THE NEWBERG REPORT — FEBRUARY 18, 2008
There are a handful of
measures that the Rangers are taking to give center fielder Josh Hamilton the
greatest possible chance to succeed, one of which is installing him, in all
likelihood, in the number two spot in the batting order, where common baseball
wisdom suggests he’ll be fed a heavier diet of fastballs, batting behind a high
on-base guy (Frank Catalanotto) or a stolen base threat (Ian Kinsler) and in
front of Michael Young, than he might in a more traditional run-producing slot.
Hamilton saw some time hitting second for Cincinnati last year (.333/.429/.500
in 24 at-bats), a note that’s not all that notable considering he hit in all
nine slots for the Reds during the season.
The list of number two
hitters around the league capable of going over 450 feet to the opposite field
is only slightly shorter than the list of humans capable of going 450 feet to
the opposite field. Courtesy of Scott Lucas, below is a photo of the spring
training batting practice/”B” game field in Surprise where the
left-handed-hitting Hamilton, according to multiple reports, has been drilling
not only the top of the indoor batting cage beyond the left field fence but also
the clubhouse that sits 454 feet from the plate behind the fence in left
When I’m in Surprise
next month, you have my word that, as always, I’ll spend virtually all of my
time south of the parking lot scouting prospects (though there are at least
preliminary plans for me to join Victor Rojas as a guest color commentator for
one big league game while I’m there), but that cluster of diamonds on the south
side does include more than just the minor league fields.
practice/”B” game field is down there, too, separated from Surprise
Stadium/Billy Parker Field by the aforementioned parking lot, indoor batting
cage, and clubhouse that is evidently looking more and more each day like it’s
been under siege by intermittent, early morning hailstorms.
haven’t had to worry much about jockeying for position in Surprise if you wanted
to take in morning batting practice, but that might be changing in this camp.
Getting there early might be key if you want to experience the Josh Hamilton
show, not only because of the limited metal bleacher seating but also because,
as it stands now, the Rangers are having him take cuts in that first