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Meet The New Guy: Caleb Hamilton

The catcher was claimed off waivers last October, and is now getting a second shot at the Major Leagues - but it may be short.

MiLB: MAY 05 Buffalo Bisons at Worcester Red Sox Photo by Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Who is he and where did he come from?

He’s Caleb Hamilton, and the 28-year-old got the call from Worcester following Reese McGuire’s injury. No, you’re not seeing double: Hamilton, David is the speedy infielder. Hamilton, Caleb is a different guy. He was a 23rd round draft pick by Minnesota in 2016, and he spent the entirety of his career in that organization until the Twins cut him loose. He also got the call up to the Majors last year, but in 18 plate appearances he managed just one hit and four walks. That one hit was a home run, the only one of his Major League career thus far. He did manage to score every time he reached base in the Majors, too. So, hey, don’t let him on base!

I would also like to recognize Caleb for something cool he did in Spring Training. My family had a group outing to Fenway South in Fort Myers, and my cousins were leaning over the bullpen for signatures. Caleb said “I got you right after the game.” Sure enough, as soon as the last out was recorded (and the Sox won!) Caleb looked over the bullpen wall, found one of my cousins, and handed him a ball and scorecard with his signature on it. So, Caleb, thank you for making some kids’ Sunday afternoon significantly better!

What position does he play?

He’s mostly a catcher, but has playing time all over the diamond. In the Twins’ organization, he played a lot of corner infield; at Oregon State he literally logged time in every single position on the entire diamond except the pitcher’s mound. His versatility is notable and is possibly the reason I was wrong about Ronaldo Hernandez getting the call-up last Thursday. Still, the gaps in the infield could serve Hamilton well since they are a strength of his, even if he mostly plays the corners.

Is he any good?

He’s versatile, and sits runners down from his primary catcher position at a higher than-average rate. That’s a good thing! But his bat alone will lead me to say: no. In 23 Major League plate appearances, he’s struck out 14 times. Hamilton has been hampered by the strikeout bug for his entire Minor League career, too, and in Worcester this year,he’s striking out 31% of the time. This stat has hovered in the high 20’s to low 30’s throughout his career, which is not ideal. Despite this, he’s patient, drawing roughly a 15% walk rate, which saves his OBP from being abysmal. He’s hitting .190 in Worcester, which usually would not warrant a call-up, but this is a special circumstance.

Show me a cool highlight.

I tried to find one of the times Hamilton caught someone stealing, bit they’re tough to find, so I think the one I’m going to go with here is his only Major League hit.

What’s he doing in his picture up there?

He’s looking at my cousins, clearly! Or trying to keep the Worcester sun out of his eyes.

What’s his role on the 2023 Red Sox?

I don’t think the Red Sox could have anticipated so many concurrent injuries, but luckily, they have a guy who has played everywhere. Unluckily, getting on base has been an issue at times for this Boston team, as has striking out with runners in scoring position, and Hamilton will not help with that. When Reese McGuire, comes back from the injury list, Hamilton will be back in Worcester. Sure would be nice to have Jorge Alfaro right now!