What Josh Hamilton Brings to the Texas Rangers


Entering play on Saturday, the Texas Rangers are 3-7 in their last ten, 17th in baseball in runs scored (9th in AL) and 25th in team ERA. To put it lightly, the team needs a turnaround sooner rather than later, and Josh Hamilton may be the guy that can provide that spark for them.

Has the rotation been great? No, but it has been serviceable, with Nick Martinez leading baseball with his 0.45 ERA. Their starter’s cumulative ERA of 4.82 has been inflated a bit by Ross Detwiler‘s rocky start, but Wandy Rodriguez performed well in his outing Friday, going five and allowing just one run.

What does any of this have to do with Josh Hamilton? If the pitching is good enough to keep them in games, a boost to the offense should benefit the whole team, no? Let’s take a look at what the Rangers have been getting out of left field thus far this season, where he will likely play.

AverageHome RunsRBIOBP
Rangers LF0.173140.306

The numbers provided for Hamilton are the average of his two seasons with the Angels, and are much worse than his previous three seasons with Texas. If we extrapolate the current Rangers’ left field options over the same number of at-bats (457) that Hamilton averaged over those two seasons, we get a total of 8.788 home runs (lets call it nine) and 35 rbi. Even if the Rangers get the lackluster Josh Hamilton of the past two seasons, it’s an upgrade that will only cost $5M per season over the next three seasons. If we get the Hamilton with the Rangers from 2010 to 2012, we’re looking at an average of 33 home runs and 107 rbi to go along with a .313 batting average and a .370 on-base percentage. This move is certainly worth the risk.

But what about the strikeouts you ask? While it’s true that Hamilton tends to strike out a fair amount, it’s still significantly less that the foursome that currently occupy left field. Carlos Peguero, Delino DeShields Jr., Ryan Rua and Jake Smolinski have combined to strike out 21 times in 52 at-bats, for a K percentage of 40.38. The highest percentage Hamilton has ever held is a 31.9 percent rate, which came last year with the Angels.

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Is there baggage that comes along with adding Josh Hamilton? Absolutely. Yet, the optimist in me wants to believe that Texas was a safe haven for Hamilton in the past, and that helped him to thrive on the baseball field. Even if he never achieves what he did previously in Arlington, there is much more at stake than just wins and losses. If Josh Hamilton is able to stay clean, and rebound from what has appeared to be a rocky relationship with the Angels, then that is also something to hang your hat on.

This move makes sense from a baseball perspective, but makes even more sense from a human perspective. We want to wish Josh Hamilton the best of luck both on and off the diamond in the coming years.

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