Something is wrong with Josh Hamilton’s swing. Please try and control your shock at that statement. I know it is something that hits you completely out of left field but the Los Angeles Angels new slugger isn’t slugging at all. What could be the reasons behind such a swoon for Hamilton? How long could it last and will he come out of it before ruining his relationship with the fans of Los Angeles? I don’t know the answer to any of those questions but I most certainly have a few possible ones.
Hamilton is easily one of the more naturally gifted hitters of the past ten years. Anyone that has the ability to hit for that much power and yet keep a high average is someone that comes along rarely in the game of baseball. If you look at video from the last couple of years in a Texas Rangers uniform, everything looks fluid and perfect with Hamilton’s swing. He seemed to know what was coming before it was released from the pitcher’s hand. If it was a bad pitch he usually would lay off but if it were in the zone he would let his bat fly and wow did the ball fly.
Physically he is fine. He is a little thinner than he usually starts the year but he explained that pretty well and it is a non-issue. I think the problem is mental. That isn’t to say I think he needs to be committed but rather that he is too talented to have this much of a tough time purely for physical reasons. If he is a little off with his concentration, or way off for that matter, it would affect everything.
His swing just doesn’t look right. Many times when a hitter is struggling it is because they are pulling off of the ball. That is surely something to look at. If his hips are opening up to fast like many struggling sluggers do from time to time, it wouldn’t allow him to stay back on off-speed stuff. Looking at video from this year, he is absolutely having trouble with the changes of speed and breaking pitches. Pitchers of course know that and are feeding Hamilton those on a regular basis.
Maybe it is a cosmic type thing. Perhaps if Hamilton went a long way towards reassuring the good fans of the Rangers that he is sorry for what he said about them not being a baseball town, it would go a long way towards straightening up his concentration at the plate. Maybe it’s a long shot but at this point if I were his manager, I’d have told him to do a regular media tour back in Arlington by now just to see if it helped.