Fantasy Sports

Fantasy Baseball 2013: Josh Hamilton Turning It Around?

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We are a few days away from the All-Star break, and Josh Hamilton hasn’t had the ideal inaugural campaign with the Los Angeles Angels.

Right now, Hamilton is batting a less than impressive .229 with 14 homers and 39 RBI. While he was on my hate list before the season started, it doesn’t mean I would never own him on my fantasy roster. In fact, in my main league, I went out and traded for the Angels’ slugger, and since then, he has been hitting the ball pretty well. Could this be a sign of things to come for Hamilton and his frustrated fantasy owners?

Over the past three weeks or so, Hamilton has looked like a much better player. In July, Hamilton is batting a ridiculous .353 with four home runs and 10 runs batted in. He’s also only gone one game without a hit this month. I think the reasoning behind his hot bat all comes down to plate discipline, something that Hamilton was awful at all of last season, as well as the beginning of 2013. Last year, Hamilton swung and missed more than anyone in baseball, and the last time I wrote about him this year, his swing percentage at pitches landing outside of the strike zone was 45.2 percent, which was third-worst in baseball. He never took many pitches and was incredibly impatient at the plate. Fast forward to July, and Hamilton has improved in that area. His swing percentage of pitches outside the strike zone has dropped to 40.4%. It’s still the eighth-worst in the league right now, but it’s better, and promising. Also, Hamilton isn’t swinging and missing nearly as much in 2013, sporting a percentage of 15.1, which is his lowest number since the 2011 season. He has been moved back to batting cleanup in a stacked Angels lineup, and Hamilton knows what needs to be done to continue being a productive piece of the lineup.

“Right now it’s just about coming in and continuing to do the things I’ve done over the last three or four weeks to feel better at the plate,” Hamilton said. “Keep doing that on a daily basis, and hopefully the pitch recognition will stay and I’ll have better at-bats. That’s all you want to do, have better on-base and do anything you can to help the team win. That aspect of it feels a lot better.”

If your fantasy team is in need of some outfield help, I’d strongly consider buying low on Hamilton while you can. His hot bat has fantasy owners pretty excited, and coming into the All-Star break, Hamilton may not look back once action picks back up.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.