Which Hamilton will show up in 2013? Lets take a look at the differences between his first half in 2012 and the second half. Hamilton is also moving from a premier hitters park to more of a neutral yard in Anaheim, but a player with as much talent and power shouldn’t be affected so much. He’s also part of a better lineup with stars such as Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and youngster Mark Trumbo. The 31-year-old inked a five-year deal worth $125 million with the Angels in the off-season.
2012 first half: 54 runs, 27 homeruns, 75 RBI, .308 AVG and 6 stolen bases.
Hamilton was off to a roaring start in his contract year, but the dramatic difference between his first half and second half of the season is cause for concern. In fact, if you look at his career stats since the breakout season in 2008, he has declined ever since then. Hamilton was the runaway MVP of the first half, but Miguel Cabrera finished with a huge second half and won the 2012 American League MVP.
2012 second half: 49 R, 16 HR, 53 RBI, .259 AVG and 1 SB.
Here’s where Hamilton really fell off and if that wasn’t enough for the Rangers to let him go, giving up on a fly ball in the one game playoff between Texas and Oakland certainly sealed the deal. Texas was supposedly after Justin Upton, but did not want to part with either Jurickson Profar or Elvis Andrus to acquire him. The Rangers offense will definitely be affected by Hamilton’s departure, but he is a risk on and off the field. On the field, he tends to get hurt a fair bit and displays a lack of effort in the outfield. Off the field, he has well documented problems with alcohol and could have a relapse at any time.
The Angels ignored those red flags as they tried to make some roster tweaks that would help them get past the Athletics and Rangers. Lets take a look at Hamilton from a fantasy perspective now.
2008: 98 R, 32 HR, 130 RBI, .304 AVG, 126 strikeouts and 9 SB.
2009: 43 R, 10 HR, 54 RBI, .268 AVG, 79 K and 8 SB.
2010: 95 R, 32 HR, 100 RBI, .359 AVG, 95 K and 8 SB.
2011: 80 R, 25 HR, 94 RBI, .298 AVG, 93 K and 8 SB.
2012: 103 R, 43 HR, 128 RBI, .285 AVG, 162 K and 7 SB.
Hamilton’s walk rate is not a huge concern, as he actually finished with a pretty decent 9.8 percent clip in 2012. His batting average on balls in play has always been above .300 in the major leagues and I’m of the belief that good hitters make their own luck. Hamilton finished with a 25.5 percent strikeout rate in 2012 and that was a career high, which isn’t exactly a good sign. However, Hamilton is a power hitter and most of the time he does one of three things at the plate. He walks, strikes out, or hits home runs.
Hamilton is still one of the top outfielders in the game and for fantasy, but definitely a batting average risk if you are taking him on draft day. Hamilton is current ranked 25th overall in Yahoo leagues, which is about right to me. He lands 19th overall on ESPN’s draft kit rankings and 14th overall by CBS.
Lastly, here are my 2013 projections for Hamilton.
96 R, 30 HR, 114 RBI, .285 AVG and 7 SB.