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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 16: Ian Hamilton

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A non-baseball injury this spring seems to have thrown off this fireballer’s entire season

MLB: Chicago White Sox-Media Day
Promising start: Hamilton’s 2018 audition on the South Side found him penciled in to this season’s bullpen
Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Ian Hamilton
6´0´´
200 pounds
Throws: Right
Age: 23
2018 SSS Top Prospect ranking: 25
SSS rank among all right-handed relief pitchers in the system: 2

After spending two quality seasons in the bullpen for Washington State, Hamilton encountered some difficulties in the starting rotation during his junior season. In his 15 starts totaling 87 innings for the Cougars, he posted a pedestrian 4.86 ERA and 1.46 WHIP as he surrendered 96 hits (.293 OBA) and 31 walks against 62 strikeouts. Based on his overall stuff, in addition to his bullpen performance during his freshman and sophomore seasons, the White Sox signed him to a $101,800 bonus after selecting him in the 11th round of the 2016 draft. That year, with the AZL Sox and Kannapolis over 32 23 innings, Hamilton posted a 3.58 ERA and 1.13 WHIP by allowing 22 hits (.196 OBA) and 15 walks (11.6%) while striking out 29 (22.5%).

In 2017, Hamilton split his time with Winston-Salem and Birmingham; he did struggle some, however, with the Barons, getting hit for a 5.21 ERA and 1.79 WHIP. For the year, thanks to his exceptional work with the Dash, overall Hamilton posted a 2.64 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 44 outings (71 23 innings) — yielding 59 hits (.222 OBA) and just 16 walks (5.6%) while striking out 74 (25.7%).

Hamilton split his minors time in 2018 between Birmingham and Charlotte, faring equally well with both squads. In 43 games over 51 23 combined innings, he compiled a 1.74 ERA and 1.05 WHIP and allowed just 38 hits (.204 OBA) and 16 walks (7.1%) while fanning 62 (30.1%). Hamilton earned his promotion to the White Sox on August 31, and held his own with a 4.50 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 10 games (eight innings), as he allowed six hits (.207) and two walks (6.1%) while striking out five (15.2%).

Hamilton features a 70-grade, mid-90s fastball that touches 99 mph and features hard sink. His hard slider can reach 90 mph and is considered a plus pitch. He also offers a legit changeup, as he held Triple-A lefties to a mere .167 average.

A car accident during spring training, during which Hamilton jammed his shoulder bracing against the steering wheel, threw the young fireballer off of his game, and he has struggled since the setback. He started the season in Charlotte rather than the anticipated Chicago, and the Triple-A results have not been good: a 9.92 ERA in 16 games, 0-2, three saves and a 1.898 WHIP.


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