Texas loses Hamilton for the season
Fresh off a trip to the College World Series, Texas has a massive void to fill between now and Opening Day, as star shortstop David Hamilton will miss the 2019 campaign after having surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles.
“David’s injury is unfortunate. He has been a huge part of our program the past two seasons. He has done everything you can expect from a student athlete on and off the field and will be missed,” Texas coach David Pierce said. “We play guys in multiple positions during our fall baseball period and feel confident that Masen Hibbeler and Bryce Reagan are capable of playing SS. Ryan Reynolds could also be another option if needed.”
There’s typically some bad injury news leading up to the season. Last year, Texas Tech’s Steven Gingery and Florida State’s Tyler Holton, both All-American arms, missed the year because of injuries. Interestingly, the Red Raiders made another trip to the College World Series, while FSU overcame Holton’s injury to host yet another regional. Gingery was a fourth-round pick last summer, while Holton was a ninth-rounder.
We’ll see if the Longhorns have the same success without a key cog such as Hamilton in their lineup
Hamilton’s presence was going to be hugely important this season, as the ‘Horns have the tough chore of replacing All-American slugger Kody Clemens, who had a mammoth 2018 campaign at the plate. Hamilton was a steady bat atop the lineup and had premier speed that kept opposing defenses on their toes at all times.
The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder, also provided stability to the UT infield. Hamilton had quick actions and instincts and an accurate arm. He’s one of the nation’s premier infielders, so his loss will be felt. Hamilton made strides offensively last season. After struggling as a freshman, he hit .291 last year, while also having an OBP over .400 and 43 walks as opposed to 40 strikeouts. He also swiped 31 bases and led the Longhorns by 15 stolen bases (over Duke Ellis) as the team leader.
Without Hamilton in the lineup or the field, the Longhorns do have some options. Veteran Masen Hibbeler, who hit .261 with four home runs and 30 RBIs last season, was slated to start at second this spring. However, he’ll likely shift over to Hamilton’s spot. The Texas staff feels like he’ll be a solid replacement there. As for second base should that move occur, look for a pair of freshmen — Bryce Reagan and Lance Ford — to get strong looks. Reagan has some athleticism and did some good things in the fall, while Ford was one the staff raved about in our Texas Fall Report. Ford is a 5-foot-11, 195-pounder, who has speed and a sweet lefthanded swing. He showed a mature offensive approach in the fall and could play second, or provide some needed relief in the outfield. Prep Baseball Report ranked Reagan No. 84 in the 2018 High School class, while Ford was ranked as one of the better prospects in the State of Texas.
As for Hamilton, the speedy infielder was projected to be a Top 100 College prospect in our latest rankings update. However, this injury undoubtedly will change his stock for the time being. Hamilton is an excellent defender and speed is an important part of his game and worth as a prospect. He’ll need to recover from the Achilles injury and show it hasn’t deterred his speed production.
Texas now has the tough chore of replacing Clemens, and now Hamilton, atop the lineup. Replacing those two won’t be easy, but the Longhorns made massive strides and had some unexpected surges last season, too.
For now, there’s some uncertainty in Austin.