Josh Hamilton Is Swinging Himself Into Oblivion

Josh Hamilton is the most aggressive hack in baseball. This isn’t news, of course, but to put his hacktastic ways in context, here is where Hamilton’s swing rates rank among batters with 500+ PAs in the last year.

O-Swing%: 42.7% (150th of 151)
Z-Swing: 82.0% (151st of 151)
Swing%: 57.9% (150th of 151)
Zone%: 38.8% (151st of 151)
Contact%: 64.9% (151st of 151)

The only guy who has swung the bat more often than Hamilton is Delmon Young, but 46.1% of the pitches Young has been thrown have been in the strike zone. Hamilton is pitched around more than any other hitter in the game, and yet he swings more often than anyone, with the exception of one replacement level scrub.

Josh Hamilton has always been an aggressive hitter. Josh Hamilton has a career major league batting line of .301/.360/.542. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

Well, it is broke(n), but most importantly, this isn’t the approach that made Josh Hamilton an elite Major League player. This approach is new, and if he doesn’t make some changes in a hurry, he’s on his way to becoming the new Ryan Howard.

To illustrate Hamilton’s shifting approach, here are his swing rates in graphical form.

HamiltonOSwing

HamiltonZSwing

During his four years in Texas, Hamilton swung at 36.6% of the pitches he was thrown outside the strike zone, and 18 hitters chased pitches out of the zone more frequently than Hamilton. Last year, for whatever reason, his chase rate spiked, and it’s been even higher in April of 2013 than it was in 2012. For the first few months of 2012, his more aggressive approach was a huge success, as he was the best hitter in baseball at the end of last May. But, if we look at Hamilton’s overall numbers in the past calendar year, things aren’t as pretty.

Here are his numbers for the past 365 days:

Name G PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
Josh Hamilton 152 655 0.255 0.324 0.503 0.347 115 (11.5) 3.3 2.2

Yikes. In the last year, Hamilton has been perfectly healthy, racking up a lot of playing time relative to his own norms, but he just hasn’t been very good. In fact, here’s the player with the closest comparable offensive statline to Hamilton in the last year.

Name G PA BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
Josh Hamilton 152 655 9% 27% 0.248 0.296 0.255 0.324 0.503 0.347 115
Jason Kubel 132 535 10% 26% 0.265 0.283 0.248 0.321 0.514 0.352 116

For the last year, there really hasn’t been a distinguishable difference between Josh Hamilton and Jason Kubel. If Arizona picks up Jason Kubel’s 2014 option, the total value of his three year contract will reach $22.5 million, or $2.5 million less than the average annual value of one year of Hamilton’s five year contract with the Angels. Suffice it to say the Angels will not get their money’s worth if Hamilton performs like Jason Kubel.

He’ll probably be better than Kubel going forward. For one, he’s a significantly better defender, and he still runs the bases pretty well, so he has two non-hitting advantages over Arizona’s DH-in-the-outfield. But, look at the rest-of-season projections for both players from ZIPS and Steamer, which account for their respective starts to the 2013 season: Hamilton is forecast for a 115 wRC+ if you average the two systems, while Kubel comes in at 108. That’s a slight advantage for Hamilton, but not a dramatic one, and Kubel is actually a year younger than Hamilton, so aging curves will actually be slightly nicer to him than they will to the Angels pricey new right fielder.

A year ago, when Hamilton was hitting home runs left and right despite his absurd approach at the plate, he was a mystery, doing something that we’d never seen before. Now, though, the magic is gone, and Hamilton is just a hack who has terrible at-bats and makes a lot of outs. This isn’t a situation where Hamilton just needs to wait for inevitable regression to the mean to come iron out his bad luck. Josh Hamilton needs to take charge of the rest of his career and make significant changes to his approach at the plate.

The Angels are paying him to be an All-Star caliber player. Over the last year, he’s been an average player, and that’s only because the last year still includes his incredible performance from last May. The last five months, Hamilton is hitting .236/.306/.447, which translates into a .320 wOBA and a 96 wRC+. This isn’t an overreaction to a bad month; that’s 543 plate appearances where Hamilton has been a below average Major League hitter.

The league has adjusted to Josh Hamilton, Super Hack. His adjustment so far has been to get even more aggressive. So far this season, he’s swung at the first pitch in 52% of his at-bats, up from last year when he swung at the first pitch 48% of the time, and the previous year, when he swung at the first pitch 47% of the time. Back in 2010, When Josh Hamilton won the AL MVP, he swung at the first pitch just 41% of the time.

The Angels bet a lot of money on Josh Hamilton’s talent. That’s still in there, most likely, but Josh Hamilton’s decision making process is essentially invalidating his natural abilities. There’s a reason Delmon Young is terrible. Emulating him is a lousy idea, especially for a guy trying to live up to a $125 million contract. That deal looked like a big risk when it was signed, and a month in, the most fitting word I can find is regrettable. The Angels are locked into another $120 million for a guy who has been a league average player over the last year and isn’t showing any signs of fixing his underlying problems.

A friend in the game and I had lunch last week. During the conversation, he said “free agency is evil.” I don’t know that evil is the word I would use, but anyone watching Josh Hamilton play baseball right now is probably inclined to agree with him.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Matty Brown
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Member
Matty Brown
3 years 2 months ago

….or is he 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 1st of 151 batters???? hmmmmmmm?

Andrew
Guest
Andrew
3 years 2 months ago

Speaking of this, I never understood why when you click on O-Swing %, for example, to sort, it goes by highest first. You have to click it again to get the most disciplined guys. Typically when I sort something I’m looking for the best, not the worst. But that’s neither here nor there I guess.

Good article, though this is becoming a bit of striking a deceased equine.

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman
3 years 2 months ago

I agree with your last remark, but I interpreted this as an autopsical examination of the deceasèd equine, and a truly excellent (if distressing) one.

Andrew
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Andrew
3 years 2 months ago

Agreed

scruddet
Member
scruddet
3 years 2 months ago

Haha all a matter of context. When you get less pitches in the zone than anyone else, but you swing at more pitches than anyone else, and subsequently make less contact than anyone else, I’d say you’re last.

Aggie E
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Aggie E
3 years 2 months ago

Trust in Jon Daniels. he knows what he is doing…

MrMan
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MrMan
3 years 2 months ago

Ergo, Jerry DiPoto / Arte Moreno must NOT know what they are doing.

ezb230
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ezb230
3 years 2 months ago

I kind of doubt that DiPoto had much to do with this decision.

Jack Weiland
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Jack Weiland
3 years 2 months ago

Anyone else taken aback by referring to Delmon Young as “one replacement level scrub”? But … that’s what he is. I thought that dude was going to be amazing once. Ahhh, prospecting.

fast at last
Guest
fast at last
3 years 2 months ago

Dude, where have ya been?

Jack Weiland
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Jack Weiland
3 years 2 months ago

I’ve been around. I’m not saying I wasn’t aware that Delmon Young has been terrible, it was jarring to see him referred to so dismissively. Made me think of times when I recall him being referred to in glowing terms.

Nevermind.

Antonio Bananas
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Antonio Bananas
3 years 2 months ago

The Phillies still think so.

Trotter76
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Trotter76
3 years 2 months ago

So Josh Hamilton (1999) and Delmon Young (2003), both former #1 overall picks in their draft classes by the Devil Rays, are the two most aggressive (underperforming) hackers in the league? That’s a crazy coincidence.

Philip Christy
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Philip Christy
3 years 2 months ago

Maybe it’s not.

andrewf
Member
andrewf
3 years 2 months ago

Don’t forget Tim Beckham, another No. 1 overall pick (five years ago already!) who’s averaged nearly a strikeout per game in the minors while not particularly providing anything in hitting department.

Billhiggs
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Billhiggs
3 years 2 months ago

I think it’s the extra 2%.

jasunlee
Member
jasunlee
3 years 2 months ago

There is only one that can judge Josh’s swing.

scottee
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scottee
3 years 2 months ago

Kathy?

Njmasse
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Njmasse
3 years 2 months ago

Judy

steex
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steex
3 years 2 months ago

Colby Rasmus’s father?

Greg
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Greg
3 years 2 months ago

I have a question about Swing%: how is it that over the past two years, both Delmon Young and A.J. Pierzynski have a higher Swing% than Pablo Sandoval, despite the fact that he has a higher O-Swing% and Z-Swing% than both of them?

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=500&type=5&season=2013&month=0&season1=2012&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=5,d

Paul Clarke
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Paul Clarke
3 years 2 months ago

Sandoval has seen many fewer pitches in the zone.

Paul Clarke
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Paul Clarke
3 years 2 months ago

I knew there was a name for this but couldn’t remember it – it’s Simpson’s Paradox.

Nick O
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Nick O
3 years 2 months ago
Sparkles Peterson
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Sparkles Peterson
3 years 2 months ago

His T-Swing% is remarkably low.

thirteenthirteen
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thirteenthirteen
3 years 2 months ago

Pablo Sandoval is a wizard.

Basil Ganglia
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Basil Ganglia
3 years 2 months ago

Don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that awing.

Matthias
Member
Member
3 years 2 months ago

Is this a Star Wars reference?

brendan
Guest
brendan
3 years 2 months ago

0-8 w/ 3Ks last night in the long game vs. the As — ouch! Sounded like they mostly pitched him down and away (I heard a few of his ABs on the radio).

Sally
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Sally
3 years 2 months ago

Josh’s swing and his plate approach are no longer an effective team.

Wobatus
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Wobatus
3 years 2 months ago

I don’t have the swing percentages by month in front of me. But he K’d at a 32.7% rate in June 2012, and followed that up with a .177/.253/.354 triple slash in July 2012. But by August he was back to .310/.368/.575. So even with his outside swing percentage up last year and a slump mid-year it worked overall.

This year he is at .202/.246/.298. BB% 4.4 K% 28.1. That’s very similar to his July 2009, when his triple slash was .205/.242/.269 and his rates were BB% 4.9 and K% 26.8. In August 2009 he went .342/.392/.447, with a K% of 15. Of course he was hurt that year and his power missing but he did show he could adjust (and then he K’d at a 30% plus rate in september that year).

So yes, he has been swinging too much in general and chasing. He may be pressing, although it happened last year too and now it’s worse. Pujols didn’t have these discipline issues last year but his triple slash in April 2012 was .217/.265/.304 with no homers.

It’s April, so it stands out. But Pujols didn’t have to change much to get back to his old numbers. Hamilton will have to adjust, and as stated the ability is still there most likely.

Wobatus
Guest
Wobatus
3 years 2 months ago

Shorter version. He’s had months this bad before, with a higher k rate, and bounced back. He was awful last July and bounced right back in August. Not to downplay it. He needs to adjust. He has adjusted before.

Feeding the Abscess
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Feeding the Abscess
3 years 2 months ago

Actually, Pujols was chasing at a career high rate last April (over 41% O-Swing), which was the likely cause of his struggles. Once his chase rate came back closer to his career norms, his production largely returned.

As for Hamilton, his O-Swing rate in August of last season was 46.7%, two points lower than his 48.7% clip in July.

wobatus
Guest
wobatus
3 years 2 months ago

Interesting. Hamilton has had some succesful stretches chasing. I think Dave”s article last year suggested pitchers just went farther out of the zone. Maybe Pujols can have a talk with Josh. Just don’t mention it to the media or he might get fired like Mickey Hatcher.

Baltar
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Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

Why quote stats that partially reflect plate discipline when you have the real thing right in the article?

rustydude
Member
rustydude
3 years 2 months ago

The other thing Delmon and Josh share in common is they were both selected with the #1 pick of their respective drafts by the Devil Rays.

Steve
Guest
Steve
3 years 2 months ago

Have we considered the possibility that he just doesn’t care as much? I know that seems ridiculous, but he just often looks like he’s going through the motions out there.

D4P
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D4P
3 years 2 months ago

I’m sure the official explanation will be that he’s “pressing”.

Wobatus
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Wobatus
3 years 2 months ago

Yeah, I even used pressing in a post above. Somewhere between pressing and doesn’t give a shit.

Trotter76
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Trotter76
3 years 2 months ago

Or between pressing and depressing.

Spencer
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Spencer
3 years 2 months ago

Yeah, it doesn’t look he really cares, especially if you saw that fly ball at the end of last season. He got his 125M already.

Tim C
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Tim C
3 years 2 months ago

You are blowing smoke out of your ass. It is true, he is looking absolutely horrible at the plate, but if you have been watching, he is playing great right field and hustling like hell. Get your facts straight.

ian
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ian
3 years 2 months ago

He’s always said he enjoys fielding far more than hitting.

JDavis
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JDavis
3 years 2 months ago

It’s only obvious to those who know the truth.

chuckb
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chuckb
3 years 2 months ago

Except for the fact that, as Dave points out, this has been going on for 5 months worth of baseball. I seriously doubt that he didn’t care leading up to free agency.

rdj3video
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rdj3video
3 years 2 months ago

In a related story, who gets the boot first in Anaheim…Mickey S. or DiPoto? Doesn’t DiPoto allegedly embrace stats like this? If so, why was Hamilton allowed to be an Angel in the 1st place? Hamilton may eventually get locked in or refocus his efforts, but I don’t think the Halos will get anywhere near the value out of Hamilton that they got from Torii Hunter during his time in town. Yes, two different people with different abilities and personalities, but makes you wonder if real teams sometimes think they are playing fantasy baseball when handing out contracts.

brendan
Guest
brendan
3 years 2 months ago

Hunter was worth 17 WAR over 5 seasons as an angel, while being paid $90M. I agree w/ rdj that that level of production would be reasonable to expect from Hamilton.

If he’s paid 125M, is that really so much less value than Hunter? $/WAR has inflated quite a bit since 2008, correct? It would be $7M/WAR vs. $5M/WAR. Wouldn’t really qualify as a disaster contract.

MrMan
Guest
MrMan
3 years 2 months ago

I think the 17 WAR is exceedingly ambitious.

Consider Hamilton accumulated 22.2rWAR over his last five seasons. That’s ~4.6 WAR per year. 17 WAR over the next five years would be 3.4 WAR per year. So you’re basically predicting a drop of 1.2 WAR per year.

That seems like an aggressive, but not unreasonable, expectation for a player’s age 32 to 36 years (compared to his 27 to 31 years).

However, as is well documented, Hamilton’s plate discipline has dropped to almost unthinkable levels. In addition, he seems either uninterested or unable to adjust. In fact, as pitcher have adjusted, Hamilton’s deterioration continues.

Additionally, Hamilton has never been a student of hitting, preferring instead his “see the ball hit the ball” approach. Aging players with declining skills who lack the willingness / ability to adapt do not fare well.

As a Ranger fan who thoroughly enjoyed watching him play in Texas, the reality is Hamilton had two long, sustained periods of MVP caliber play, surrounded by long periods of good but not great play.

Hamilton burst on the scene in 2008 with a monster first half highlighted by his famous All Star Home Run Derby showing:

Annual slash lines:
2008-1H: .321 / .368 / .598 (72 games)(3.2 WAR
2008-2H: .290 / .373 / .470 (84 games)(2.2 WAR)
2009: .268 / .315 / .426 (89 games) (0.6 WAR)
2010: .359 / .411 / .633 (133 games) (8.9 WAR)
2011: .298 / .346 / .536 (121 games) (3.6 WAR)
2012: .285 / .354 / .577 (148 games) (3.7 WAR)

Basically he had a dominating 1H2008 and a dominating 2010…two solid almost All-Star caliber seasons and a lost season.

Considering everything….age, injury history, lack of plate discipline….I think 10 WAR is a more reasonable expectation of Hamilton for those age 32 to 36 seasons.

The Hamilton contract will prove a classic case of paying for past performance.

Ray
Guest
Ray
3 years 2 months ago

Aren’t the rumors that Moreno went over DiPoto’s head to sign Hamilton?

Steve
Guest
Steve
3 years 2 months ago

hamilton is done and the angels are screwed. haha. angels and the dodgers both kind of screwed. funny stuff.

Sleight of Hand Pro
Guest
Sleight of Hand Pro
3 years 2 months ago

dude, both those teams print money. they arent screwed.

Will
Guest
Will
3 years 2 months ago

Albert Pujols is a 3 WAR player. Josh Hamilton is a 2.5 WAR player. Right now. Given their ages, they are not getting any better.

Yet, together, they area owed $310,000,000 from next year on. The Angels are totally screwed. Maybe not this year or next. But in 2016 when they’re paying Pujols and Hamilton roughly $55m for 4 WAR, it’s gonna hurt.

Even the mighty Yankees proved that payrolls are not unlimited.

Andy
Guest
Andy
3 years 2 months ago

The Angels have a terrible farm system and the Dodgers’ isn’t great, either. Lots of elite players are signing big extensions and won’t reach free agency. It’s going to be harder to buy the best players if they never become available. And if you don’t have anything to trade for them, you’re screwed. If this trend continues, all the money in the world may not be enough to buy yourself a championship. The Yankees’ model over the last 15-20 years, recently adopted by the Dodgers and Angels, may not be viable anymore.

I would love it if that happens.

drtrix
Member
Member
drtrix
3 years 2 months ago

I don’t remember him taking one pitch last night in extra innings. NOT ONE. I had never seen anything like it on a MLB field. Every single pitch no matter the location or type he swung.

JDavis
Guest
JDavis
3 years 2 months ago

That’s the JHam Ranger fans know well.

drtrix
Member
Member
drtrix
3 years 2 months ago

He was never as bad as I saw last night in Texas. He at least took walks. He can’t even take ball one now.

Zigs
Guest
Zigs
3 years 2 months ago

In Hamilton’s last game as a Ranger, he was 0-4 on eight pitches with two strikeouts. I believe it was on eight swings.

Delmon Young
Guest
Delmon Young
3 years 2 months ago

It’s like I don’t even have feelings.

Splinter
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Splinter
3 years 2 months ago

Everyone knows turtles have no feelings.

bada bing
Guest
bada bing
3 years 2 months ago

Winner.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew
3 years 2 months ago

Did anyone else sort of read the title as ‘drinking himself into oblivion?’ At least in the back of your mind? Honestly, only minimally related to Hamilton’s history. Just a common expression.

gouis
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gouis
3 years 2 months ago

no

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
3 years 2 months ago

Yeah, I’m going to go along with “no” on this one also.

JuanPierreDoesSteroids
Guest
JuanPierreDoesSteroids
3 years 2 months ago

I swear this article was published last year on fangraphs.

chief00
Member
chief00
3 years 2 months ago

I’m a Jays fan and I’m trying to imagine Josh Hamilton, Colby Rasmus, and JP Arencibia in the same batting order…

chief00
Member
chief00
3 years 2 months ago

As a matter of fact, I’m just trying to imagine him inserted into their batting order. What’s the all-time record for Ks by a team?

Jim
Guest
Jim
3 years 2 months ago

AL (i.e., non-DH): 2012 Oakland Athletics, 1387
Fake baseball (i.e., N.L.): 2010 Arizona Diamondbacks, 1529

Whole we’re at it, fewest ever:
A.L.: 1927 Philadelphia Athletics, 326
N.L.: 1921 Cincinnati Reds, 308

Jim
Guest
Jim
3 years 2 months ago

Some interesting things there:

That 1921 Cincinnati team was atrocious, finishing last in the N.L. in BA and SLG (a league-lead in HBP led them to a middling OBP finish), and only a good pitching staff led by three of my personal all-time favorite pitchers (Adolfo Domingo de Guzman “Dolf” Luque (one of baseball’s first latino stars), Eppa Rixey, and Rube Marquard) kept them out of the basement.

The 1927 Athletics, on the other hand, were an absolute powerhouse, with the unfortunate luck to be stuck in the same league as the Murderer’s Row Yankees. I’m relatively certain that no team has ever had more Hall of Fame position players on its roster: Mickey Cochrane, Al Simmons, Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, Zack Wheat, and Jimmie Foxx. And they weren’t just bit parts, either: all except Foxx played at least half the team’s games, and even Foxx played in 61. A 40 year old Cobb got 574 PA’s and struck out 12 times; a 24 year old Cochrane got 507 PA’s and only struck out in 7 of them. As a whole, the team finished second in each of BA, OBP, and SLG to the Yankees.

Weird that those two dichotomies are at the top of the leaderboard.

gnomez
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gnomez
3 years 2 months ago

I think you’ve got it backwards…

The AL is the league with the DH, hence “fake baseball.”

Jason B
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Jason B
3 years 2 months ago

The 2013 Atlanta Braves may make a charge yet!

Majesty
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Majesty
3 years 2 months ago

1387 Ks by last year’s division champion Oakland Athletics.

Wes
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Wes
3 years 2 months ago

I’m an Indians fan, and I’m trying to imagine Mark Reynolds, Drew Stubbs and Ryan Raburn in the same– oh wait. . . .

NATS Fan
Guest
NATS Fan
3 years 2 months ago

Josh Hamilton makes tons of bad decisions both in life, but also at the plate. He used to be addicted to drugs, and now he is addicted to trying to hit homeruns. He tries on every pitch.

ElvisMVP
Guest
3 years 2 months ago

I don’t know what he’s doing off the field. But on the field he’s a junkie right now….willfully playing with his own destruction…and with the destruction of those around him.

maguro
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maguro
3 years 2 months ago

At least he’s flake-free and has great smelling hair.

jld
Guest
jld
3 years 2 months ago

Shampoo commercials and baseball don’t mix. It’s too weird to see players without hats.

Adam Dunn
Guest
Adam Dunn
3 years 2 months ago

This guy is such a hack at the plate.

Andy
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Andy
3 years 2 months ago

Good one!

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
3 years 2 months ago

what the hell is the matter with you?

Seriously. Get some perspective on life. It’ll do you a lot of good.

ezb230
Guest
ezb230
3 years 2 months ago

Stay classy, Steve

ezb230
Guest
ezb230
3 years 2 months ago

Yeah, you’re clearly a class act. And I don’t dream of having followers. I like to judge people based on actual accomplishments, you see.

Visitor
Guest
Visitor
3 years 2 months ago

He’s really just a spammer. He’s here to advertise himself, no different than a robot posting for cheap handbags.

I don’t care what his opinions are, but this type of self-promotion disguised as commenting is wrong.

Phantom Stranger
Guest
Phantom Stranger
3 years 2 months ago

He is having a fundamental problem of making solid contact in the strike zone. This goes beyond his approach at the plate. In his great years before 2012 he would occasionally shorten his swing up against really tough pitchers and lefties. It allowed him to make contact whenever he wanted, which used to be a huge plus since his speed to first was elite.

If I didn’t know better, I would say he has physical limitations that he didn’t have before 2012. He gets overpowered now on good fastballs down the middle and he looks completely befuddled against change-ups. He really should start bunting on a regular basis against the shift for cheap hits.

Matt
Guest
Matt
3 years 2 months ago

Maybe he’s completely lost his pitch recognition for some reason. His zone swing rate has risen but it hasn’t spiked nearly as much as his outside swing rate.

Me
Guest
Me
3 years 2 months ago

As a Mariners fan I really enjoy thinking of all the money the Angels have wrapped up in old guys recently. But Josh Hamilton is just an incredible story that it is really conflicting to watch him struggle (when he isn’t playing Seattle).

Dmurph
Guest
Dmurph
3 years 2 months ago

Great article. Thank you. I have been reading fangraphs a lot recently and focusing on Hamilton’s batted ball stats as a concerned owner. Traded him yesterday for Martin Prado and Anibal Sanchez. Some think I got ripped but I feel better after reading this.

BJsWorld
Guest
BJsWorld
3 years 2 months ago

His performance is poor but he’s played this bad before. Maybe he doesn’t bounce back but he’s had equally poor months in the past. This just stands out because it’s at the beginning of a season after signing a fat contract.

Ctownboy
Guest
Ctownboy
3 years 2 months ago

Two things that I have previously said on the Angels board:

1) Hamilton should be batting second. Trout should lead off, Hamilton should bat second and Pujols should bat third. Tony La Russa had success batting a guy with power second.

With Trout leading off, if he gets on First Base, with his speed, opposing pitchers wont be able to throw so many off speed and breaking pitches out of the strike zone to Hamilton. Because, if they do, Trout will just steal Second Base and possibly even Third Base.

With Hamilton likely seeing more Fast Balls in the zone, his chances of making contact are better. Also, if Trout is on First, that opens up a hole on the right side of the infield for Hamilton to hit ground balls through. Plus, with Pujols batting behind him, Pitchers aren’t going to want to throw many balls out of the zone for fear of having Trout and Hamilton on base with Pujols at the plate.

2) If Hamilton is guided by religion so much then somebody needs to tell him the following; “Josh, if GOD had meant for you to swing at pitches out of the strike zone so much and still be successful, HE would have given you longer arms.”.

gouis
Guest
gouis
3 years 2 months ago

1) Order doesn’t matter

2) No

Terry's Francona
Guest
Terry's Francona
3 years 2 months ago

Have you ever seen a baseball game before? Order doesn’t matter. Pshhhh

Ctownboy
Guest
Ctownboy
3 years 2 months ago

Order doesn’t matter. Really?

OK, if that is the case then why not have Ianetta bat lead off, Pujols hit sixth and Trout bat ninth?

Better yet, why not just bench Hamilton and have Joe Blanton play Right Field and bat fourth? Blanton has a strong arm, so palying defesne, at least having to make the throws from the outfield shouldn’t be a problem. Since he has played in the NL and has had to go to bat for himself then hitting shouldn’t be a problem either.

Naveed
Guest
Naveed
3 years 2 months ago

Batting order isn’t very important. That doesn’t mean you should do stupid things like bat Trout ninth, because those are stupid things and there is no reason to do them.

Bryan
Guest
Bryan
3 years 2 months ago

A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. Reminds of when first year psych students start analyzing everyone. Of course batting order makes a difference.

Ctownboy
Guest
Ctownboy
3 years 2 months ago

Batting order doesn’t matter?

Tell that to Joey Votto. In 2008, he had Corey Patterson and Alex Gonzalez batting in front of him.

In 2009, he had Wily Taveras and Alex Gonzalez batting in front of him.

In 1985, Tommy Herr hit 8 Home Runs but had 110 RBI’s. Why is that? He had Vince Coleman and Willie McGee batting in front of him.

In 1985, Don Mattingly had 145 RBI’s and Rickey Henderson scored 146 Runs. Any coincidence that Henderson was batting lead off and Mattingly second or third in the order?

Andy
Guest
Andy
3 years 2 months ago

That actually seems like pretty good advice. We’ll see if Scioscia sees it that way.

B N
Guest
B N
3 years 2 months ago

Swinging himself into oblivion? Maybe he’s taking batting practice with Mike Kekich? (Source: http://deadspin.com/tag/fritz-peterson-and-mike-kekich-swapping-wives)

Paul Sporer
Member
Member
3 years 2 months ago

That is like a mad-lib where Dave just has to fill in the dates. Hambone just hackin’ away.

Yale, Economics, baseball
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Yale, Economics, baseball
3 years 2 months ago

Andruw_Jones? II

JDavis
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JDavis
3 years 2 months ago

This article was mentioned in Wednesday’s LA Times.

Terry's Francona
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Terry's Francona
3 years 2 months ago

I love Fangraphs, but I just have to say that when Josh gets red-hot in a couple of weeks y’all are going to feel very, very silly.

The guy owns a .300/.359/.540 slash line with a career OPS+ of 133. He is in a slump, a really, really bad slump. And yes, he is hacking like crazy. But guess what? He WILL start to hit the baseball again and he will return to some semblance of his career averages. Mark my words. Although I agree, it would help him a lot if he were hitting in front of, not behind, fat albert (or Trumbo, lately).

Wobatus
Guest
Wobatus
3 years 2 months ago

His career line in his new home park is .269/.326/.452. His career road line is .285/.348/.489. So his ZiPS and Steamer rest of season projections may be close to accurate.

Jeff Davis
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Jeff Davis
3 years 2 months ago

It’s simple: if pitchers throw him strikes, he’ll eventually break out of the slump; if they pitch him away and continue this diet, he will flail.

As a Rangers’ fan, I always scratched my head as to why any pitch would throw him a ball even near the strike zone. I’m not the only one who thinks this, ask any Rangers’ fan. We watched him for years.

Narra
Guest
Narra
3 years 2 months ago

*Generic objection to using career averages to project performance for low discipline sluggers past the age of 30 when performance inevitably declines for all but the very greatest of Hall of Famers*

Joebrady
Guest
3 years 2 months ago

Didn’t we have the identical conversation last year with Pujols? My contribution then was ‘Suppose Pujols is really the pre-2011 Pujols? Suppose the Pujols that LAA signed was really the 2011 Pujols, a 1B with a .906 OPS. Would you, or anyone, sign an unnamed 1B with a .906 and 32 y.o., to a $254M contract? Of course not.

So we fast-forward one year, and tweak the statistics a little.

You have an injury-prone OF who had averaged a .908 over the two previous years, with a 134 games a year. He had a career-high strikeouts of 162, with a 2.7 K/W. He had an OPS of .817 over his last 111 GS, with his K/W almost up to 3.0. With a road OPS of .834.

I am obviously cherry-picking the stats, but when you are signing a guy for about the highest annual salary in BB, you shouldn’t have a lot of cherry-picking material to use. Like others have said, I think a recovery is in order. But based on his career road OPS, and how he finished last year, I don’t I need to do much to make a case for an .850 OPS. Is that worth $25M per?

And the word Dave is looking for is not ‘regrettable’. It is ‘predictable’.

purpleJesus
Member
purpleJesus
3 years 2 months ago

Hey congrats Dave ! Tony Reali referenced this article and showed it on the screen today on Around The Horn !!

DaPRezNolanRyan
Guest
DaPRezNolanRyan
3 years 2 months ago

It’s like I said all along, Josh is struggling because he picked the wrong time to quit smokeless tobacco.

ezb230
Guest
ezb230
3 years 2 months ago

Yeah, he’s hilarious.

Buck
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Buck
3 years 2 months ago

Is the Angels hitting coach an advocate of a free swinging approach?

Wobatus
Guest
Wobatus
3 years 2 months ago

Hamilton’s K rate is below 20% over his last 10 games. Last 9 plate appearances no Ks and 1 walk.

Brought to you by Small Sample Size theater. But he looks like he is trying to adjust.

Paul
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Paul
3 years 2 months ago

I feel like some blame falls on the Angels coaching staff here. Shouldnt they recognize that he swings way to much to be effective.

JLS284
Guest
JLS284
3 years 2 months ago

If you wonder why he has dropped off so much you might look into the weight loss and other ‘performance enhancing issues.’ He doesn’t look as big as he did in Texas. I see him picking up an injury and going on the dl for a cycle or 2 and then he will be back ripping em again!

FrankTrades
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FrankTrades
3 years 2 months ago

Discipline was never his strong point.

James Rockford
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James Rockford
3 years 1 month ago

Hamilton is a washed up hack that didnt appreciate what Nolan Ryan and the Rangers did for him. They pretty much saved the DOPE from HIMSELF and he spits on them on the way to LA. Good riddance LOSER. The Angels have already made it known this was the worst deal they ever made and are hoping he has at least one decent season so they can get rid of him. Sorry that aint happening, hes a .235 hitter that swings at every ball thrown his way

ebbsnflow
Guest
ebbsnflow
2 years 11 months ago

Wow… finally someone speaks the truth. Are the rest of u that blind

ebbsnflow
Guest
ebbsnflow
2 years 11 months ago

He says he quit eating breads…gluten free lifestyle…245lbs—–*to.. 220lbs.. ..wow ..what a diet…! Someone should mention to him, that lose in weight..lost power..losing batting aver. Go back 2 bread and gluten..that stuff had u crushing the ball and looking like a bodybuilders…..Ooo PED ooo where r u

db
Guest
db
2 years 10 months ago

Maybe Josh is swinging wildly and simply PRAYING for success. He is wacked-out of his gourd, after all.

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