There is no denying how bad Josh Hamilton has been this season. I’m willing to bet that Hamilton wants to forget this season as much as we, the fans, do. But he can’t, we can’t. Josh’s performance is burned into our memory glands like a farmer’s brand on the backside of a cow. It’s going nowhere.
Last month, I recapped Josh’s terrible April and compared it to some of the Angels worst April performances. Hamilton’s was the eighth worst for an Angel. Ever.
A month and a half later, Things haven’t gotten any better. Josh has had moments and stretches of two or three games where he starts to resemble the Josh Hamilton that used to terrorize the AL West. That, of course, was followed closely behind by another agonizing streak of non-production. He’s bounced around in the batting order. Going from fourth to fifth to second and most recently, being slid all the way down in to the seven hole. The mighty, have most certainly fallen.
And since last month, that list of players has grown. Including Josh, there are 23 other players in Angels history (That have appeared in at least 60 games in the first half of the season) with seasons similar too, or worse than, Hamilton’s 2013. Players like Dick Schofield and Hubie Brooks. Jim Fregosi makes an appearance. Who here remembers the former first round pick Lee Stevens? Yup. He’s on the list too. But only one player has a nearly identical slash line to the one that Hamilton is currently sporting. Devon White.
At least Devo was as gifted a center fielder defensively as the organization has ever seen. Josh makes good plays, but he has also made some incredibly boneheaded mistakes too.
With the news yesterday that Josh had received a cortisone shot in his wrist that he aggravated during an intense hitting drill (source), I started to think. And then I got a headache. So I stopped thinking. But then the headache went away, and, here we are.
Chris Davis who – as if you hadn’t noticed – is destroying Major League pitching this season, used to partake in incredibly taxing hitting drills prior to games. Regularly taking more than 200 swings before a contest. Hitting, by the way, can be very tiring, and drills like that can sap a persons energy. Last season, Davis tried something new. He started swinging less before games, and he started using a tee. He went from 200 or more swings before a game to taking only 60 hacks. And, well, the results speak for themselves.
I’m not going to pretend to know what kind of hitting drills Hamilton does before every game, but it makes sense that he would be trying to break out of this slump by simply swinging more before a game. Which, as shown above, can be counter-productive. He could be swinging so much before a game, that he simply doesn’t have enough strength left for during the game. Which probably wasn’t an issue when he was shotgunning energy drinks. But without the unnatural boost from all of that caffeine, Josh’s stamina simply isn’t what he thinks it is.
I’m not the Angels hitting coach, Jim Eppard, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. So how about this, Josh; swing less. A lot less. Save your energy, because maybe, just maybe, that could be the issue behind his mind-numbing struggles this season.