Texas Rangers president Nolan Ryan told ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM that he thinks former MVP Josh Hamilton has “a lot of ... at-bats that he just gives away”. Hamilton has struggled since June 1 for a variety of reasons.
Josh Hamilton This Season
Part of it might be his approach catching up to him -- he swings at a higher percentage of pitches out of the strike zone than any other hitter in the majors.
Since the start of June, he’s swinging just as often and chasing fewer pitches out of the strike zone, but now when he swings, he misses. His walk rate is up a tick but his strikeout rate has gone up more than 50 percent.
PERFORMANCE vs LEFTIES
Josh Hamilton vs LHP This Season
MLB Ranks Among LHB
A lot of it has to do with his performance against lefties. He crushed left-handed pitching in April and May and some of that may have been good fortune.
Inside Edge determines whether every ball in play is "well-hit" or not. In the first two months of the season, against lefties, Hamilton had a very high batting average on balls in play despite not hitting a lot of balls well.
Hamilton is swinging less often at the first pitch but he’s putting a lower percentage in play. That’s because he’s fouling off nearly 40 percent of the first pitches he swings at since the start of June (up from 27 percent in April and May).
He’s hitting just .261 on the first pitch since June after hitting .488 on the first pitch during the first two months.
The heat map on the right shows the location of his foul balls on the first pitch in June and July. He’s fouling off a lot pitches in the strike zone when he can pick his pitch.
He’s seeing more offspeed pitches since June 1 (45.0 percent in April/May, 51.9 since June). For the season, his miss percentage against hard stuff is 23.1 and it’s more than twice as high (47.4) against offspeed pitches.
Lastly, he hasn’t been nearly as successful pulling the ball since the start of June.
You can see the distribution of his hits at the top of this blog post -- April and May on the left and June and July on the right.
He hit .435 with 12 HR to right and right-center in April and May, but he’s hitting just .219 with 2 HR to the same area of the field since the start of June.