Hamilton hasn’t played since July, spending the past several weeks on the injured list. The Sox never made an announcement on the status of his injury, though a source tells MLBTR that Hamilton was shelved due to discomfort in his right shoulder and cleared to resume playing this past Sunday. However, the Sox are opting to move on rather than bringing him back to the roster in Triple-A Charlotte or in the big leagues.
Parting ways with Hamilton now ought to give him time to latch on with a postseason hopeful that could look to use him as a defensive replacement and/or pinch-runner late in games. It’s common for playoff contenders to carry specialists of that nature, particularly in September, when rosters expand from 26 to 28 players. At the very least, he’d make a sensible depth option to carry in the upper minors, in the event of any injuries on the big league roster.
The 32-year-old Hamilton is, of course, one of the game’s fastest players and most dynamic defenders. He’s never been a great hitter, but his bat has fallen off even further since his early-career days with Cincinnati: .205/.262/.288 in 549 MLB plate appearances since 2019. However, Hamilton boasts elite marks of 73 Defensive Runs Saved and 58 Outs Above Average in 6766 career innings in center field. He’s also been successful in 326 of his 398 career stolen base attempts — an 81.9% success rate. He’s become more efficient as his career has progressed, succeeding in 84.4% of his 58 attempts dating back to 2019 and 90% of his 30 attempts since 2020. Statcast pegged Hamilton in the 97th percentile of MLB hitters in terms of average sprint speed in 2021 and in the 91st percentile a year ago.
Hamilton has logged just 25 plate appearances over the past two seasons, collecting only one hit in that span. His most recent season with playing time of note saw him bat .220/.242/.378 in 135 plate appearances with the 2021 White Sox. He was hitting .147/.261/.253 in 89 trips to the plate with Triple-A Charlotte this season prior to his placement on the injured list and subsequent release.