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The King and his court
By Aidan Flynn

The King’s Court should be in session for a little longer now, as ace Felix Hernandez agreed to a record-breaking, seven year, $175 million extension with the Mariners. Hernandez, coming off a fourth place finish in the Cy Young voting and the 21st perfect game in big league history, will enter 2013 at 27 years young, which could be surprising to some given that he already has eight Major League seasons under his belt. As a pitcher, there is little the “King” cannot do. He is a workhorse (200+ innings past five seasons), prevents runs (career 3.22 ERA), strikes guys out (8.3 K/9), keeps the ball on the ground (career 54.4 GB%), and has an excellent walk rate (2.67 BB/9). In short, Hernandez is on the shortlist for best pitchers in the game today and this contract is undoubtedly paying him like one. At $25 million per year, Hernandez’s AAV (Average Annual Value) is tied for the most among pitchers.

However, as good as Felix is and has been throughout his career, is this kind of investment smart? For 99% of pitchers, I’d vehemently say no. Pitchers as a whole are extreme risks, as we see hundreds of pitchers land on the DL each year. Even those with supposedly perfect mechanics (see Prior, Mark), can and do flame out just because of the very delicate nature of pitching. Just think about it; there are way more Mark Fidyrich’s, Fernando Valenzuela’s, and JR Richard’s, than there are Nolan Ryans. Pitching is a science and even now, we are still scratching the surface of very intricacies of throwing a baseball sixty feet six inches. Nevertheless, Felix is unlike 99% of pitchers and is among the elite in nearly every aspect of the art. For example, Baseball Prospectus’ pitching mechanic guru, Doug Thorburn, recently gave Felix much praise in his mechanical development since his Major League debut, (subscription required). While I would be very hesitant to invest that much money and years into ANY pitcher, Hernandez (along with Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw) is one of the few exceptions to that rule.

Additionally, I feel as though this is one move Seattle had needed to make. For years, Felix’s name has been whispered along the trade rumor grapevine, offering the potential of a king’s ransom (pun completely intended). Yet, with the on-field product continuing to struggle (last place finish in AL West in 2012), fans have shown up less and less to games. The past two years have brought about Seattle’s lowest yearly attendance figures since 1995, and the club actually drew about 100,000 less fans this year despite winning eight more games. The only reason this number isn't even lower is quite simply, because of the King. Seattle’s favorite son was signed as a 16 year old prodigy and has spent his entire career in the Mariners organization. The love affair is so great, that the left field bleachers during his starts transform into a yellow, manic, mob known as the King’s Court (hence the reference in the intro). For anyone that has seen the Court in action, they surely understand why Felix is so important to the club and city. He is Seattle. He is the ultimate Mariner. He is the King.

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The final out in Felix Hernandez's perfect game on August 15, 2012. 92 mph change-up!
 
 
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Ben Cherington (left) and John Farrell (right)
By: Nick Rabasco

In 1965, the Boston Red Sox hit the century mark in losses, going 62-100.  2012 marked the worst season Boston has had since that abysmal year in 1965 by going 69-93.  This breakdown in 2012 goes without mentioning the worst collapse in baseball history in 2011 when the Red Sox failed to hold a 9 game September wild card lead.  The list of problems for this team in the past two campaigns is a long one.  The clubhouse seemingly fell apart in 2011 and that carried right into 2012.  Bobby Valentine replaced two-time World Series champion Terry Francona, proving to be a huge mistake for Boston.  Valentine and his players had ongoing conflicts all season long, and he was quickly dismissed the day after the 2012 season mercifully ended.  These clubhouse conflicts were just part of the problem, as the players were either injured or just simply underperformed.  With that said, Ben Cherington was on a mission heading into the 2013 offseason.  This tall task for Ben was certainly not an easy one, having to find a new manager and players who can not only produce on the field, but be leaders in the clubhouse. 

For the Red Sox, it all begins with pitching.  This was the biggest problem in 2012, so we start off with Ryan Dempster, the man Cherington went out and got to fill a spot in the rotation.  Dempster has proven he can eat up innings and has been an average pitcher for his career as a whole (99 ERA+).  However, since 2008, he has been an above average pitcher.  The numbers look good on Dempster over that span, however his age (36) and the fact that he is moving from the National League to the American League, and Fenway Park for that matter, raise some concern and are reasons why I think Dempster will be a middle of the rotation guy.  Everybody else in the rotation is a question mark for 2013.  John Lackey was historically bad in 2011 and is coming off Tommy John surgery.  There is no guarantee that he will return to his Angels form.  Felix Doubront had flashes of excellence in 2012; however, he was inconsistent.  He ended the season with an ERA approaching 5 even though he led the staff in strikeouts.  Doubront should improve if he can get deeper into games and limit his walks.  Of course these improvements are no guarantee and Doubront could regress.  As for the two leaders of the staff, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, improvement is as close as you can get to a guarantee.  I am not saying they will get back to being Cy Young contenders, but I am very confident, if healthy, that they will show great improvement.  From 2008-2011, Lester was one of the best and most consistent pitchers in all of baseball (135 ERA+ over that span).  In 2010, Buchholz led the league in ERA+ (187) and was second in ERA (2.33).  Both of them are still young, and their track records show they will not be as bad as they were in 2012 when Lester had an ERA+ of 90 and Buchholz was at 95.  If these guys can stay healthy, I expect a better 2013.

As far as the bullpen is concerned, I believe what the Red Sox have put together has the potential to be amongst the best in all of baseball.  First of all, they have more than enough depth.  They have added Joel Hanrahan to close out games for the Sox in 2013.  He has put up some impressive numbers over the past 4 seasons with ERA+’s of 244, 112, 203 and 138 respectively from 2009-2012.  However, his walk rates are a cause for concern.  He walked over 5 batters per nine innings last season and his career BB/9 is 4.3, well above league average.  His career WHIP is also 1.38, which is high for a reliever. 
With Daniel Bard coming back to the bullpen after a failed experiment in the starting rotation, Hanrahan will be joined by him, Andrew Bailey, Andrew Miller,  Junichi Tazawa, Alfredo Aceves, Franklin Morales, Craig Breslow, Koji Uehara, Mark Melancon and Clayton Mortenson. This tremendous combination allows the Red Sox flexibility and many options for left handers, long relievers and the back end of the bullpen.  Aceves, who has had more success as a starter or a long reliever figures to be the long man along with Morales and Mortenson.  The Sox added Uehara this offseason on a one-year deal, and he figures to work in the 7th and 8th innings along with guys like Tazawa, Miller, Bailey, Melancon, Breslow and Bard. 

An extremely important statistic to look at for pitchers is WHIP.  Inconsistency with pitch location, whether it means missing out of the zone or in the zone, was obviously a huge problem for Boston in 2012.  Limiting base runners not only leads to less runs allowed, but it aids in preserving pitch counts and allows guys to get deeper into games.  It is no coincidence that in 2004 and 2007 (World Series champion seasons) the Red Sox as a staff led the league in WHIP as a team.  In 2012, the sox staff finished 10th in the AL in WHIP.  I believe the Red Sox staff will be much improved in 2013; however, I still do not believe it will be quite enough to be able to win the division compared to the pitching staffs of teams like Toronto and Tampa Bay. 

Offensively, the Red Sox should be near the top in the league again.  With Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Will Middlebrooks and David Ortiz at full health, it already improves the offense from a year ago.  Ellsbury played in 74 games in 2012, with Ortiz at 90, Middlebrooks at 75 and Pedroia at 147.  Although Pedroia stayed on the field, he played through a thumb injury for about half the season.  These four players will go along with several additions to the lineup.  Mike Napoli, Johnny Gomes, Shane Victorino and Stephen Drew were picked up by Cherington this offseason.  Starting with Napoli, he will not replace the production of Adrian Gonzalez at first base, offensively or defensively.  Health is a huge concern for Napoli as he has only played in 140 games once in his 7 year career (114 is the second most games he’s played).  Playing first base, instead of catcher, should aid his health.  When he is on the field, he is a very productive player.  Although he will not hit for a high average, he gets on base and hits for power.  He has hit at least 24 home runs in each of the past 3 seasons.  Expect him to be a 25-30 home run guy for the Red Sox with the help of the green monster.  He has also posted a career .356 OBP, which bodes well for what the Red Sox are trying to do in 2013.  Even today, the importance of OBP remains underrated.  The Red Sox lead the lead in team OBP in 2003, 2004, and 2008 and were second in OBP in 2007, just 4 points behind the league leader.  They reached the 7th game of the American League Championship series in all 4 of these seasons, winning the World Series in 2004 and 2007.  In 2012, the Red Sox won 69 games and finished 10th in the AL with a team OBP of .315.  Again, this is not a coincidence.  With guys like Ellsbury, Pedroia, Ortiz, and Napoli healthy, that team OBP should rise significantly.  Shane Victorino took a step back last season with the Phillies and Dodgers.  He batted just .245/.316/.351 with an OPS+ of just 85.  He will provide good defense for the Sox in right field; however he needs to be able to get on base at a higher rate in order to utilize his speed.  He has a career .341 OBP so I would expect it to certainly rise from his horrible .316 mark in 2012.  Jonny Gomes is a guy who put up very solid numbers in 2012, although it came in just 99 games.  He batted .262/.377/.491 with an OPS+ of 140 and 18 long balls.  These kinds of numbers are all above his career marks, however if he can put up production that is even close to this for a full season, Red Sox fans would be very satisfied.  He is however, in completion with guys like Daniel Nava to get playing time in left field.  Gomes has struck left handers very well over the course of his career and figures to get all of the playing time against them in 2013.  Stephen Drew is coming off a major injury, but figures to be at full health come spring training.  This is a move that I like a lot for the Red Sox.  They were able to get him for only one year, which works out well with guys like Jose Iglesias and Xander Bogaerts needing more time in the minors.  Drew has a career line of .265/.328/.433 and an OPS+ of 96.  His 162-game average for home runs is 15, and if he can put up a number like that, the Red Sox would be very impressed.  These additions will be nice additions to a lineup that includes Ellsbury, Pedroia, Ortiz, and Middlebrooks, and we all know what those guys are capable of doing.  These guys are also proven to have been great in the clubhouse which may be just as important as production on the field considering the problems the Sox have had in the past couple seasons. 

Overall, the Red Sox have certainly improved.  Offensively they have added some nice pieces along with getting their regulars back healthy.  I also believe their bullpen and the amount of depth they have will prove to be successful and help the team win close games.  However the biggest and most important aspect to watch out for in 2013 is the starting rotation.  If they can stay healthy, give the team innings, and just flat out pitch better than last season, this team can compete for a postseason spot.  I do not believe they will win the division because the competition is so heavy in the game’s best division.  I am going to predict an 85 win season for Boston in John Farrell’s inaugural season as manager at Fenway.  



 
 
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Jed Lowrie is talented, but will he stay on the field enough to matter?
This upcoming season, the Houston Astros will move from the NL Central to the AL West, where they once again expect finish at the bottom of their division after ending 2012 with a league-worst 107 losses. It should do them no favors then, that the Astros now must face 2012 playoff teams, the Oakland Athletics and the Texas Rangers, as well as the restocked Los Angeles Angels, on a regular basis. Monday night saw a trade in which two of these newly-created rivals, the Astros and the Athletics, swapped young talent. In this transaction, Oakland received infield utilityman, Jed Lowrie, and pitcher Fernando Rodriguez, while the Astros acquired a trio of young talents in the form of 1B/noted left-handed masher Chris Carter, right-handed pitcher Brad Peacock, and catcher Max Stassi. Below, Nick has a quick write-up on Jed Lowrie, followed by my (Aidan's) outlook on the new Astros and my first impressions of the trade

By Nick Rabasco:

In 2012, Jed Lowrie played in a career high 97 games.  Games played has been a huge problem for Jed in his 5 year career, with numerous DL stints during that time.  Lowrie has shown flashes of being a solid and productive player.  For example, in 2010 with the Red Sox, he batted .287/.381/.526 with an OPS+ of 139.  However that came in only 55 games and 197 plate appearances.  Last season, Jed was productive as well in 387 plate appearances, batting .244/.331/.438 with 16 home runs and an OPS+ of 108.  Despite his low batting average in 2012, he was still able to walk a lot and get on base.  He walked 11.1% of the time (10.1% in career), which is above the league average by almost 3%. Clearly, it should be no surprise that he was coveted by Billy Beane and the Moneyball A's.  In addition, the A’s are receiving a very versatile player, who has experienced playing time at all infield positions.  For his career, he has saved -4 runs with a fielding percentage of .977.  Lowrie was a 2 win player in 2012 for Houston, but if he is able to put it all together and stay on the field for a full major league season, I believe Lowrie can put up a WAR of around 3. 

By Aidan Flynn:

Unlike the current island of misfit toys donning the Astros uniform in 2013, Houston added a decent amount of talent in this trade. The only big leaguer of this bunch is Chris Carter, who spent time at 1B and DH for the division winning A's. Carter has big time power, evidenced by his 13.6 AB/HR rate, that would have ranked fourth in the American League had he enough plate appearances to qualify. However, as one usually expects with big-time power, Carter does have an excessive strikeout rate. For instance, Carter's K rate of 31.9% ranked 9th highest among those with at least 200 PA's. In spite of this, Carter should still remain an offensive threat because of his aforementioned power potential and well above average walk rate (15%). Additionally, Carter can be better utilized as part of a platoon, just as he was last year in Oakland with lefty Brandon Moss. Carter, a right handed hitter, hit lefties to the tune of a .241/.404/.494, which was actually suppressed by nature of his tough home ballpark. Moving to the more hitter-friendly Minute-Maid Park, Carter should certainly improve his offensive numbers and help solidify an otherwise anemic Houston offense. 

The next piece of this trade is once highly touted right-hander Brad Peacock. Peacock's name may sound familiar, as he was indeed, the very same Peacock sent to Oakland as part of last year's Gio Gonzalez swap. 2012 was certainly a down year for the young righty, as he was killed for a 6.01 ERA in 135 innings for Triple-A Sacremento. To most, a 6.01 ERA in any level for an extended period of time would be the death blow to a shot at the major leagues; however, with Peacock, there are some silver linings in his otherwise dreadful season. For one, Peacock struck hitters at a well above-average rate of 9.3 K/9, flashing a plus curve ball and a fastball that can touch 96. Additionally, Peacock was the unfortunate recipient of bad luck, as he had an absurd .340 BABIP during his 2012 minor league season. Furthermore, Peacock could be a weapon in the bullpen if starting doesn't work out, as he features the plus offerings necessary to succeed in that role. All told, Peacock still has the talent to succeed, even with last year's struggles. 

Of all the players going to Houston, the farthest away from achieving big-league stardom is catcher Max Stassi. Stassi finished up 2012 in High-A Stockton, where hit hit .268/.331/.468 with 18 2Bs and 16 HRs. Stassi still has some work to do on offense, as he strikes out too much and has too liberal of an approach at the plate. Defensively, Stassi has always been advanced beyond his years, with a strong and accurate throwing arm and excellent receiving skills. There is a good chance Stassi will make it to the Majors with his glove alone and any offense contribution whatsoever could make him everyday player.

First Impressions:

Winner: Astros

For an oft-injured man of glass, the Astros made out pretty well in this trade. They infused some youth and skill into a talent-starved major league team. In short, they acquired a strong platoon hitter, a good innings-eater that should at worst be a #4 starter or set-up man, and a glove first catcher. That may not seem like much, but all of these players are close to major league guarantees and should represent major upgrades over the replacement players currently filling out the starting spots. This will not necessarily make the Astros a better team in 2013, but they had no shot at competing, with or without Lowrie. To me, this trade undoubtedly puts them in a better shot at contending in the coming years.

Loser: Athletics

Don't get me wrong; Lowrie is a very talented player and one that is certainly capable of making this a coup for the A's. However, players with his kind of injury history just aren't cured with the wave of a magic wand and I have a hard time seeing him staying healthy enough to make this a win for the A's. I understand the A's didn't trade top 100 prospects or anything but still, the lost value in a strong platoon partner and back-end innings eater still outweighs the gain of Lowrie in my opinion.

 
 
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        This morning brought about the news that former all-star Nick Swisher would be returning to his adopted home state as a member of the Cleveland Indians. Swisher's deal with the Indians is said to be a four year pact at $56 million, with an fifth year option at $14 million. Born right on the West Virginia/Ohio border in Parkersburg, WV, Swisher went on to stardom at The Ohio State University and was a popularized as the first selection in the 2002 Athletics' "Moneyball" draft. Following his tenures with the A's and White Sox, Swisher went on to have some of his best seasons as a member of the Yankees, including a 2010 campaign that made him a first time All-Star. Now, after several productive seasons in the limelight of New York, Swisher will be taking his talents to the much more reserved city of Cleveland.

            Swisher undoubtedly has an infectious passion for the game and a personality seemingly made for New York. Although Cleveland will certainly provide a different atmosphere than the Big Apple, for now, we will just focus on the tangible aspects of Swisher's game. With the exception of his poor 2008 season with the White Sox, Swisher has been a model of consistency. Excluding his rookie season and that aforementioned '08 campaign, Swisher has had at least a 22 home runs (never more than 29), a 120 OPS+ (never higher than 129), and a .359 OBP (never higher than .381) . This remarkable steadiness displayed by Swisher gives a good barometer of what his production should look like in the coming seasons, even though his numbers should expect a decline from leaving Yankee Stadium's short RF porch. Coincidentally or not, Swisher had his best season (career high 3.5 WAR) this past year with a 126 OPS+, 24 home runs, 93 RBI, and a .272/.364/.473 triple slash line. On the other side of the ball, Swisher is presumed to play RF, after incumbent Shin-Soo Choo was traded to the Reds last week. Swisher spent most of last season in the Bronx as the starting RF and put up positive Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) numbers and Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR). These numbers are not one year flukes either, because Swisher's defensive ratings have hovered around average (0 runs saved/above average) for much of his career. Additionally, Swisher has seen sporadic time at first base and his defensive ratings (career 2 DRS, .994 fielding %) suggest he could play could be solid defensively if he loses some of his outfield range. All told, Swisher's consistency, positional versatility and offensive abilities make this contract a reasonable one for the Indians. 

            One further note in regards to Swisher's on-field performance has been his production, or lack there of, in the postseason. A career .169 hitter with 46 K's, Swisher's playoff ineptitude reached its peak this past postseason. In eight games, Swisher batted .167, struck out 10 times, and had just two runs batted in. This caused Swisher to be booed repeatedly by the Yankee faithful, foreshadowing Swisher's final days in pinstripes. Additionally, although there is not a huge sample size, his 46 games and 181 plate appearances are enough to say that Swisher has just flat out under-produced in October. Is it fair to judge a player by a couple of games after producing for six months? I would argue no, but for some, playoff performances carry extra weight in determining a player's abilities; this despite the fact that that player might have been the reason for the team making the playoffs in the first place. Regardless, Swisher's much publicized postseason struggles clearly did not sway the Indians into committing to him for the next four seasons.

            Now that we know Swisher the player, what does this signing mean for the Indians? In my opinion, as good as Swisher is, it is a move that does not make much sense from a organizational standpoint. First off, Swisher essentially replaces Choo (3.5 WAR for Swisher, 3.1 WAR for Choo) and could even be a downgrade if Swisher's bat slows from age and fails to transition for homer-friendly Yankee Stadium. If the Indians were a 68 win team with Choo, why should the team with Swisher's arrival be any different? As I said with the Myers-Shields swap, it does not pay to be mediocre. I do not comprehend when teams make these irresponsible decisions when resources could be more effectively allocated, such as filling a need rather than adding a want. For instance, the $56 million spent on Swisher could have landed Edwin Jackson, who had just signed a 4 year, $52 million deal with the Cubs. While the Tribe's offense was around league average, the Indian's pitching staff was absolutely abysmal, having the worst ERA, ERA+, and WHIP in the American League. Signing Jackson could have definitely improved a staff as bad as this, providing invaluable innings instead of throwing the likes of Josh Tomlin (6.36 ERA) and Jeanmar Gomez (5.96 ERA) every fifth day. In addition, the Indians farm system lacks much talent other than stud shortstop Francisco Lindor and right-hander Trevor Bauer; barring a huge influx of talent, the Indians should not see much in the ways of winnings for several more seasons.  Thus, by the time Swisher's contract is complete, what will the Tribe have to show for it? Perhaps some added attendance from seeing a home-state kid in the purple and red, but in terms of wins and losses, it more than likely that it will be much of the same. Simply put, this financially ties up a team that just will not be competing in the near future. Once again, Swisher is a very good player and very much worthy of his newly minted  contract. However, this poor allocation of resources is just another reminder of why the Indians are the Indians.  


BY: AIDAN FLYNN

 
 
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        Josh Hamilton was the biggest and most prized name in this 2012 free agent class.  Today, seemingly out of nowhere, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim swooped in and locked up the five-time all-star to a five year deal worth $125 million.  Everybody knows about the injury history and the drug and alcohol issues for Hamilton off the field.  When he is on the field and playing at full health, Hamilton is one of the most TALENTED players in all of baseball.  However, when looking at the complete package, is the former MVP really one of the best overall players in the game?

       Undoubtedly, Josh Hamilton has put up some big time numbers throughout his six year career.  Overall for his career, Hamilton has hit .304/.363/.549, averaging 35 home runs and an OPS+ of 135.  These are impressive numbers to say the least, but among the most intriguing questions regarding Hamilton is his consistency (or lack thereof) for an entire season.  Through the first 35 games of 2012, Hamilton batted .404 with 18 home runs (on pace to break Bonds’ all-time record).  However, he tailed off significantly for the remainder of the season batting .246 with 25 home runs in the final 113 ballgames. 

                In addition to his slugging streakiness, Hamilton struck out a lot, swung and missed at too many pitches, and just simply was not as disciplined as he should be.  Hamilton struck out 25.5% of the time in 2012 (19.7% career), compared to the league average of 18.2%.  He swung and missed at a whopping 32% of pitches in 2012 (25% career), while the league average is 15%.  He had the league's worst contact rate at 64.7%, a 10% dropoff from last season alone. Clearly, this indicates Hamilton’s temptation to swing at pitches out of the zone (he owned the league's highest chase rate), which has only increased over the past year and could foreshadow future struggles.   This is very important because of Hamilton’s talent level.  When he does make contact and puts the ball in play, he bats .335 for his career (.320 BABIP in 2012).  All the strikeouts (96 in 2012) and lack of plate discipline significantly impact his batting average and on-base skills.  Also, in 2010 when Hamilton captured the MVP award, he put up gaudy numbers.  However, that season was drastically different and better than his other campaigns because of a .390 BABIP.  This allowed him to put up numbers like a .359/.411/.633 triple slash with an OPS+ of 170.  Other than that  season, he has never had a BABIP above .333 and an OPS+ above 139. 

                Playing in Texas  has significantly impacted Hamilton’s play as well.  Looking at park factors for runs scored and home runs, Rangers’ Ballpark is significantly a better place to hit than Angels Stadium.  For home runs and runs, Rangers’ ballpark has park factors of 76 and 81, respectively (>100 favors hitters, <100 favors pitchers).  In Texas, these numbers are 117 and 118 respectively, making it among the most hitter friendly parks in all of baseball.  As proof of his home ballpark in Texas aiding him, Hamilton has hit 94 home runs (1,425 AB) at home in his career, compared to just 67 (1,400 AB) on the road.  Additionally, he has a 90 point slugging percentage decrease and 109 point OPS decline on the road compared to his numbers at Arlington. There is no question heading to Los Angeles will impact Hamilton’s hitting at home. 

                One more interesting item on Hamilton is his drastic splits when hitting against top pitchers in the league, and hitting against weaker pitching in the league.  According to Vince Gennaro's research, in which he ranked hitters (using OPS) by their performances against the top pitchers, average pitchers, and lesser pitchers, Hamilton had the most drastic difference against strong pitching compared to weak pitching.  For example, Hamilton’s OPS against top pitchers is .721 and his OPS against lower level pitching is 1.154.  That is a difference of 433 points!  This is a much larger gap compared to the league average difference of 182 OPS points.  For the MLB as a whole, hitters had an OPS of .641 against top pitchers and an OPS of .823 against weak pitching. In other words, Hamilton hit weak pitching only 12% better than average, but feasted on weaker pitching , being 40% better than league average. Include the fact that most pitchers faced in the postseason belong in the upper half quartile (stronger pitching), Hamilton could face further struggles to his already dismal postseason stats (.227/.295/.424). All in all, when Hamilton hits against top pitchers in his new ballpark, it could mean trouble for Hamilton and the Angels.

                Defensively, Hamilton is and has been rated as a below average center fielder. However, with Mike Trout firmly entrenched in center, Hamil
ton will play left field, where he has been rated as a good defender.  In 2012, he saved 2 runs (in LF), and has been 11 runs above average in his career according to the Ultimate Zone Rating statistic. Additionally, Hamilton possesses a strong throwing arm which has led to five outfield assists. Despite having 7 errors in the outfield this past season, Hamilton is a good defender that should only improve defensively as he plays in left field full-time.

                Josh Hamilton has the ability to carry a team on his back for a certain amount of time.  However, staying consistent for an entire season has been a problem for him in the past.  Hamilton should absolutely help the Angels and makes their lineup more dangerous this upcoming season. However, there are definitely many concerns within various aspects of his game and the Angels are taking a serious gamble for $125 million. 

BY: NICK RABASCO


 

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