Ian Hamilton, a reliever for the New York Yankees, has arguably been the most remarkable revelation of the 2023 season for the team. Amid a challenging year marked by injuries, the identification and cultivation of a top-notch reliever like Hamilton has been truly exceptional.
In Friday’s victory against the Tampa Bay Rays, Hamilton pitched a flawless inning, not allowing a single walk and striking out three players. This performance brought his ERA down to an astonishing 1.29, with his 1.63 FIP affirming his success.
Despite requiring 19 pitches to conclude his inning, due to conceding two hits, Hamilton’s 16 strikes demonstrate his efficiency for the Yankees this season.
Hamilton’s average fastball speed of 96 mph certainly contributes to his effectiveness. However, the pitch he has used 54.2 percent of the time this year, referred to as the “slambio,” is his preferred choice. Coined by Yankees manager Aaron Boone, the name has since stuck. The pitch combines the characteristics of a slider with the velocity of a changeup, as suggested by the name’s playful hybrid of ‘slider’ and ‘cambio’, the Spanish term for changeup.
Hamilton has largely dominated batters this season primarily using this pitch. Consequently, the Yankees’ confidence in Hamilton grows with each game.
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The Yankees’ trust in Hamilton is going up with each outing
Hamilton’s steadily improving performance is gaining increasing legitimacy. He has now pitched 21 innings this year, allowing only 12 hits and achieving an impressive 7/28 BB/K ratio. For each walk, he strikes out four batters, marking a standout performance.
The Yankees are currently missing key relievers such as Jonathan Loaisiga, Lou Trivino, Tommy Kahnle, and Scott Effross, among others. Hamilton’s emergence as a solidly reliable option has elevated him from less critical roles to trusted positions in highly significant situations.
The Yankees’ pitching strategists and player development department have achieved another success with Hamilton, following recent victories with Ron Marinaccio, Michael King, Loaisiga, Trivino, Clay Holmes, and others.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Hamilton’s story is that despite being 27 years old, he hasn’t yet completed a year of team control. This suggests that he is likely to remain with the Yankees for a considerable time.