Today Josh Hamilton is slated to start his injury rehab at Round Rock. What kind of player can we expect Josh Hamilton to be when he eventually gets to the Rangers in a few weeks?
Listening to the baseball experts and talking heads, and reading the columnists and bloggers back when the trade was made, everyone said pretty much the same thing about Josh Hamilton’s return to the Rangers: Don’t expect much. There is nothing in the tank. He is finished.
I heard that twice yesterday on MLB Radio, by two different hosts.
The perception is that Josh Hamilton has had two awful offensive seasons in an Angels uniform, that he was a bust, and certainly not worthy of the silly contract the Angels foolheartedly threw his way. I cannot argue with the size of the contract, or the lunacy of paying so much to get rid of him. The stupidity of the contract the front office offers a player, though, is never the player’s fault. He gets only what someone offers.
But I can argue that, in poking around, maybe Hamilton wasn’t the big steaming pile that people are claiming he was. While he wasn’t a twenty-five-million-dollar player, he wasn’t worthy of the scrap heap.
In fact, his numbers the last two years resemble Bryce Harper’s in many categories. Compare them to Rangers hitters, though, and he looks more like Mike Trout.
While he wasn’t great, the fact is, he is coming to a team that is, and was, actually much worse than him.
Since the perception is that Hamilton has been a bust, let’s take a look at the two years he was in Los Angeles of Anaheim.
In 2013, he started out slowly (like most guys who sign huge mega-deals do), but he ended up having a pretty respectable season. Certainly not forth-outfielder or platoon DH or anything like that which so many people suggest.
Some noteworthy numbers for 2013:
79 RBIs. That would have put him second on the Rangers in 2013, behind Beltre’s 92. It would have been 39 more RBIs than the guy he replaced, Leonys Martin. The Rangers finished that season tied for the wild card and lost to Tampa Bay in a one game shootout to go to the wild card game. You have to think 39 extra runs batted in spread out over the course of the season would have won at least one more game for the Rangers that season, so they wouldn’t have had to play a tie-breaker. If those 39 extra runs would have won six more games, the Rangers would have won the AL West.
21 HRs. Josh Hamilton’s home run total for his “dismal 2013 season” would have been fourth best on the Rangers, behind Beltre’s 30, Cruz’s 27 and Moreland’s 23. And he hit those 21 playing half his games in stingy Angels Stadium. Odds are he would have had more with 81 games anywhere else.
.250 AVG. Granted, Hamilton’s batting average was average, and would have put him toward the bottom of the starters for the Rangers that year. Only Mitch Moreland, David Murphy and Lance Berkman were lower. But Hamilton is paid to drive in runs.
Okay, now look at his 2013 numbers compared to the 2014 Rangers. He would have been a god on last year’s team. Jon Daniels would have extended his contract, probably $25 million a year for five years.
Both his 79 RBIs and his 21 HRs would have led the Rangers, besting Beltre’s 77 RBIs and 19 HRs. “Disappointing” 2013 Josh Hamilton would have been the offensive star of the 2014 Rangers.
Okay, that was 2014. But what about how horrible he was in 2014? Nobody wants the 2014 Josh on their team, right?
The 2015 Rangers would kill for that guy.
Josh Hamilton started out on fire the first eight games of the season, broke his thumb on April 9th, and was lost for about six weeks.
In his eight April games, though, he had 2 HRs and 6 RBIs, with a batting average of .444, an on base percentage of .545, and a slugging percentage of .741. We just suffered through the April that the 2015 Texas Rangers posted. In just eight games Josh Hamilton far outperformed nearly everyone from this year’s team playing the entire first month.
He would have been tied for the team lead in home runs, and just four RBIs behind Prince Fielder. And Fielder played in 13 more games. You can add up almost any two Rangers’ on base percentages this April and the total isn’t as high as Josh Hamilton’s last April.
What about June and July (he missed May rehabbing his thumb)?
Glad you asked, I happen to have those stats right here as well.
In 24 June games, Hamilton hit one HR, but drove in thirteen. Much better than any Ranger in any month played so far in 2015. He hit a decent .268 too, with an on base percentage of .330. By the way, 13 RBIs a month comes out to 78 RBIs a season. Beltre, you are reminded, had 77 last season.
In 26 July games, Hamilton hit three HRs and another thirteen RBIs. A reminder, 13 RBIs a month comes out to 78 RBIs a season. Beltre, you are reminded again, had 77 last season. Hamilton’s July batting average was .257 and his on base percentage was .322.
Unfortunately, he got only twelve more RBIs and just four HRs the rest of the season due to an number of nagging injuries and nagging Joshities that happen only to Josh and, understandably, make people hate him and pay sixty-eight-million dollars to get rid of him.
But I think the real problem with Josh Hamilton, and the real reason Arte Moreno wanted him gone at all costs, was this: Of the ten total home runs Hamilton hit in 2014, none came at home. None.
None came in front of Arte Moreno. None went over the fence in front of Arte Moreno’s deserving family. None went out in front of Arte Moreno’s friends who were rubbing elbows with Arte Moreno in Arte Moreno’s suite.
So Arte Moreno taught Josh Hamilton a lesson for embarrassing him in front of his rich friends. He ate sixty-eight million dollars. That will teach Josh.
Am I expecting 2010 Josh Hamilton? No, not at all.
But if 2013 and pre-whack-job 2014 Josh Hamilton shows up, he will instantly be the Rangers offensive star.
We can more than live with that.
(Photo credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports.)
MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR MOJO:
The Memorial Service for Lesli Buchanan, better known to all of us here as simply mojo, will be Saturday, May 23, 11:00 am, at Wylie Baptist Church , 6097 Buffalo Gap Road , Abilene TX 79606 . Thanks to Wet for this information.