No. 30: Red Sox second base prospect David Hamilton
David Hamilton was one of the players brought over in the Hunter Renfroe deal. And year one went pretty well for the new Sox prospect.
Things started off on the highest of high notes. Hamilton went 4-for-5 with a triple, two home runs, seven RBI, three runs scored, and one steal. This got fans excited. However, the 24-year-old slowed down considerably for a while.
In fact, his average dipped all the way down to .206 heading into June 28. Hamilton cleaned it up and had a decent line going into September. The final few weeks of the season saw him go nuclear; he slashed .429/.508/.643 over that time.
Overall, the left-handed hitter slashed .251/.338/.402 in 119 games in Double-A on the season. He hit 16 doubles, nine triples, and 12 home runs. Meanwhile, Hamilton drove in 42 runs and scored 81 more. His 56 walks showed an ability to get on base, which is great to see from a guy with his speed.
Speaking of that speed, Hamilton stole 70 bases in 78 attempts. That was more-than-enough for a Portland Sea Dogs’ record. It also makes all those other numbers look better, as they’re all secondary to his base running.
Hamilton doesn’t have an elite bat, but there’s something there. He needs to work on his consistency. Going hot for a month, then cold for the next isn’t a recipe for success. However, he does have the ability to hit .250 and get on base a solid amount. That’s all he needs to do.
If he can throw in some extra-base hits and home runs, that’s great. If not, he has other ways of getting into scoring position.
Defensively, Hamilton’s solid at second base and shortstop. The range is insane thanks to his top-tier speed. That helps him get to balls that very few players could get to. A good glove and a decent enough arm make him a talented middle infielder. He plays second base better in my opinion.
The speed is the very obvious attraction here. This is why the not-great power means absolutely nothing. As long as Hamilton can get on base, he’s an absolute problem. The Red Sox could have something special if they can work on his consistency and get him on base at even just a .333 clip.
70 steals this season in only 78 attempts should tell you how fast he is. But he’s also a great combination of aggressive and smart on the base paths. Hamilton wasn’t running into extra outs, and legged out plenty of bunts, weak hits, and extra-base hits that shouldn’t have been for extra bases.
On multiple occasions, Hamilton stole a base despite the opposing team pitching out. There was literally no way to stop him.
Hamilton has some holes in his game, but he could get 50 stolen bases in a season in his sleep. Speed never slumps, and speed translates to higher levels. Work on some of his weaknesses and see where that gets him. That speed is worth taking a chance on him.