The Angels signed Josh Hamilton away from the Rangers with much fanfare and speculation that LA's time was starting just as Texas' time was ending. Texas faced uncertainty in replacing hitters like Hamilton and Mike Napoli in the lineup, and rolling out guys that simply don't normally show that "MVP dominance" that a once-in-awhile player like Hamilton possesses.
Predicting baseball is dumb.
With Hamilton listed as the every day centerfielder for the Rangers last year, he hit .285/.354/.577 with 43 HR, 128 RBI, 31 2B, 2 3B, and 7 SB. Replace him with Craig Gentry? Isn't going to happen.
Gentry is hitting .246/.317/.421 with 3 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 5 SB in 22 games.
Leonys Martin is hitting .268/.339/.357 with 0 2B, 1 3B, and 1 HR in 24 games.
So obviously with just 6 XBH, Gentry couldn't match Josh Hamilton. Well, unless you were talking about this year, in which case he's doing better.
Hamilton hit a double in his last game, which wouldn't be surprising in most years but is perhaps finally a sign for hope for him this year. You want to make fun of Hamilton but are tiring of the same old drug jokes? Have no fear, sucking at hitting is here!
Hamilton is now at .208/.255/.296 with 3 2B, 1 3B, and 2 HR, with 9 RBI, 1 SB, and 38 strikeouts in 32 games. He's got the same amount of extra base hits as Gentry, but in way more at-bats. Only six extra-base hits total? That's not very good. How not very good is it?
Currently, 61 players have more than six doubles. This includes:
- Ryan Doumit, who is hitting .203/.276/.291 for the Twins but has more extra base-hits than Hamilton.
- Kendrys Morales, who the Angels traded to Seattle because they had one less spot in the lineup after acquiring Hamilton. Morales is hitting .261/.356/.400.
- Matt Dominguez. Long considered one of the worst hitting prospects in the minors that would make it with his glove at third base, Dominquez is walking in 4.3% of his plate appearances and posting an ISO of .065 with a line of .250/.296/.315, but has seven doubles.
- A rough start for Asdrubal Cabrera (.222/.294/.374) just not "Hamilton" rough. Cabrera has 10 extra-base hits.
- J.P. Arencibia has an on-base percentage of .256, but has more doubles (7) and home runs (8) than Hamilton has total XBH.
- Alejandro De Aza has 12 XBH.
- He never reached AAA, but rookie Evan Gattis of the Atlanta Braves has seven doubles and seven homers.
- Jose "I could fit in an Altoids can" Altuve has eight doubles.
- Mike Napoli, Adam Jones, and Manny Machado all have at least twice as many doubles as Hamilton has total XBH. Hamilton's former teammate Napoli has 22 XBH. Napoli signed a 1-year, $5 million contract with the Red Sox. Hamilton will get paid $17 million this season, meaning that he's almost made $5 million already.
- Jed Lowrie was a bit of an afterthought when he was dealt to the A's, but has 14 XBH. Teammate Josh Donaldson has 15. Coco Crisp also has 15 XBH.
- Left-for-dead, David DeJesus is making a little over $4 million this year and has 15 XBH.
- Astros C Jason Castro has 12 XBH with 10 doubles.
- The Angels said goodbye to Torii Hunter and hello to Josh Hamilton. Hunter is hitting .361 with 9 doubles, 1 triple, and 1 home run.
23 players have at least seven home runs. Including:
- Alex Rios
- Yuniesky Betancourt
- Wilin Roario
- Michael Cuddyer
- Anthony Rizzo
- Carlos Beltran
- Mark Trumbo
- Dexter Fowler
- Edwin Encarnacion
- Michael Morse
- Chris Davis
- John Buck
There was some debate as to whether it was better to sign Hamilton or trade for Justin Upton. Hamilton was at the top of his game and wouldn't cost anything in return but would cost a heavy salary. However, Upton was slumping and inconsistent and would cost something in trade. Upton has hit 12 home runs.
Other players that have at least seven extra-base hits:
- Hamilton was an obvious upgrade over Vernon Wells, but it is considered a solid move that the Angels were able to move Wells with his terrible contract. Wells is hitting .280/.339/.486 with 6 HR and 4 doubles for the Yankees.
- Fellow Yankee Lyle Overbay has 11 XBH.
- Brandon Crawford isn't a "bat-first" player, he's a "bat-??" player. 12 XBH.
- Former top prospect Domonic Brown has posted -1.2 WAR in his career. 8 XBH.
- Dan Uggla is hitting .184. 7 XBH.
- Nate McClouth. 11 XBH.
- Omar Infante. 7 XBH.
- Alfonso Soriano. 10 XBH.
- Carlos Pena. 9 XBH.
- B.J. Upton is hitting .154. 7 XBH.
- Everth Cabrera. 9 XBH.
- Marco Scutaro. 7 XBH.
- Ruben Tejada. 8 XBH.
Hamilton is almost hitting like if Justin Smoak were on something that was the opposite of steroids. If Justin Smoak was told he'd become a hitter that was like "Josh Hamilton Lite" then he would become a worse hitter.
Of course, hitters with a track record of Hamilton almost always come back to at least some version of what they once were. Hamilton's strikeout rate was always a good sign that he is prone to prolonged slumps but at the same time could carry an entire team on his shoulder for weeks when he wants to. Albert Pujols started out his Angels career in a prolonged slump, and is similarly struggling to start this year, but eventually he spent most of the year as typical Pujols.
That's probably what's going to happen to Hamilton eventually, but it's not happening right now. Enjoy these anomalies while you can.