Following a junior season spent watching the Texas Longhorn stumble to a last-place finish in the Big 12 standings thanks to a torn Achilles suffered while riding an electric scooter, shortstop David Hamilton announced on Friday evening that he’s departing for professional baseball:
This obviously wasn't how I saw my junior year going. Sitting out this year was hard. I wanted to make Texas proud.— David Hamilton (@D_Ham27) June 29, 2019
I can't wait to get my career started with the @Brewers this week, but Longhorn Nation, I'm so honored that I got to be your shortstop. Hook 'Em forever. pic.twitter.com/7FnmxhLFmH
Despite the injury, the Milwaukee Brewers selected Hamilton with the No. 253 overall pick in the eighth round of the 2019 MLB Draft in June. The slot value of the No. 253 pick is $162,000, but the Brewers were high enough on Hamilton’s upside and recovery ability that he signed for $400,000, according to BrewCrew.com, the equivalent of the top pick in the fifth round.
The appeal of the 5’10, 170-pounder to the Brewers is his combination of high-level fielding ability and speed that ranked as elite before his injury. Hamilton also showed tremendous improvement at the plate between his freshman and sophomore seasons — his batting average jumped from .218 to .291 and his bat started to show some pop with five home runs. By controlling the strike zone better, Hamilton drew more walks as a sophomore to help his on-base percentage jump by nearly 100 points.
So there is plenty of upside in the pick by the Brewers, but the question is whether Hamilton can recover most or all of his speed while continuing to grow as a hitter.
For Texas, despite the departure of Bryce Reagan from the program after one disappointing season, head coach David Pierce and his staff landed junior college prospects Camryn Williams and Murphy Stehly in an attempt to stabilize the position after poor play there in 2018.