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Josh Hamilton, the original Bryce Harper

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  • Josh Hamilton, the original Bryce Harper

    With all the hype that Bryce Harper is getting lets not forget how hyped Josh Hamilton was coming out of high school. Hamilton had insane baseball tools coming out high school. He could hit a baseball a county mile and he also hit 95 mph as a pitcher. Several scouts likened Hamilton tools to Mickey Mantle. Hamilotn was considered a mid-to-late first round pick strictly as a pitcher. Here is a comparison on Hamilton and Harper from 2011. A question was sent to Baseball America as who was the better prospect, Hamilton in 1999 or Harper in 2010. Here is the response.

    Which No. 1 overall prospect was the better prospect in their draft year, Josh Hamilton in 1999 or Bryce Harper in 2010?

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Let's start by heading to the Baseball America Draft archives and taking a look at our draft-year scouting reports on Hamilton and Harper, both of whom we rated as the top prospect in their draft class:

    Hamilton:

    Scouts have flocked to North Carolina's Triangle (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill) this spring, most notably a large delegation from the Devil Rays organization to see OF/LHP Josh Hamilton, who emerged in March as the probable No. 1 pick. Hamilton is a legitimate two-way talent who grades out highest as a hitting prospect. He also got a strong look as a pitcher because he was clocked up to 95 mph. Were it not for his prowess as an everyday player, Hamilton would have been looked at seriously as a late first-round pick as a pitcher. He's a five-tool talent who does everything easily, with fluid actions and grace. He has outstanding bat speed and extension on his swing. He projects top-of-the-scale power. His arm strength also is first rate. He does not have the speed for center field and should settle in as a prototype right fielder. Hamilton has made subtle adjustments to his game this spring. He's gotten stronger and understands how to play the game. He's tweaked his swing to eliminate a slight hitch. If anything, he needs to address pulling off pitches with the bat and use his legs more in his swing—all things that are correctable.

    Harper:

    After Harper skipped out on his final two years of high school to enroll in a wood-bat junior college league, even his biggest supporters probably would have underestimated how he would perform this season. Over his 180 regular-season at-bats, the 17-year-old hit .417/.509/.917. The school record for home runs was 12, set when the school still used aluminum bats. Harper finished with 23. He has top-of-the-scale power, but scouts have differing opinions about what kind of hitter he'll be. Some believe his exaggerated load and ferocious swings will cause him to strike out 125-140 times a season and keep his average around .250. Others believe in his exceptional hand-eye coordination and expect him to calm down his swing in pro ball, figuring .280 to .300 isn't out of the question. Harper also has 80 raw arm strength on the 20-80 scouting scale, but he needs to shorten up his arm action for it to play better behind the plate. Scouts are also split on where he'll end up defensively. Some believe he'll be fine at catcher. Others think he will either outgrow the position or that his bat will be too good to hold back, so a team will want to move him to the position that gets him to the big leagues the fastest—either third base or right field. Harper has done some incredible things on a baseball field, like hitting 500-foot home runs, throwing runners out at first from the outfield, and scoring from second base on a passed ball. He's received more attention and unfounded criticism than any amateur player in years. Perhaps the biggest question now is: Is it possible for him to live up to the hype? He's seeking to break Stephen Strasburg's record bonus, and that certainly won't reduce the hype or the pressure.

    Comparing the two, I give a very slight edge to Hamilton. Harper is the best power prospect in draft history, but Hamilton had prodigious pop as well and graded out better in other categories. He was a better pure hitter, maybe a hair quicker and offered more defensive value as a center fielder (we sold him short in that regard) versus Harper as a right fielder. Their arms were comparable.

    Neither player had a huge advantage over the other in any area, but Hamilton offered a little more all-around ability and played a position that's harder to fill.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 05-09-2012, 10:45 AM.
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

  • #2
    A May 17, 1999 article about the then 17 year old Josh Hamilton.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...5903/index.htm
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

    Comment


    • #3
      In my lifetime, at least, the original Bryce Harper was Gregg Jefferies. Jefferies was a super hyped phenom whose career was not helped by his immaturity and arrogance. Harper would do well not follow his example.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
        With all the hype that Bryce Harper is getting lets not forget how hyped Josh Hamilton was coming out of high school. Hamilton had insane baseball tools coming out high school. He could hit a baseball a county mile and he also hit 95 mph as a pitcher. Several scouts likened Hamilton tools to Mickey Mantle. Hamilotn was considered a mid-to-late first round pick strictly as a pitcher. Here is a comparison on Hamilton and Harper from 2011. A question was sent to Baseball America as who was the better prospect, Hamilton in 1999 or Harper in 2010. Here is the response.

        Which No. 1 overall prospect was the better prospect in their draft year, Josh Hamilton in 1999 or Bryce Harper in 2010?

        -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Let's start by heading to the Baseball America Draft archives and taking a look at our draft-year scouting reports on Hamilton and Harper, both of whom we rated as the top prospect in their draft class:

        Hamilton:

        Scouts have flocked to North Carolina's Triangle (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill) this spring, most notably a large delegation from the Devil Rays organization to see OF/LHP Josh Hamilton, who emerged in March as the probable No. 1 pick. Hamilton is a legitimate two-way talent who grades out highest as a hitting prospect. He also got a strong look as a pitcher because he was clocked up to 95 mph. Were it not for his prowess as an everyday player, Hamilton would have been looked at seriously as a late first-round pick as a pitcher. He's a five-tool talent who does everything easily, with fluid actions and grace. He has outstanding bat speed and extension on his swing. He projects top-of-the-scale power. His arm strength also is first rate. He does not have the speed for center field and should settle in as a prototype right fielder. Hamilton has made subtle adjustments to his game this spring. He's gotten stronger and understands how to play the game. He's tweaked his swing to eliminate a slight hitch. If anything, he needs to address pulling off pitches with the bat and use his legs more in his swing—all things that are correctable.

        Harper:

        After Harper skipped out on his final two years of high school to enroll in a wood-bat junior college league, even his biggest supporters probably would have underestimated how he would perform this season. Over his 180 regular-season at-bats, the 17-year-old hit .417/.509/.917. The school record for home runs was 12, set when the school still used aluminum bats. Harper finished with 23. He has top-of-the-scale power, but scouts have differing opinions about what kind of hitter he'll be. Some believe his exaggerated load and ferocious swings will cause him to strike out 125-140 times a season and keep his average around .250. Others believe in his exceptional hand-eye coordination and expect him to calm down his swing in pro ball, figuring .280 to .300 isn't out of the question. Harper also has 80 raw arm strength on the 20-80 scouting scale, but he needs to shorten up his arm action for it to play better behind the plate. Scouts are also split on where he'll end up defensively. Some believe he'll be fine at catcher. Others think he will either outgrow the position or that his bat will be too good to hold back, so a team will want to move him to the position that gets him to the big leagues the fastest—either third base or right field. Harper has done some incredible things on a baseball field, like hitting 500-foot home runs, throwing runners out at first from the outfield, and scoring from second base on a passed ball. He's received more attention and unfounded criticism than any amateur player in years. Perhaps the biggest question now is: Is it possible for him to live up to the hype? He's seeking to break Stephen Strasburg's record bonus, and that certainly won't reduce the hype or the pressure.

        Comparing the two, I give a very slight edge to Hamilton. Harper is the best power prospect in draft history, but Hamilton had prodigious pop as well and graded out better in other categories. He was a better pure hitter, maybe a hair quicker and offered more defensive value as a center fielder (we sold him short in that regard) versus Harper as a right fielder. Their arms were comparable.

        Neither player had a huge advantage over the other in any area, but Hamilton offered a little more all-around ability and played a position that's harder to fill.
        --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        I think you're right, but you have to remember that Harper skipped his senior season of high school and then totally dominated in junior college at 17 (though Hamilton didn't turn 18 until the tail end of his senior year of high school — May 21). Harper was also a catcher when he was first scouted, which made his hitting ability that much more valuable.

        And in a perfect world, Hamilton's probably a right fielder. He doesn't play center much anymore to avoid injuries, and doesn't play right because Nelson Cruz has such a strong arm.

        Comment


        • #5
          There are some differences for sure. Harper was a catcher as a prep. And his domination at age 17 of a wood bat junior college baseball conference was most impressive. Hamilton also pitched, though, which added to his legend as a teen. Both had INSANE baseball tools as teens.
          Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

          Comment


          • #6
            Considering what Hamilton went through, all of the toll that he put on and into his body, it is amazing that he can still play and play well. More than just well, he can still dominate. Now imagine if he had not gone through all of that and he were a lot healthier, think how much more amazing he could be. Hamilton>Harper, Harper is just the younger, newer version so he is in the spotlight.

            Hamilton has already won an MVP, a Batting Title and is crushing the league this year, just like all of that hype promised. Sure it is a little later than we all hoped but here he is world!

            Comment


            • #7
              A good SI article about Hamilton from 04/12/2004. Hamilton was in a serious auto accident in March 2001 that seriously injured his parents. Apparently, he got hooked on pain killers and it got worse from there.

              http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...72/1/index.htm
              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

              Comment


              • #8
                From Baseball America, July 7, 2006

                ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Background: The No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft and the recipient of a $3.96 million signing bonus, Hamilton built on a solid debut season with an impressive campaign at Class A Charleston. He had little difficulty adjusting to the South Atlantic League and was the league’s top prospect by season’s end. Hamilton shared the league’s MVP award with Pirates catcher J.R. House and was voted as the best batting prospect, power prospect, outfield arm and most exciting player in a survey of Sally League managers. He was the youngest player in the Futures Game, where he went 3-for-4. The lone negative was a right knee injury he sustained after a misstep in pursuit of a fly ball. Hamilton missed the last month of the minor league season after having arthroscopic surgery to repair torn cartilage. He recovered in time to participate in instructional league.

                Strengths: Hamilton is a rare breed. He’s one of the few players with five legitimate plus tools that continue to improve every time he takes the field. His power is increasing as his 19-year-old body matures. Anyone who saw his over-the-head catch, a la Willie Mays, in the SAL all-star game knows how much ground he covers in center field. His arm, which produced a mid-90s fastball while in high school, is one of the strongest among minor league outfielders. For all his tools, Hamilton’s most important trait may be his baseball savvy. His knowledge of how to play the game far exceeds his experience.

                Weaknesses: It’s hard to find any aspect of Hamilton’s game that could be deemed a weakness. He’s sometimes too aggressive at the plate, resulting in 72 strikeouts against 26 walks in 2000. With less than two full seasons of professional experience, Hamilton simply needs to remain healthy and get as many at-bats as possible so he can learn to make adjustments against more talented competition.

                The Future: Hamilton showed during instructional league that there’s no reason to expect him to be anything less than 100 percent by spring training. He was headed for a promotion at the time of his injury, and chances are he’ll bypass high Class A Bakersfield and move to Double-A Orlando to open 2001. A promotion to the big leagues could come as soon as 2002.


                Obviously, a lot has gone wrong since then. Back and leg injuries limited Hamilton to 27 games in 2001, and shoulder and elbow woes kept him to 56 games in 2002. Then a series of drug problems led to 3½ years away from the game, including a suspension from Major League Baseball that lasted from February 2004 until July of this year.

                Can Hamilton get back to where he once was? It would make for a nice story, but at this point I'll believe it when I see it. He missed so much time and has so much to overcome, that the odds are just too long. Hamilton, who's now 25, has gone 1-for-5 with a double and walk in his first two games back at short-season Hudson Valley.
                ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                SOURCE
                Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Edgartohof View Post
                  Considering what Hamilton went through, all of the toll that he put on and into his body, it is amazing that he can still play and play well. More than just well, he can still dominate. Now imagine if he had not gone through all of that and he were a lot healthier, think how much more amazing he could be. Hamilton>Harper, Harper is just the younger, newer version so he is in the spotlight.

                  Hamilton has already won an MVP, a Batting Title and is crushing the league this year, just like all of that hype promised. Sure it is a little later than we all hoped but here he is world!
                  Well said and I agree 100%
                  Say hello on Twitter @BSmile & Facebook "Baseball by BSmile"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by EdTarbusz View Post
                    In my lifetime, at least, the original Bryce Harper was Gregg Jefferies. Jefferies was a super hyped phenom whose career was not helped by his immaturity and arrogance. Harper would do well not follow his example.

                    I know of people in major league baseball front offices right now who are still shocked Jefferies didnt become an annual batting champion lol.

                    Not to say Gregg was a bust, he actually put together a pretty decent career for himself at the plate. But it's funny how it worked out.
                    "all the mets road wins against the dodgers this year have occured at Dodger Stadium"---Ralph Kiner

                    "Blind people came to the park just to listen to him pitch"---Reggie Jackson, talking about Tom Seaver

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      As a prospect Hamilton was compared to Mickey Mantle. Is Hamilton's baseball tools on par with Mickey Mantle's? I doubt Hamilton was ever as fast as Mantle before Mantle's leg injures.
                      Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        he is certainly a very special talent. Consider that he was an addict and did not touch a baseball for several YEARS it's amazing that he is still one of the best players. most players even talented ones would have never come back from this.

                        sad that he is so injury prone. if he was healthier he might have made the HOF despite the late start which would have been one of the most amazing feats in baseball history.
                        I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by dominik View Post
                          he is certainly a very special talent. Consider that he was an addict and did not touch a baseball for several YEARS it's amazing that he is still one of the best players. most players even talented ones would have never come back from this.

                          sad that he is so injury prone. if he was healthier he might have made the HOF despite the late start which would have been one of the most amazing feats in baseball history.
                          If he wins another MVP this year and the first triple crown in 45 years, I wouldn't count him out from making the hall of fame someday. Of course he'd have to have a very productive 6 or 7 year stretch in his 30's, but that is not unheard of. He might get bonus votes for his comeback story.
                          My top 10 players:

                          1. Babe Ruth
                          2. Barry Bonds
                          3. Ty Cobb
                          4. Ted Williams
                          5. Willie Mays
                          6. Alex Rodriguez
                          7. Hank Aaron
                          8. Honus Wagner
                          9. Lou Gehrig
                          10. Mickey Mantle

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            double post
                            Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 05-10-2012, 10:18 AM.
                            Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hamilton talks about Bryce Harper from about 2009 I think.

                              http://www.wralsportsfan.com/999thefan/audio/5397133/
                              Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 05-10-2012, 10:20 AM.
                              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                              Comment

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