Hamilton and Pence are Becoming Grapefruit League Legends

March 13, 2007 at 9:03 pm 4 comments

If you haven’t heard about Josh Hamilton yet here is a refresher course: He was the first player taken overall in the 1999 draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He was their minor league player of the year the next year and was on the road to the majors. Injuries and drugs side-tracked him and he was out of the game from 2003-2006. Hamilton was left unprotected by the Rays in the Rule 5 draft this past winter and the Chicago Cubs took Hamilton and sent him to the Reds. He has to make the Reds 25 man opening day roster and remain on the major league team all year or he will be returned to the Rays for $20,000. Hamilton is clean and has a new lease on life now and is looking to make the best out of every opportunity he gets.

Hamilton is currently (entering play 3-14-07) making a mockery of pitchers with his .571 average (16-28), .821 SLUG percentage, and 5:3 BB:K ratio. He has also knocked in 6 and scored 5 while playing a good CF and RF. With the injury to Ken Griffey Jr. and the outfield open (Adam Dunn has LF locked down but should be at 1B which is occupied by Scott Hatteberg) Hamilton has a shot to get good playing time in CF and RF with his competition being utilityman Ryan Freel and OF Chris Denorfia. Hamilton makes the most out of every oppurtunity and I expect him to take advantage of this one.

Houston Astros top prospect Hunter Pence is a little less unknown outside of fanatic circles. Pence has an unorthodox stance and swing but it has produced at every level (2006 AA: .283-28-95-17-97 with 31 doubles and 8 triples, 2006 Winterball .339-3-11-6-10). Pence is destroying Grapefruit League pitching. He is hitting .652 (16-24) with 2 Homers, 11 RBI, 12 Runs, 1 SB, and 4:3 BB:K ratio. Not to mention his 1.167 SlUG percentage. The Astros have found themselves in a nice quandry. With an outfield of Lee in left, Burke in CF, and Scott/Lane platoon in RF they really don’t have any room for Pence. But that’s ok. Pence still hasn’t hit above AA ball and some time in AAA won’t hurt. Once future Hall-of-Famer Craig Biggio collects hit number 3000 the Astros can move Burke back to 2B and pencil Pence in at CF and have the lineup they really want. If I were the Astros I would trade Jason Lane and play Pence in right against lefties and in CF when Burke plays second or needs a day off. Honestly, who cares if he hasn’t played in AAA yet, the kid can flat out hit and he wants to prove it. If I were Phil Garner I would let him prove it to me and look like a genius in the process.


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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. BaseballWhammy  |  March 14, 2007 at 7:47 am

    Good call on Jason Lane. He was hyped up as the end all be all RF. He didn’t cut it last season as a fulltime player. Sometimes a change of scenery, is good for those younger players. They’re not all going to be Miguel Cabaras or Ryan Howards, or Jason Bays.

    Take Corey Patterson for instance. He was rushed to the majors as CF of the future for the Cubs and their leadoff hitter. Anyway since moving to Baltimore and batting lower in the lineup, he’s bringing his career back.

    Good Article.

  • 2. Jonathan  |  March 14, 2007 at 7:54 am

    Thanks. Good point on the Corey Patterson situation. Jason Lane only has power as a tool right now it seems. He was supposed to be a potential 5-Tool player. He needs a move badly, the Astros need to move him badly as well.

  • 3. Johnluke Chaparro  |  March 30, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    Yes I Definelty Agree on the Lane point. Jason LAne was expected to produce great numbers after having a good stretch between 2004-2005. I can’t really remember. But the way Pence it playing right now,(652 (16-24) with 2 Homers, 11 RBI, 12 Runs, 1 SB, and 4:3 BB:K ratio) they might as well send Lane to another team. Will the Rays take him.

    And btw You guys sent us damaged goods in the Kazmir-Zambrano trade. Yeh well, we want him back. SO can you have him in a Mets uni by April??

    God Bless
    -Johnluke Chaparro

  • 4. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  March 30, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    No way are we sending Kazmir back! Thanks for the comment, keep em coming!


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