Washington State pitcher Ian Hamilton will have an opportunity to begin his professional career after the Chicago White Sox selected the Cougar with the 10th pick in the 11th round of the Major League Baseball Draft on Saturday.
Hamilton, who is a junior and could still return to WSU for his senior season if he so desires, entered the season as one of the top 100 prospects in the country after two dominant seasons as a closer, which left his name littered in the WSU record book.
After a successful stint starting for his summer league team, Hamilton was moved to the rotation in 2016. The transition was a rocky one; Hamilton compiled a record of just 2-10 with a 4.86 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 87 innings, likely leading to his being dropping to the 326th overall pick.
That said, the guy who saved 28 games while allowing just 17 earned runs with 61 strikeouts across 73 innings while throwing in the mid-90s in his first two seasons is probably still in there — and likely the reason why he has been drafted even this high after a subpar junior season.
When relieving, Hamilton complements his strong fastball with an excellent changeup. While he throws hard, Hamilton tended to pitch to contact as a closer, inducing loads of weak grounders and lazy fly balls.
Here are a couple of scouting reports, courtesy of MLB and the Pac-12:
Hamilton is from Vancouver, Washington, and was not drafted out of Skyview High School. He has until July 15 to sign with the White Sox or return to school for his senior season -- always a dicey proposition, since seniors lose whatever leverage they might have in terms of negotiating the highest possible contract. That said, if Hamilton can reclaim some of what caused scouts to love him in the first place, he could shoot back up draft boards a year from now.