Hamilton recorded a school-record 28 saves in his first two years at Washington State, then had a disastrous 2016 season as a starter that hurt his Draft stock and dropped him to the White Sox in the 11th round. He thrived upon returning to the bullpen as a pro, surfacing in Chicago barely two years after he signed. He had a rough 2019, injuring his shoulder in a car accident in March, logging a 9.92 ERA in Triple-A and having his season end in June when a line drive broke his jaw and led to multiple surgeries.
When Hamilton is 100 percent, he can carve up hitters with his fastball and slider. His heater sits in the mid-90s, climbs into triple digits and features heavy sink. His slider has power at 87-90 mph but lacks consistency, grading as a plus pitch at its best but getting slurvy at times.
Hamilton also will dust off an occasional changeup that flashes average but he needs to locate his slider better in order to have more success against left-handers. He has a long arm action that hampered his control in college and early in his pro career, but he has done a better job of throwing strikes in the last two seasons. He could become a high-leverage relief option for the White Sox if he can recapture his 2018 form.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 70 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 50 | Overall: 40
After saving a school-record 28 games in his first two seasons at Washington State, Hamilton had some success as a starter in the Cape Cod League and moved into the Cougars rotation as a junior in 2016. But he went 2-10 with a 4.86 ERA, his stuff regressed and he slid to the White Sox in the 11th round. He immediately found success once returning to the bullpen in pro ball and advanced to the big leagues in a little more than two years, though he had a disastrous 2019 during which he injured his shoulder in a car accident in March and saw his season end when a line drive broke his jaw in June and necessitated multiple surgeries.
Hamilton's fastball dipped into the low-90s with less life when he was a starter, but in shorter stints it's back to sitting in the mid-90s, reaching triple digits and featuring heavy sink. His power slider ranges from 87-90 mph and has become a consistent plus offering. He'll mix in a changeup to combat left-handers and flash some average ones at times, though it got hammered in his brief introduction to the Majors.
Hamilton's control got shaky at times in college and early in his pro career, but he has done a much better job of challenging hitters the past two seasons. He keeps the ball down in the strike zone, a necessity for someone who will work high-leverage innings at Guaranteed Rate Field. He could emerge as Chicago's closer once he returns to full health.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 70 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
Hamilton saved a school-record 28 games in his first two seasons at Washington State before having some success as a starter in the Cape Cod League, which prompted the Cougars to move him into their rotation in 2016. He went just 2-10 with a 4.86 ERA, falling all the way to the 11th round of the Draft after his stuff backed up. The White Sox immediately returned him to the bullpen and watched him rise to Triple-A by June of his second full season.
After seeing his fastball drop to the low 90s and lose some life when he started, Hamilton is back working with a mid-90s fastball that touches 99 and features hard sink. His hard slider can reach 90 mph and is a plus pitch at its best. He'll even flash an average changeup at times and will work on refining it and using it more often after left-handers teed off on him in Double-A last year.
Hamilton looked tentative when he first got to Double-A in 2017 but has done a better job of attacking hitters this season. He can look like a future closer on his best days and is on the verge of bolstering Chicago's bullpen.