Josh Hamilton was supposed to be the final piece of the Angel’s outfield alongside Albert Pujols and Mike Trout. Together, they became the trio by which all outfields are held before taking the field for the first time.
However, L.A. sports fans have learned from the past year (from the Lakers, Dodgers, USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins debacles), that money can’t buy happiness or wins. In their first month together, they’ve been extremely underwhelming and the fantasy hasn't lived up to reality.
Trout is battling through a sophomore slump with a .252, but he gets cut some slack because the Angels are still paying him an allowance in comparison to the gold bars Hamilton and Pujols are making.
Between the pair, the Angels are spending $365 million in Benjamins, and Hamilton’s start is extremely worrisome for the Angels.
His final season in Texas ended with him getting booed by Rangers fans. Hamilton’s always been a streaky hitter, but his hitting is becoming more and more erratic.
Last summer, Hamilton had two of the worst 17-game stretches of his career after he hit .188 from June 2 to June 23. Last week, the Angels moved him down in the order.
On Monday night, the Angels lost in 19 innings to the Oakland A’s. Pujols found his swing by bashing two home runs. However, in eight at-bats, Hamilton had zero hits.
ESPN’s Buster Olney has the details on Hamilton’s slide into mediocrity.
He's already got 32 strikeouts in 25 games, which is more strikeouts than Cliff Lee or Chris Sale, who each have 30. Hamilton is on a pace for 207 strikeouts this season, which continues an alarming trend: He had averaged 92 K's per season before whiffing 162 times in 2012.
The bottom line is that Hamilton is simply not giving himself a chance at the plate, whatever the reason.
According to FanGraphs, his O-swing rate — swings at pitches outside the strike zone — is 44.8 percent, the fifth-highest in the majors. Only Pablo Sandoval has a higher swing percentage than Hamilton. Only Wilin Rosario sees a lower percentage of fastballs than Hamilton, because pitchers know he'll swing at everything. They throw slop, he swings at it; Hamilton has only five walks so far this year.
At $25 million, Hamilton is worth more than the entire Houston Astros lineup, but he’s producing like a player battling A-Rod for the worst contract in the majors.
In retrospect, the Angels probably should have spent more time addressing their Salvation Army of a pitching staff, which has been donating more runs to opposing hitters than any rotation besides the Astros.
Without those runs, the Angels don’t have a prayer and championship-winning manager Mike Sciocia may not be in the dugout past this season.