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What David Hamilton's Injury Means for Texas Baseball (Travis Hlavinka)

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BY TRAVIS HLAVINKA


On Saturday morning, Texas baseball sent out a press release stating that junior shortstop David Hamilton would miss the entirety of the 2019 season after a successful surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles.

A San Marcos native, Hamilton has been the starting shortstop since his arrival on campus. Though he is mostly seen as a defensive savant, Hamilton’s bat vastly improved in 2018. After a season where he hit for a .307 average, seven doubles, six triples, five home runs and 35 RBI, to go along with 37 walks and 31 stolen bases, Hamilton was a Second Team All-Big 12 selection.

Obviously the loss of Hamilton is a devastating blow to a season that hasn’t even started yet, but hope is not all lost as Texas has a player that can make a seamless transition to a full-time role at shortstop. Senior Masen Hibbeler, who split time between second base and left field arrived at Texas with two years of junior college experience playing shortstop. With Hamilton’s injury, Hibbeler will undoubtedly be the one to get first reps at the position.

What this also means is that Hibbeler will most definitely not move back to second base. As a result, at least one freshman will start in the middle infield. My guess is that it will be freshman Lance Ford at second base.

Freshmen Bryce Reagan and Alec Carr will likely get some reps at shortstop as well, with Reagan possibly also sharing second base with Ford. Throwing combinations together and seeing what sticks will probably be on the menu for a team with a lot more questions as it enters the season.

The most puzzling question that looms will be in Texas’ lineup, where Pierce will have to replace either his pick for a leadoff hitter, the No. 5 hole, or the No. 3 hole. Here is what I believed the Texas baseball starting lineup was going to look like prior to Hamilton’s injury:

  1. RF Duke Ellis
  2. LF Masen Hibbeler
  3. SS David Hamilton
  4. DH Zach Zubia
  5. C DJ Petrinsky
  6. 3B Ryan Reynolds
  7. CF Tate Shaw
  8. 1B Michael McCann
  9. 2B Lance Ford

With Hamilton’s injury, the area of strength that actually eases its tension is the absolutely stacked outfield. Prior to Friday, one of Texas’ experienced outfielders was on the outside looking in. Following the injury, however, the combination of senior Tate Shaw and juniors Duke Ellis and Austin Todd will probably be your starting outfield, with sophomore Kamron Fields and freshman Eric Kennedy serving as the primary backups. Here is what I believe Texas’ starting lineup will look like now:

  1. RF Duke Ellis
  2. SS Masen Hibbeler
  3. C DJ Petrinsky
  4. DH Zach Zubia
  5. 3B Ryan Reynolds
  6. LF Austin Todd
  7. CF Tate Shaw
  8. 1B Michael McCann
  9. 2B Lance Ford

The loss of Hamilton will hurt every facet of Texas’ game. Already the team’s best base stealer and likely top defender, Hamilton was a burgeoning hitter with All-American recognition in his sights. Replacing his production will be a must if Texas plans to return to Omaha in June.

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Nice write up Travis. 

 

Im telling you right now it will not surprise me if this team returns to Omaha this year. Sure, arms are young and the loss of DHam stings, but one thing Texas has the luxury of is depth. And not just warm bodies. There is some serious talent on The 40 this season. Grab a chair and a cold beer and enjoy some baseball in about a month’s time. 

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1 hour ago, joeywa said:

Nice write up Travis. 

 

Im telling you right now it will not surprise me if this team returns to Omaha this year. Sure, arms are young and the loss of DHam stings, but one thing Texas has the luxury of is depth. And not just warm bodies. There is some serious talent on The 40 this season. Grab a chair and a cold beer and enjoy some baseball in about a month’s time. 

While I like your enthusiasm, I could see Texas with an overall better record then they did last year, but end up short in a Super Regional because of the youth.

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The drop from Hamilton to Todd in the lineup is pretty steep. Not to mention the defense. 

I expect some early growing pains but think we will get it rolling in conference to make another regional with a shot at Omaha. 

Anyone heard how Ridgeway has looked? Would love for him to return to 2017 form. 

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