Stone solid marks for his location. His per-pitch metrics are all above average with his summed-up numbers coming out to a 103 Location+ (100 is average) and a 55 botCMD (on the 20-80 scale).

Without swing-and-miss stuff, Stone allows a decent amount of contact and he’s fared rather well when batters put the ball into play. He has a .270 BABIP (66th percentile) and a 7.1% HR/FB% (93rd percentile). Stone’s also been fortunate in the number of baserunners he’s been able to strand, posting a 79.9% LOB% (84th percentile). He’s due for some regression to the mean in pretty much all of those departments.

Verdict: Not Legit. Stone probably won’t keep up his strong ratios the rest of the way. He’s significantly overperformed his 3.34 FIP and 4.23 SIERRA so far. What I see in his profile is a back-of-the-rotation arm that’s been locked in with his pitch locations. If that location slips, especially against good lineups, I think Stone’s ratios start looking mediocre rather quickly. That’s not to say he isn’t worth a roster spot, though. He’s still a solid starter that you’ll be happy to use against non-elite offenses. On top of that, pretty much any decent arm on the Dodgers gives you a great chance at a win every single time out, hence Stone’s nine wins already, a total tied for fourth-best in the sport. If you’re rostering Stone, I wouldn’t be afraid to sell high if you can. Otherwise, enjoy the ride the rest of the way, just be cautious if you start seeing his command falter.


David Hamilton, 2B/SS, Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox’s preseason middle infield plan of Trevor Story and Vaughn Grissom has not exactly panned out, but Hamilton has done more than an admirable job filling in. Although he didn’t make the Opening Day roster, Hamilton was called up rather quickly and has slowly but surely found more and more playing time. He’s now starting nearly every day for the Red Sox, and oftentimes in the number two slot in the lineup.

Hamilton had a small, 39-plate-appearance debut in 2023, so this has really been his first extended look at the game’s top pitchers, and he’s been able to hold his own. Through 177 plate appearances, the 26-year-old middle infielder is slashing .268/.318/.427 with five home runs and 21 stolen bases. Hamilton has 92nd-percentile sprint speed, allowing him to steal at will which is exactly what he’s been doing. It’s the one part of his game that really jumps out when glancing at his player page.

One of the great things about stolen bases is that outside of a player’s speed, whether or not a player will continue to post solid numbers is totally up to them and their team. If they have a willingness to run, they’ll keep doing it, and Hamilton and the Red Sox clearly do. Hamilton has been thrown out just once in his 22 attempts, and Boston has the second most stolen bases in the American League. I have no doubt that Hamilton will continue to be a menace on the basepaths, but the big question with his profile is will he continue to reach them?

Hamilton is sporting a .268 batting average with a .333 BABIP. With his excellent speed, you expect him to carry a BABIP a touch higher than the average hitter, so there’s no reason to expect that should go too far down. As far as the contact quality metrics go, Hamilton doesn’t exactly shine. His 5% barrel rate and 34.7% hard-hit rate are among the bottom quartile of hitters. One thing he does have going for him though is hitting the ball in the launch-angle sweet spot. His 43% sweet spot% is one of the best in the league, so while he’s not smoking baseballs, he is doing a good job of keeping the ball in a desirable elevation as evidenced by his 99th percentile line drive rate.

Despite not having much power in his bat, Hamilton’s already put five balls over the wall, but that seems like a pace he won’t be able to keep. We’ve already touched on his poor power metrics, but his 17th percentile FB EV further illustrates the point. He’ll likely top out as a 10-homer hitter this season.

The last thing to touch on with Hamilton is his eye at the plate. With his speed, a high walk rate would go a long way to boost his fantasy value, but to put it nicely, Hamilton has plenty of room for growth in this area. He’s a rather passive hitter, swinging at just 43.9% of the pitches he sees. That’s allowed opposing pitchers to pepper the zone at will. His zone rate is 90th percentile, leading him to fall behind in counts more often than not. Hamilton does do an excellent job at not chasing pitches outside of the strike zone which typically leads to solid walk rates, but his passiveness at the plate paired with a below-average contact rate hurts him there. Put it all together and you get a hitter with worse-than-average strikeout and walk numbers. He’s punching out 24.3% of the time compared to taking a free pass at a 6.2% clip.

Verdict: Legit Speed, Not Legit Hitting. There’s no doubt that Hamilton is a great fantasy asset if your team needs stolen base help, but I’m not convinced he’ll finish the season anywhere near a league-average hitter. His 104 wRC+ seems likely to come down with his subpar contact quality and plate discipline metrics. Even if he starts posting below-average batting stats, assuming he keeps his playing time, he’ll still be fantasy viable in pretty much any situation where your team needs stolen base help. Outside of speed-desperate teams, rostering Hamilton seems like it’ll be a liability to pretty much every other offensive stat.

Featured image by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)

Mark Steubinger

Mark loves everything talking and writing about baseball - from every fantasy league format you can imagine to the unending greatness of Mike Trout. Mark has a degree in Sports Communication from Bradley University and works in radio production. He lives in central Illinois where his TV is permanently tuned to Chicago Cubs games.

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