Saturday, November 5, 2011

Is Josh Hamilton Overrated?

Over the past 3 years, including his MVP year, Josh Hamilton has a 4.03 WAR average, worth 12.1 million. He will make 13.75 million in 2012. Hamilton has a career .366 OBP. To give you an idea of how that fits in with the league, there were 29 players (that had the minimum amount of plate appearances) with equal or better than .366 OBP in 2011. This list includes the ones you might expect like Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, but also includes guys like Alberto Callaspo and Casey Kotchman. However, it is not as if Hamilton sucks at getting on base, as one assumes that each of the 30 teams have 13 hitters, Hamilton would still be in the top 8%. Hamilton was also the OPS leader in 2010, and has a career OPS of .909, which would have been 16th in the Majors in 2011. His PAPP is very solid at 2.4, and his PPG is really nice at 1.61. Known for exciting defense of plays and disregard for his own safety, he has an under average fielding percentage and slightly above average range factor. In 2011, he cost the Rangers at least 3 runs with his fielding overall, and in his career is actually worth -1 run defensively, meaning he slightly hurts his team in the field. His 2010 MVP season should have alarmed some people, as he had an absolutely unrealistic .390 BABIP. It should have been pretty obvious that he could not repeat that season in 2011. His Secondary Average and ISO are both pretty good at .336 and .234 (these two were both about the same in 2010 and 2011, perhaps showing that these statistics are more reliable and less fluky). His career Runs Created per game is impressive at 7.5, giving him an Offensive Winning Percentage of .688. Certainly everyone would like to have him in their offense. There are certainly flaws in Hamilton's offense game though, as he walks slightly less than league average and sees less pitches per plate appearance than average. This is concerning because not only do you think a dangerous power hitter should be able to walk and make a pitcher work more than normal, but it also means inconsistency. Players that are able to walk and see more pitches are almost always more consistent hitters, and for Hamilton consistency seems to be somewhat a problem. One year he is one of the leagues best, the next, he is just above average. So to answer the question, yes Josh Hamilton is a bit overrated. There is no question he is an exciting player, and that he is an above average player, but he simply does not belong in the class of Ryan Braun, Albert Pujols, and the leagues best players.

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