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Grading Josh Hamilton's 1st Week with the Los Angeles Angels

Kevin BelhumeurContributor IIOctober 8, 2016

Grading Josh Hamilton's 1st Week with the Los Angeles Angels

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    With the first week of the baseball season in the books, Josh Hamilton's much-anticipated Los Angeles Angels debut has come and gone.

    With two of the first five games of the season coming against the Texas Rangers, his performance was sure to garner much attention after leaving the team in the offseason and ruffling some feathers on the way out.

    Hamilton told Dallas' CBS 11: "They're supportive, but they also got a little spoiled at the same time, pretty quickly. There are true baseball fans in Texas, but it's not a true baseball town."

    The following slideshow will grade Josh Hamilton's first-week performance on a game-by-game basis.

Game 1 at Cincinnati, April 1

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    Opposing Pitcher: Johnny Cueto

    Hamilton's Stats: 0-for-4, 2 BB, 1 R

    Analysis: Josh Hamilton had a subpar debut for the Halos. He went 0-for-4 with two walks in six plate appearances.

    In his first two at-bats, Hamilton's aggressiveness at the plate led to a pair of quick outs. To his credit, Hamilton appeared to adjust in his third at-bat against Reds starter Johnny Cueto.

    He replaced his swing-happy approach in favor of a more passive one, working the count until he ultimately drew a walk. In his next at-bat, Hamilton faced reliever Aroldis Chapman, who was able to use his overpowering fastball to produce a strikeout. 

    Hamilton's best at-bat of the day came in the 13th inning against J.J. Hoover. He drew a one-out walk and eventually came around to score the go-ahead run. Although the left-handed slugger did not hit the ball sharply that day, his discipline at the plate ended up paying dividends for the Angels in extra innings.

    On the defensive side of the ball, Hamilton made a nice sliding catch to rob Ryan Hanigan of a base hit in the seventh inning.

    Grade: C

Game 2 at Cincinnati, April 3

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    Opposing Pitcher: Mat Latos

    Hamilton's Stats: 0-for-4

    Analysis: Mat Latos struck out Josh Hamilton in his first two at-bats of the day by throwing a steady diet of sliders and four-seam fastballs to the left-hander.

    In his third and final at-bat against Latos, Hamilton flied out to left field on a well-placed 91 mph fastball.

    Hamilton grounded out to second base against Jonathan Broxton in the eighth inning to complete back-to-back 0-for-4 games. 

    The Angels lost the game 5-4 and fell to 1-1 on the season behind a subpar performance from their clean-up hitter.

    Grade: F

Game 3 at Cincinnati, April 4

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    Opposing Pitcher: Bronson Arroyo

    Hamilton's Stats: 1-for-4, 2 RBI

    Analysis: Hamilton's slow start to the season continued with a first-inning strikeout in the series finale against Cincinnati.

    Things changed in the third inning, however, when Hamilton finally was able to put good wood on the ball, driving it to center field. Erick Aybar and Albert Pujols scored on the play to tie the game at 2-2

    In the fifth inning, Hamilton struck out swinging on a 77 mph Bronson Arroyo changeup. After fouling off a couple of sliders in the seventh inning, Hamilton was hit by a pitch for the first time this season.

    With the Angels trailing by one run in the top of the ninth, Hamilton came to the plate with Mike Trout on second base. Aroldis Chapman overpowered the left-handed slugger for the second time in the series with a 98 mph four-seam fastball, resulting in Hamilton's third strikeout of the afternoon.

    Hamilton was batting a measly .083 after the first three games of the season.

    On the defensive side of the ball, Hamilton tried to throw out a tagging-up Todd Frazier in the fourth inning to no avail. His throw from right field sailed up the third base line, making it impossible for catcher Hank Conger to apply a tag on the baserunner at home. Hamilton is still relatively new to right field and will surely have his hiccups while adjusting to the new position.

    Grade: B

Game 4 at Texas, April 5

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    Opposing Pitcher: Derek Holland

    Hamilton's Stats: 0-for-4

    Analysis: As expected, Hamilton was greeted with a crescendo of boos upon returning to Texas for the first time since leaving the Rangers in the offseason.

    In his first at-bat, Hamilton struck out on four pitches to the crowd's delight. He struck out on three pitches in his next at-bat, which again drew a roar of approval from the crowd.

    In the sixth inning, Hamilton lined out to right fielder Nelson Cruz on an 82 mph slider from Derek Holland.

    Hamilton's final at-bat of the game came with his team down by one in the ninth inning. He faced Texas closer Joe Nathan and swung at the first pitch, hitting a 79 mph curveball to center fielder Craig Gentry.

    With Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols struggling at the plate in the first week of the season, the Angels lost their third straight game and fell to 1-3 on the season.

    After the first four games, Hamilton was batting a miserable .062 and averaging two strikeouts per game.

    On the defensive side of the ball, Hamilton tried to throw out Gentry at home to preserve a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the eighth inning. The throw from right field beat Gentry to the plate, but the ball short-hopped catcher Chris Iannetta and bounced away, allowing the Rangers to take a 3-2 lead.

    Grade: D

Game 5 at Texas, April 6

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    Opposing Pitcher: Matt Harrison

    Hamilton's Stats: 0-for-4, 1 BB, 1 R

    Analysis: The top of the Angel lineup showed up for the first time this season against the Texas Rangers and Matt Harrison.

    The problem for Hamilton, however, is that much of the hitting came from the man hitting in front of him in the lineup, Albert Pujols.

    After reaching base on balls in the first inning, Hamilton struck out swinging in the fourth inning on an 80 mph curveball by Harrison. In his final two at-bats of the day, Hamilton routinely flied out to left fielder David Murphy.

    All in all, Saturday's game was another unremarkable outing by Hamilton who appeared to be slightly perturbed by the unrelenting boos he received from Rangers fans.

    When asked if he would like to take back his comments about Dallas being a football town, Hamilton told reporters after the game that he stands by what he said in his controversial offseason interview.  

    Grade: D

Cumulative Stats and Week 1 Grade

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    Hamilton's Cumulative Stats: .050 BA, 2 RBI, 2 R 

    Analysis: The Angels' $125 million man is off to a slow start.

    Hamilton has only one hit in 20 at-bats. His approach at the plate has at times been impatient and overaggressive, causing him to strike out in 10 of his 20 plate appearances, many times flailing at pitches outside of the zone.

    Similar to what Pujols did last year in April, Hamilton may find himself pressing in order to live up to his mega contract.

    In Texas, Hamilton appeared to let the boos get to him, oftentimes offering a wry smile after swinging and missing.

    Although his performance through five games has been dismal, Hamilton should settle down and begin to produce shortly.

    Overall Grade: D

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