Josh Hamilton and His April Swoon
By a show of hands, who was excited to see the Angels scoop up Josh Hamilton in December? It is safe to presume that most fans were genuinely happy about the Angels offseason acquisition of the left handed slugger. Despite his climbing whiff rates, and crazy splits, it was hard to ignore just how formidable the heart of the Halos order became when he laid pen to paper on a five-year $125MM contract.
May 5, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels right fielder Josh Hamilton (32) before hitting in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Fast forward passed the honeymoon phase to May 4th, and Angels fans couldn’t be happier about seeing the newly signed Hamilton riding the pain for his first “mental day” of the season. His first month with the team was a forgettable one, highlighted by a .204/.252/.296 slash line and 32 strikeouts. His slot in the lineup between Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo with Mike Trout setting the table had turned into black hole of offensive suckage. His first series back in Texas during the opening week was an endless of string of booes and low and away sliders. The dream of having the best lineup in baseball was morphing into a nightmare of flailing swings and under production.
But is Hamilton’s April the worst one in franchise history? It’s easily the most expensive month of non-hitting, but it turns out that actually isn’t the worst April. So, at least Hamilton has that going for him. But who does have the worst April? Using the baseline of Josh’s slash line, and having played at least 20 games during the month, here is the list of crap-tastic April performances….
And the winner is....Ken Berry, who went on to post a .221/.269/.309 slash line in 1971, to go along with a whopping 18 walks. A far cry from the .276/.344/.356 slash line he posted in 1970.
Other notable names in there are Gary Disarcina, who followed up his outlier 1995 season with more typical Disarcina-like season. Vernon Wells and his unforgettable first season in Anaheim also cracked the list, along with Sandy Alomar Sr.
Of course, only one of those hitters was even in the ballpark concerning salary. Hamilton is making far too much money to be performing this poorly, and even though I don't agree with the booing that he received recently in his home park, he can expect it to get louder if his lack of production continues. He's not the first home town star to get booed in Anaheim, and the fans don't have a football team to fall back in if this season goes south.