Josh Hamilton is making a huge amount of money for the Los Angeles Angels. Maybe that’s not exactly a news flash for you, but this might be: Hamilton will be fine as a replacement for Torii Hunter in the outfield. See, I told you it would surprise you. Before you begin to disagree, let me explain where this idea comes from. I think it will be well worth the read.
Everyone that knows baseball knows how good Torii Hunter historically is in the outfield. Going back to his days in the Minnesota Twins center field spot, his reputation speaks for itself. Josh Hamilton is a power hitter, pure and simple. Well, hold on. He might be a little more than you think when just looking at him on the surface.
Last season Hunter put up these defensive numbers while playing the outfield in one-hundred and twenty-eight games: 240 putouts out of 258 chances, 14 assists, 4 errors and 5 double plays. That’s not bad right? Here is what Hamilton did while playing the outfield in one-hundred and twenty-eight games: 273 putouts out of 285 chances, 5 assists, 7 errors and 2 double plays. Right away your eye is going to jump to fewer double plays and assists and more errors for Hamilton. He had more putouts overall however, and his fielding percentage at .975 was only slightly lower than Hunter’s .984.
You have to admit they are closer than you thought they would be. Well, you don’t have to, but I have no problem admitting they are much closer than I thought. What about the errors and fewer assists? I hate to play this card but I just have to. Hunter’s offensive stats: 16 HR, 92 RBI and 81 runs scored. Here is Hamilton’s tally: 43 HR, 128 RBI and 103 runs scored. So there you go. Hamilton might allow a run or two to score where Hunter would not.
The difference isn’t too large on defense, however. On offense though, my goodness it’s not even close.
Here I was thinking that Josh Hamilton would be a big step downward from Torii Hunter in the outfield, and as it turns out I was wrong. Defensively, he doesn’t fall that far down from the Hunter of 2013. When you factor in his offensive numbers, he is a giant step upwards overall. I guess, to use an overused phrase, that’s why he makes the big bucks.