Former Cougar closer Ian Hamilton was considered an excellent sleeper pick for the Chicago White Sox when they picked him in the 11th round in 2016. After a great run in the summer Cape Cod League and setting WSU’s all-time saves record he was expected to go early in the draft. He slipped due to a poor junior season after being moved to the starting rotation. Well, now he is back in the bullpen and it has made all the difference.
He is thriving for the AA Birmingham Barons as their closer. Hamilton has put up a microscopic 0.64 ERA and has already recorded seven saves. He has struck out 21 batters and only allowed six hits in 14 innings. Here is a scouting report on Ian by the website FutureSox before the season.
Ian works slowly and deliberately on the mound. He’s very arm-heavy in his delivery, so the club will probably work to get him to use his lower body a bit more as he develops. In some ways similar to Carson Fulmer, Hamilton generates substantial velocity from a relatively small frame and some significant effort (though Hamilton’s isn’t as violent as Fulmer’s). In fact, the velocity has been bumping up in a relief role. The primary pitch is a fastball that was running mostly 93-94 in our look and peaking at 95, and it’s got some arm-side fade, but as 2017 went on he was thorwing it in the upper 90’s and even hit 99 per one report. His main secondary pitch is an upper 80’s slider that showed very nice break, but reportedly can get up to 90. His location seemed good when he was working the glove side of the plate, but less so on the arm side. The increase in velocity added to an already intriguing profile make Ian one of the better relief prospects in the organization, and he should begin 2018 back with the Baron
The highly regarded White Sox pitching development staff have turned many pitchers around over the years and they have found another gem in Hamilton. MLB pipeline currently has Ian ranked as the White Sox’s 21st ranked prospect and if he continues his hot start expect him to shoot up the charts. As a fast-moving reliever for a rebuilding club, he could be pitching on the South Side very soon.
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