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Monday, June 18, 2018

Nolan Ryan: Josh Hamilton is swinging at bad pitches, giving away at-bats

Josh Hamilton was the hottest hitter in baseball the first two months of the season. The former AL MVP clubbed 21 home runs in April and May, posting a 1.182 and 1.187 OPS in both months, respectively. The highlight of his hot streak was an incredible four home run game in Baltimore. But then Hamilton hit .222 in June with four home runs and is only batting .172 with three home runs in July. He’s been bothered by a lower back injury and everyone can see he’s struggling. Team president Nolan Ryan even discussed the struggles during an interview with Galloway and Company on KESN-FM radio.

“I think we’re all seeing the same thing,” Ryan said, per The Dallas Morning News. “You’re right that some of his at bats aren’t very impressive from the standpoint that he doesn’t work deep into the count, he’s swinging at a lot of bad pitches, he just doesn’t seem to be locked in at all.

“So what you’re hoping is that his approach will change and he’ll start giving quality at bats because there’s a lot of those at bats that he just gives away. One of the things I’ve always commented on is I can’t ever say that I ever saw Henry [Hank] Aaron give an at bat away. I think as a hitter, you have to go up there and you have to focus on the guy that you’re facing and what he’s been doing as far as the game’s concerned and try to engage what your attempt to do as far as getting a hit off him.”

That response quickly went from a breakdown of Hamilton’s struggles to a comparison with Hank Aaron that seems to be a put down for the Rangers outfielder. Hamilton went from being the top hitter in baseball to having an average under .300 and OPS under .900. These types of struggles may make it easier for the Rangers to say goodbye if Hamilton leaves in free agency. Maybe this is Texas’ way of preparing for that reality.

H/T Hardball Talk

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