How do we make sense of Josh Hamilton?
First question. Is this sustainable? Hamilton is hitting .266/.365/.609 with six homers, 10 walks, and 16 strikeouts in 64 at-bats. He's 5-for-22 with 3 walks and 9 strikeouts in 22 at-bats against lefties, 12-for-42 (.286) with all six homers, 7 walks, and 7 strikeouts in 42 at-bats against righthanders. Now, the sample sizes here are tiny, and there's no way he is going to sustain a 60-homer pace through the whole season. But looking at the splits, the thing that stands out is the platoon difference in his BB/K/AB ratio. As long as the Reds limit his exposure to lefthanded pitching, I think he should be able to remain effective. My guess is that he'll settle into the .240-.250 range with good power as the season progresses.
Considering that he is coming to the majors with only 23 games of experience above A-ball and several years of rust on his resume, this is remarkable performance.
In the book this year I was pretty skeptical about how Hamilton would do, worrying that it might not be the best thing for the player considering his personal issues, to force him into the majors as a Rule 5 guy. But by all accounts the Reds are trying to protect him as best they can, limiting press access, etc. It's a remarkable story, like something out of a movie, and I have no idea how the story ends.
I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject. Let's do a Community Projection for Hamilton. Project the following: