I play in multiple fantasy baseball leagues and have never owned Josh Hamilton. There’s a strong chance I never will. The power numbers should make the case for owning Hamilton a slam dunk with over 25 hr and 90 RBI 4 out of the last 5 years. 2010 saw Hamilton win a batting title to the tune of a .359 avg. and an AL MVP Award. His offensive wins above replacement player for 2010 was 7.3. That total dropped down to 3.3 in 2011. In 2012 Hamilton hit 43 ding-dongs with 128 RBI and .285 avg. with a 4.4 offensive wins above replacement player. The first half of 2012 was ridiculous with 27 ding-dongs and 75 RBI.
I still won’t draft Josh Hamilton in any of my fantasy baseball drafts this year. Hamilton’s previous drug use is at the center of my logic. Fear of Hamilton relapsing isn’t part of my thought process. The fact of the matter is Hamilton has missed too many games for my liking. Here’s his career breakdown of games played each season along with the malady of injuries suffered.
2007 90 games 2 DL stints Gastroenteritis/sprained right wrist.
2008 156 games knee inflammation/hand contusion/tooth abscess/foot contusion
2009 89 games 2 DL stints strained rib muscle/sports hernia
2010 133 games knee/hamstring/fractured ribs
2011 121 games DL fractured right humerus/offseason sports hernia surgery
2012 148 games groin/back stiffness/ocular keratitis
In my opinion Hamilton will turn 32 in May, but is what I describe as an old 32. There’s a lot of unknown wear and tear on his body. How much of these injuries is a result of the previous drug usage we will never know. I wouldn’t bank on Hamilton making it thru the season without missing some time. Playing him some at DH would be a way to help with the wear and tear, but Hamilton is only a career .245 hitter in 212 AB (240 PA) as a DH. His career numbers at Angel Stadium are a .260 avg and 5 ding-dongs with 19 RBI in 150 AB (166 PA). The dramatic weight loss this winter is attributed to eating better and cutting down his caffeine intake. At the end of the 2012 campaign, the caffeine problem led to ocular keratitis which is a condition that dries the cornea from too much caffeine consumption.
Hamilton is certainly one of the most physically gifted players in the game today. With his inability to stay healthy possibly coming to the forefront with age, I recommend fantasy owners to stay away from Josh Hamilton. There are too many good hitters out there to spend an early pick or big auction money on a player with such a significant injury history. My guess is there’s a segment of Rangers management and the Rangers fan base that is glad Hamilton is on someone else’s roster. Once the injuries start you’ll be happy Hamilton is on someone else’s roster too.