In 2012, Josh Hamilton hit 43 home runs and drove in 128 runs in his final season as a Texas Ranger. In five years with the Rangers, Hamilton averaged and impressive 28 home runs and 101 RBI with a .305 average. After breaking the bank to sign Albert Pujols in 2012, the Los Angeles Angels dove into free agency again in 2013 and awarded Hamilton with a five-year, $125 million contract.
In an attempt to get into better shape for his new team, Hamilton went on a juice diet during the 2012 offseason and came into Spring training 2013 at 225-pounds, considerably lighter than his normal playing weight. Now normally you would think that coming into camp lighter would be a good thing; you should be quicker, more nimble and just generally feel better. This was not the case for Hamilton as he put up career-lows in batting average (.250) and OPS (.739). Angels fans expecting 43 home runs again was a bit of a stretch as he did leave the hitter’s park in Texas with the jet stream in right center field for the pitcher’s park in Anaheim. But the bigger concern was the dip in average and the 79 RBI which was his lowest total since his injury plagued 2009 season.
So instead of making excuses, Hamilton took it upon himself to make some changes this offseason. He decided that he would move back up to his original playing weight in Texas. Hamilton hired a personal trainer and hit the weights hard and heavy to achieve his desired weight. As Spring Training approaches Hamilton has put on 18 pounds and looks great. He also worked with a functional movement coach to help with staying limber and not letting the bulk affect his swing. Hopefully with Hamilton back playing at 235-pounds he can regain some of the power that won him the MVP award in 2010.
Hamilton did show signs of life last season when he hit .329 over his last 45 games. With the trade of Mark Trumbo, the Angels are expecting big production from Hamilton and Pujols who also had a down season in 2013. I project 27 home runs and 101 RBI for Hamilton this season, and anything less will be a disappointment.