Originally Posted by Scrap Irony
I'd argue that the Fangraphs article was remarkably poor, in that the author saw a total of maybe 100 swings, all but three or four in batting practice. He then made his entire assumption on that and one "conversation" with a scout who also doubted Hamilton's swing/ power.
(Others don't. Witness this AL scout, when asked about Hamilton's hit tool:
There's no analysis done at all. (And on Fangraphs, that's inexcusable.)
Were he to have done actual analysis, he may have noted that many players similar to minor league Hamilton have enjoyed a bunch of success at the major league level despite beginning their careers with no power/ slight frames.
Players like Rafael Furcal, Brett Butler, Tony Fernandez, Phil Rizzuto, Richie Ashburn, Harry Hooper all showed little power (Iso slg of .114 or below, all of them) in the minor leagues or early in their major league career. Yet, all became All-Star level producers despite that lack of power. The 1970s alone are littered with no-power, high-obp, high-SB leadoff guys. Heck, Lou Boudreau has just as much-- if not more-- in common with Hamilton than the erstwhile Dee Gordon.
(I also question his acumen on Hamilton's defense, as he claims the kid has a wet noodle for an arm; Hamilton threw 92 mph from the mound as a HS player
I want to address a few things here.
First, is that Mike knows what he is talking about. He really does. He will also be the first person to tell you that you need to see someone more than once or twice. He has said that in the past and even wrote an article about it once upon a time. Guys can truly look like a different player, even from a tools standpoint in a week or twos time difference.
Secondly, Mike wasn't brought on to Fangraphs for statistical analysis, even if that is what Fangraphs is generally based on. He was brought on for his scouting prowess. And his scouting prowess is pretty good.
Third, I believe that Mike simply didn't see enough of Hamilton to see both the good and the bad. What he saw was a lot of the 'raw' side of Hamilton and was unable to get a good read on the 'wow' side of Hamilton. I was in Pensacola for a 5 game series last week. Hamilton hit a few balls hard, and he even had two triples, but his triples both are probably caught in the Majors (both were fly balls that landed in the grass of non gaps, but the guys were playing so far in that they couldn't get to them despite them not even making the track). His hard hit balls were actually singles that he simply hit right toward the outfielders and even he wasn't fast enough to turn them into doubles. He has, in the past when I have seen him, laced baseballs into the gaps for triples, showing off a little bit of gap power.
Fourth, with the arm, Mike is both right and wrong. If I can ever figure out what is going on with my video editing program, I will be able to show actual response with video to this point. Hamilton simply doesn't "let it go" all that often. More often than not he still drops his arm down and slings it to first, which is where a lot of his errors are coming from still. When he does that, he has a pretty weak arm. But when he throws it right and he has a long throw and really lets it go, he can get something on it. I don't see that as an arm that once threw 92 MPH, but it isn't a below average arm when he lets it go either. It is a solid arm that can make the throw from deep in the hole. You don't see him do that often though, so it is no surprise that Mike didn't see it in a two game sample.