Mike Hampton

Actually, I think John Thomson is probably the Braves’ #3 starter, but they’ll stick Hampton here to keep from having three righthanders in a row all the time… Hampton was pretty good in 2003, basically average in 2004. He missed some starts with a knee injury (Hampton usually misses a couple of starts) which required offseason surgery, but is expected to be ready to start the season.

Hampton’s splits with the Braves are interesting. His pre-All Star numbers each season were awful, 4.85 in 2003 and 4.95 last season. But he was good in the second half in 2003 (2.95) and pretty good last year (3.65) Both seasons he’s been hittable by righthanders, but in 2003 he killed lefties, and last season he wasn’t nearly as effective, though still better than against righthanders.

Hampton only struck out 87 men in 172 1/3 IP last season; low strikeout rates have been a problem for the Braves in recent seasons but Hampton was by far the worst offender last year. Even Byrd, a guy who can’t throw the ball through wet tissue, struck out only eight fewer men, and he needed 58 fewer innings and walked only 19. Hampton walked 65. He’s verging on a 1:1 ratio, which I don’t think can possibly work, though Ramirez and Gryboski somehow get away with it. (Get used to this complaint; you’re going to be reading it a lot for the next couple of weeks.)

Mike Hampton Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

9 thoughts on “Mike Hampton”

  1. This is a little off subject, but not really. One of the reasons that I love baseball is because, especially from a pitching standpoint, it’s more mental than physical. This year’s rotation is one of those that has the ability to be one of the Braves’ best ever, that is, if they live up to their potential. I bring all of this up because I think that Smoltz’s mere presence in the rotation will cause everyone else to step it up a notch.

    I live in Atlanta now, but I’m originally from St. Simons; and a while back a few of my friends from St. Simons were all playing basketball at a local court when Smoltz showed up and asked if he could play. Of course, everyone said yes. I wasn’t there, but my friend told me that Smoltz was just absolutely ballin, throwing no look passes, the whole nine, and by far the best player on the court. He said that Smoltz had such an energy, and such a competitiveness about him, that it made everyone else step their game up. That in itself is rather insignificant, but I think that it says a lot about what he brings to the rotation (and the dugout…which I think someone else mentioned in a different post).

    Anyway, this has less to do with Hampton and more to do with the whole rotation, so I guess it is rather off subject–but I think that it could help Hampton as well. He seems to perform better under pressure; or at least that holds true when you look at what he’s done recently, especially last year. He was our best pitcher in the post season last year, and in the regular season he was notorious for giving up a lot of first inning runs, and then pitching brilliantly for the next six–i.e. pitched terrible until he was behind, putting pressure on himself, and then pitched great. Not to mention that he pitched probably his best game against Randy Johnson. There was pressure for him to pitch a great game because Randy Johnson was such a great pitcher, and once again he pitched well under the pressure…he did lose that game, but Johnson pitched a no-hitter. Point is, he performs better under pressure. Perhaps that is why he’s always had a good second half, i.e. he puts pressure on himself by doing terrible the first half.

    This all ties in to what I was saying about Smoltz, because in the past two seasons that Hampton has been with us, there has not been a person even remotely like Smoltz in the rotation. Ortiz, Maddux (2003), Thomson, Ramirez, they’ve all been very quiet, laid back people. I’m not sure about what kind of person Hudson is, but even if he doesn’t put up Cy Young type numbers, because of his competitive nature Smoltz will put pressure on everyone else in the rotation to step it up a notch and maybe, just maybe, that will cure Hampton’s inconsistency and cause him to have a career year…sort of how Chipper rode Laroche last year and probably caused him to become a better hitter.

    Anyway, I know that was long, a little off subject, and probably a bit superfluous, but that’s my little bit of psychological insight. I guess I’m just a little excited with spring training less than a week away. In any case, we’ll never really know until the season is under way, but I at least like our potential.

    Some last words: Let’s all start a bunch of rumors about how Hampton is the worst pitcher on the staff, how he should be in the #5 spot, and how he’s not going to do jack this season. Let’s put as much pressure on him as possible!

  2. Hampton always seems like he’s short-arming the ball to me. Like I am used to seeing it and it still looks awkward to me every time he throws the ball.

    Anyway he’s a good bet to be at least average this year unless his walk rate continues to go up.

  3. Truly off-topic: Nice write-up on ESPN.com about Rafael Furcal’s arm, but isn’t that a picture of Marcus throwing the ball (If they haven’t changed it by now, that is)?

  4. Well, so much for Farnsworth. I know the Braves could have beaten that offer though. Dumbrowski is slowly getting the Tigers back…

  5. If what Hampton is owed over the next few years costs us an extension with Hudson, then the Hampton trade will officially be a disaster. Hampton will never be any better than a slightly above average pitcher, and he was overvalued with the Astros and the Mets. Boy, did the Rockies give him a stupid contract.

  6. Good comments on Hampton’s K rate…that’s just not gonna get it done. I totally agree that Thomson is the third best pitcher out there, but of course they will run Hampton out to break up the righthanded monotony.

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