Originally written on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 10/14/14
Marienrsrangers_35d1
You probably think I’m crazy don’t you? Or worse, you think I’m going to make some sort of tasteless assumption that Josh Hamilton going to LA will lead him back to his past addictions. So how on Earth can Josh Hamilton – the 2010 AL MVP; the first free agent coming off a 40-HR, 120-RBI season since Alex Rodriguez; the man with talent seemingly on loan from God – be a downgrade for the Angels? Because I’m evaluating this from a purely logical standpoint. The LA Angels obviously do not have a worse roster today than they did Thursday morning. As I have not been up all night drinking paint thinner, I would never make that argument. My argument is that real baseball games aren’t won with fantasy stats. And while the Angels spent all this money on Josh Hamilton, they could have kept Torii Hunter for a fraction of the price and a similar return. Was Torii Hunter Actually a Better Fit? Torii Hunter was really good in 2012. Despite missing time, and having to deal with mental duress due to his son’s arrest this past season, Hunter had a 2012 OPS+ of 132. Josh Hamilton’s was 139. When you take into account other intangibles, such as defense and how they hit in high leverage situations, Hunter contributed a significantly higher Win Probability Added (3.40) than Hamilton (2.50). All this, despite Hamilton have a better team around him, a more favorable spot in the lineup, and playing in eight more games than Hunter. Hunter also filled a bigger need in LA from an offensive standpoint. He was their no. 2 hitter behind AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout. Hamilton will be placed in either the 3rd or 4th spot (playing musical chairs with Albert Pujols), leaving a hole behind Trout that looks to be best filled by Alberto Callaspo, who does not have the ideal skill set for a no. 2 hitter like Hunter had. Hamilton’s Numbers Suggest Impending Decline Hamilton has all the talent in the world. He posts really sexy superficial stats like Batting Average, Home Runs and RBI. Yet he also is showing signs of declining, which as an injury-prone 31-year old is very logical. The big red flag is his contact rate. He struck out in a quarter (25.5%) of his plate appearances last year and posted a contact rate of only 65%. To put that in to context, Adam Dunn has NEVER posted a contact rate that low. Hamilton is not a very patient hitter either. He drew only 60 walks over 636 plate appearances. Those numbers get worse when you consider 13 of those were intentional walks. So yes, over 20% of Hamilton’s walks are a result of opponent fear, not his patience. Hamilton’s explosive 43 home run season too seems to be a bit of an outlier. His Home Run to Fly Ball Ratio (HR/FB) was 25.6%. That raised his career average to 19.4%. If he’s healthy enough for another 630PA season (which is highly doubtful), the Angels are more likely looking at a 35 home run season. I don’t really want to take the fun out of this signing. In fact, I am a Josh Hamilton fan, and hope he, Trout, and Pujols put on an amazing display next season. Hamilton is a truly rare talent who can do things that are impossible for 99% of major leaguers. But those great moments are not what make a consistent, all-around, 162-game contribution. They just make it memorable. The Big Picture I want the Josh Hamilton Experience in LA to be a good one. But it would be irresponsible to evaluate this signing with my heart. The stone cold logical reality is that all indications point to Hamilton providing similar value as the much cheaper Torii Hunter. Hamilton’s skill set appears to be trending downward, whereas the older Hunter has been a mark of consistency. Hunter also filled a more useful role with the team, playing stronger defense while filling the no. 2 hole. Hamilton will make headlines and sell jerseys, no question. And he’ll have some moments that leave mouths agape. But will he fit in the lineup as well as Hunter? And what will Hamilton’s impact be on the complicated chemistry that makes a baseball team a winner or a loser over the long, hot summer? I hope this works out, but when you look at the larger picture and the deeper numbers involved, the Angels do not look to be a better team with Hamilton over Hunter. The post Why Josh Hamilton May Be a Downgrade For The Angels appeared first on Midwest Sports Fans.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NFL: Luke Kuechly should not have been ejected

Report: Okla. St. players fell asleep in drive-thru, arrested

Oscar Pistorius sentenced to five years in prison

Mike Pettine considered benching Hoyer for Manziel

Percy Harvin speaks out: 'I'm not a perfect person'

Report: Kobe has prevented Lakers from signing top talent

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Red Sox may be ready to move Yoenis Cespedes

Alleged details of War Machine's suicide letter released

Austin Davis says Rams security didn't recognize him

LeBron: Bulls are 'much better' than Cavs right now

Redskins to stick with Colt McCoy over Kirk Cousins

Rick Pitino: Louisville will beat FSU in football

Floyd Mayweather posts photo evidence of a lost bet

WATCH: Paul George takes court for first time since leg injury

Five most surprising NFL players through seven weeks

WATCH: Boxer viciously attacks referee at Euro Championships

WATCH: Salvador Perez hassles Lorenzo Cain at media session

Lane Kiffin trashed in Tennessee political ad

WATCH: Lawrence Timmons throws up on field during MNF

10 NBA players who could be traded by the All-Star break

WATCH: Jimbo Fisher gets annoyed, cuts interview short

WATCH: Les Miles has classic reaction to dumb question

WATCH: Tennessee coach tried to trip Ole Miss player?

News station congratulates Gary Payton for breaking TD record

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Pistorius sentenced to five years

Lane Kiffin trashed in political ad

Details of War Machine's suicide letter leaked

Angry Jimbo Fisher cuts off interview

Is Kobe's deal hurting the Lakers?

Tenn. coach tried to trip Ole Miss CB?

GGG continues his reign of terror

The 6 things that mattered this weekend in the premier league

News station congratulates Gary Payton for TD record

Ray Rice could be back by Week 10?

12 amazing stats from Week 7

World Series preview

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.