35-Year-Old Outfielder – Free Agent
2017 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
Hamilton entered the 2016 campaign with a lingering knee issue that was expected to clear up by mid-May. Things turned south very quickly, however, as he was only able to appear in one rehab game with...
Josh Hamilton Contract Information:
Signed a one-year contract with the Rangers in January of 2017.
Hamilton (knee) was released by the Rangers on Friday after it was revealed that he would need another right knee surgery.
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Josh Hamilton: MLB Games Played By Position
Josh Hamilton Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Josh Hamilton Defensive Stats
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Josh Hamilton: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Hamilton battled through a series of shoulder and leg injuries, limiting him to just 50 games in 2015, and was shipped mid-season to Texas in what amounted to the Angels just paying him to go away. The Rangers are on the hook for just $2 million of his salary over the next two seasons. Hamilton was a shell of his former self even back in familiar territory, and struggled to show patience at the plate (career-low 5.5-percent walk rate) although he still flashed a useful amount of power when he was healthy enough to play (eight homers in 182 plate appearances, .188 ISO). He had additional surgery in November on his troublesome knee and was still experiencing soreness as spring training began, prompting the Rangers to go out and sign Ian Desmond to take over in left field for the 2016 season. Hamilton will turn 35 in May and there is simply too much wear and tear on his body.
For a moment, it looked as though Hamilton was going to begin to justify the the five-year, $125 million contract he signed with the Angels in December of 2012. The 33-year-old started the 2014 season on fire after notching just a .739 OPS in the first year of the deal, as he tallied a .741 slugging percentage in eight games before tearing the UCL in his thumb during an ill-advised slide into first base. Hamilton was able to return to the club in June, but dealt with a variety of ailments throughout the season, including rib cage inflammation, which cost him the final two weeks of 2014. All told, the former MVP played in just 89 games last season, compiling a .745 OPS in the process. Those who believe Hamilton was on track for a turnaround before the injuries could once again attempt to buy low in 2015, but it's worth noting that he is now two and a half years removed from anything resembling All-Star production. More importantly, he's recovering from shoulder surgery this spring and is facing a suspension from Major League Baseball after admitting to a drug relapse while meeting with league officials in late February.
Hamilton was the talk of the offseason after signing a five-year, $125 million contract in December 2012, as fantasy owners held their collective breath waiting to see if Hamilton would once again be the monster they saw in April and May of 2012, or the mediocre hitter that followed for the rest of that season. Unfortunately, the latter prevailed, as Hamilton's .250/.307/.432 line gave him just a 108 OPS+ on the year. At this point, it's difficult to predict which Hamilton we will see going forward, as his strikeout rate remained high in 2013 (24.8%), while his walk rate remained low (7.4%). And while he actually cut down on his chase rate last season (41.2%), the prodigious power he used to display continues to vanish, as the .182 ISO he put up in 2013 was 53 points lower than his career average. Heading into 2014, Hamilton may once again disappoint those banking on a return to form if he can't get his strikeout rate down to manageable levels.
Hamilton's April and May (1.185 OPS, .370 AVG, 21 homers) were things of legend (including a four-home run game), and to see that hitter devolve into the .247/.323/.504 version that soon followed in the 401 at-bats after May 25 was a shocking development. Not that Hamilton could keep up with the pace of the first two months, but his continued "swing at anything" approach, and subsequent deep slumps that followed, began to erode his popularity with the fan base and reportedly several teammates as well. The Angels surprisingly gave Hamilton a five-year deal in December, where he will join a strong Anaheim lineup while moving into a pitcher-friendly park for half of his games after enjoying the hitter-friendly confines of Arlington.
Hamilton took a big step back from his MVP-winning 2010, though a .298/.346/.536 line doesn't grow on trees. He was limited by what was discovered to be a sports hernia as the season waned, but he still managed 14 homers after the All-Star break. Hamilton hasn't played more than 133 games since 2008, though, and it's not the type of trend that one should expect to reverse as he ages. As part of the effort to keep him on the field more consistently, the Rangers are looking to remove him from center field duty this season.
Hamilton won the AL MVP despite missing most of the final month with cracked ribs, far outpacing his poor 2009 season. Growing concern of his continued injury woes has Texas planning on moving him to left field for 2011. His insane numbers at home last year (.390/.438/.750) and against righties (.401/.447/.716) are due for a drop-off, but there's still plenty to like. There are going to be injury concerns for as long as he plays, but the underlying talent is through the roof. Keeping him healthy for 130 games should be the only concern.
Hamilton battled a litany of injuries all season, dealing with a rib injury in April, a sports hernia in May and June, and finally a back injury in September. It's obviously tough to judge his disappointing season as a result, but you have to dig pretty deep to find anything positive. He had just one month (May) where he hit more than two homers, and only one full month (August) where he hit above .242. There's too much recent success to not expect a rebound, but be aware that staying healthy has long been a struggle so bidding and expecting 30-plus homers in a full season again has some risk involved.
Hamilton emerged as an early-season MVP candidate before an August swoon (.243/.333/.456) ended his campaign. He showed marked improvement against lefties (.801 OPS in 205 at-bats after hitting .208 with one homer in 72 at-bats in 2007) after struggling against them with the Reds. Hamilton will be the center of Texas' offense, and is a good bet to continue to improve given his home park and that he's just now entering his peak at age 27.
Hamilton's 2007 season is a good illustration of why you never give up on premium talent, even if they've failed with multiple trials. Reds GM Wayne Krivsky may have his faults, but it's hard to dismiss his ability to find freely available talent. In addition to acquiring Hamilton in a trade through the Rule 5 draft, he's also gotten Brandon Phillips, Jeff Keppinger and Jared Burton for virtually free. While Hamilton is a wonderful story, he has to overcome a severe platoon split (he hit just .208 with one homer in 72 at-bats against lefties) and continuing health problems. Krivsky traded Hamilton to Texas for two starting pitchers, and his stats should benefit from another hitter's park. He'll start in center field, but he could be platooned.
The 1999 No. 1 overall pick by Tampa Bay is getting a fresh start with the Reds after being taken in the Rule 5 draft. After serving a two year suspension for violating the league's drug policy, Hamilton's 2006 season was derailed by a knee injury. He could win a spot as a reserve outfielder with a strong spring.
Hamilton missed all of 2004 due to a suspension after violating MLB's drug policy, a suspension that was extended in January 2005 to include the 2005 season. Since he hasn't played competitively since mid-2002 also due to injuries, he'll likely need a full year at either Double-A or Triple-A to get back into the swing of things.
Hamilton has played less than 70 games in the last three season -- not each, but combined -- due to back and other injuries in 2001-02, and finally a major bout with depression that cost him all of last season. He can still hit (he had a decent spring in 2003 before things started unraveling), but he really needs to show it on the field very soon. If he's OK, he'll start at Triple-A in 2004, and the Rays will bring him to the bigs as soon as he gives them the slightest excuse to do so. However, he was suspended by MLB in February 2004, possibly for repeated failed drug tests; he won't have any roto value until the suspension is lifted, whenever that is.
He's played less than 70 games over the last two years due to a variety of injuries, but when he's healthy, he can hit. Batted .303 with 14 homers in only 56 games at Single-A Bakersfield before undergoing rotator cuff surgery in July. Starts 2003 at either Double-A or Triple-A, and if he keeps hitting and stays healthy, he's on a fast track to the majors.