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Thread: Dunn says Hamilton is "the best baseball player I ever saw."

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    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Dunn says Hamilton is "the best baseball player I ever saw."

    Hamilton Shines in Spring: Reds Outfielder Playing Well As He Tries to Restart Career
    Mar 10, 05:38 PM

    By Scott Priestle, The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

    Mar. 10--SARASOTA, Fla. -- The first pitch from Detroit Tigers reliever Fernando Rodney was a change-up, and Josh Hamilton swung too soon. Strike one. One pitch later, Rodney threw a fastball, and Hamilton waved at it too late. Strike two.

    For a moment, Hamilton looked like a player who had been away from the game for most of the previous 4½ years.

    "Honestly, I felt like I was overmatched," he said. "Then I had to reassure myself: 'Hey, (Adam) Dunn just hit the ball off him and made it look easy. I can do that, too.' It just made me bear down and concentrate more and re-evaluate everything in my head."

    After taking a pitch for ball two, Hamilton looked for another change-up, got one and lined it into the gap in right center for a triple.

    In eight games for the Cincinnati Reds this spring, Hamilton is 11 for 23 with four extra-base hits, four walks and only three strikeouts. Though he played only 15 games the previous four seasons, he has shown few signs of rust at the plate or in the field.

    "I really expected him to be overanxious," manager Jerry Narron said. "He's taken pitches extremely well. He's used the entire field. He's been very impressive."

    After the Reds selected Hamilton in the Rule 5 draft in December, Narron and his brother Johnny -- who have known Hamilton for years -- worked with him a few times per week, hoping to hone the skills that were long dormant.

    The Reds were intrigued by Hamilton's talent: he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft, and two years later Baseball America named him the top prospect in the minor leagues. But he was suspended for the 2003 to 2005 seasons because of a drug problem, and injuries bothered him other years. The Reds must keep him on the big-league roster all season or offer him back to Tampa Bay for $25,000, so there is some urgency to get Hamilton ready to at least fill a role on the bench.

    Few could have expected him to get back to speed so quickly -- including Hamilton, who said he was "a little jumpy" at the plate during his first days facing live pitching. He has spent considerable time in the batting cage this spring with the Narrons and hitting coach Brook Jacoby.

    "They just tell me to practice some things in the cage, then during the game get out there and swing the bat and play like I played in high school," he said, "just have fun."
    It is rarely that easy. Players at all levels struggle to carry lessons from the cage to the field, where the pitches are tougher and the adrenaline pumps harder. Some never figure it out.

    "He's not your average guy, talentwise," general manager Wayne Krivsky said with a smile.

    Jerry Narron said Hamilton's skills are "as good as anybody in the game." Dunn has called him "the best baseball player I ever saw."

    Hamilton has played well in right and center field. An inning before he hit the triple off Rodney on Thursday, he made a diving catch in shallow right field.

    The toughest adjustment, he said, has been running the bases.

    "Knowing the count, knowing the situation, knowing how many outs there are, knowing to freeze on a line drive, knowing when to tag up -- there's so much going on, so much involved in base running," he said. "Getting my leads again, seeing pitchers' pick-off moves, just getting that reaction back... "

    With that in mind, Narron has played Hamilton more than anyone else this spring, to the point that Hamilton has been bothered by shin splints, an affliction most often seen in weekend warriors. Aside from the shin splints and the two ugly swings against Rodney, though, Hamilton has aced his baseball refresher course.

    "I usually pick things up quick," he said. "I can't say I'm surprised. I worked hard in the offseason."

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  3. #2
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Dunn says Hamilton is "the best baseball player I ever saw."

    Jumping the gun a little bit there Dunn arent we? I mean we are all impressed with what Josh has been able to do.... but Dunn just said that Hamilton is better than Albert Pujols, Ken Griffey Jr, Ryan Howard etc.

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Dunn says Hamilton is "the best baseball player I ever saw."

    Forget if he's right. Dunn is being humbled. That is good. He's refocusing on maximizing his own talent. If Hamilton does nothing more than focus Adam Dunn, it is 50 grand and a roster spot well spent.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    Member Tom Servo's Avatar
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    Re: Dunn says Hamilton is "the best baseball player I ever saw."

    This reminds me of another quote I read in Jayson Stark's column about Hamilton by Jeff Conine.

    "I know if I took three years off," Conine says, "I wouldn't be able to make contact with the ball, let alone hit balls 500 feet."

    It may just be spring training right now, but it's still pretty unbelivable that things have gone this well so far.
    "Since I've been with the Reds in 1989, we've never had a farm system this loaded," Bowden said. "If we were the New York Yankees and had unlimited dollars, we could have traded for Colon, (Jeff) Weaver, Rolen, (Cliff) Floyd, (Kenny) Rogers and Finley and gotten them all -- and still held onto our top five prospects. That's an amazing statement."

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    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Dunn says Hamilton is "the best baseball player I ever saw."

    The lovefest has reached astronomical levels..

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    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: Dunn says Hamilton is "the best baseball player I ever saw."

    Hamilton is 11 for 23 with four extra-base hits, four walks and only three strikeouts.
    Considering this is all Adam Dunn has seen from the guy... his assessment at this point is probably right (being technical). Adam has seen Pujols, Bonds, etc... and none of those guys have those kind of numbers when Adam Dunn has seen them. Right or wrong?

    A little over the top? Definitely, but the guy has those numbers after being out of the game (drugged and drunk) for 3 years. Adam knows that part too... as we all do. That part of it probably impresses Dunn as well. Dunn's comment might be relative to Hamilton being one of the most "natural" ballplayers he has ever seen.
    Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.

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    Member membengal's Avatar
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    Re: Dunn says Hamilton is "the best baseball player I ever saw."

    Quote Originally Posted by edabbs44 View Post
    The lovefest has reached astronomical levels..
    Sounds like someone's grumpy that Deno is batting .179 while accumulating the most plate appearances of any player so far this spring...

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    Curveballer Candy Cummings's Avatar
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    Re: Dunn says Hamilton is "the best baseball player I ever saw."

    Adam Dunn has Sparky Anderson disease. Long way to go. Still, if Hamilton can get back what he once had, he helps us immensely.
    **I'm just throwing the world curve balls.**

    Click here for FalconBlog

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    Member Cedric's Avatar
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    Re: Dunn says Hamilton is "the best baseball player I ever saw."

    He's likely saying he's got the best skill set of any player he has ever seen. That's not really that shocking considering the guy was considered a once in a generation ballplayer. Those raw skills are obviously still apparent.
    This is the time. The real Reds organization is back.

  11. #10
    Haunted by walks
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    Re: Dunn says Hamilton is "the best baseball player I ever saw."

    Dunn used to say similar things about Austin Kearns.

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    Member smith288's Avatar
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    Re: Dunn says Hamilton is "the best baseball player I ever saw."

    Quote Originally Posted by membengal View Post
    Sounds like someone's grumpy that Deno is batting .179 while accumulating the most plate appearances of any player so far this spring...
    Oh snap!

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    Re: Dunn says Hamilton is "the best baseball player I ever saw."

    Is it too soon to say Hamilton is a "Hall of Famer" just waiting for his induction?

    Whoa nelly !

    Let's not build a statue in front of GAB just yet...
    There and Back Again...

  14. #13
    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Dunn says Hamilton is "the best baseball player I ever saw."

    Quote Originally Posted by membengal View Post
    Sounds like someone's grumpy that Deno is batting .179 while accumulating the most plate appearances of any player so far this spring...
    ...or someone is allowed to have an opinion on a subject without having an agenda
    Go Gators!

  15. #14
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Dunn says Hamilton is "the best baseball player I ever saw."

    Quote Originally Posted by membengal View Post
    Sounds like someone's grumpy that Deno is batting .179 while accumulating the most plate appearances of any player so far this spring...
    Not at all. We all know that ST stats are worth a lot less than they seem. And I'll take Deno's performance of .352/.407/.463 in Sept and Oct of last year in a playoff race over spring training any day.

    It's a foregone conclusion that Deno's headed to Louisville. I don't think it would matter if he was hitting .500 this spring. Griffey, Dunn, Freel, Conine were locked in. With Narron's history with Hamilton, it would be extra tough for him to get a fair shake this spring anyway.

    The point is that he shouldn't have even been in this position this spring. He should have had a roster spot locked up. Hopefully he or Freel will get dealt to maximize their values. They don't need both of them.

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    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Re: Dunn says Hamilton is "the best baseball player I ever saw."

    Quote Originally Posted by Cedric View Post
    He's likely saying he's got the best skill set of any player he has ever seen. That's not really that shocking considering the guy was considered a once in a generation ballplayer. Those raw skills are obviously still apparent.
    Agreed. That's how Dunn's quote came across to me too.


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