From 2009-11, Josh Hamilton averaged 89 strikeouts a season. In 2008, Hamilton whiffed 126 times his career high until Hamilton shockingly struck out 162 times this season.
Here's a guy who had struck out once every 5.5 and 5.2 at bats over the last two seasons and whiffed once every 3.5 times this season; 25.5% of all of his plate appearances ended in a strikeout.
Let's take a look at what happened.
In 2009, Hamilton struck out 79 times.
In 2010, Hamilton struck out 95 times.
In 2011, Hamilton struck out 93 times.
In 2012, Hamilton struck out 162 times.
It is pretty apparent that pitchers have found that Hamilton is having an increasing difficulty distinguishing between fastballs and sliders. Beyond that they realize that they can get Hamilton to chase pitches out of the zone. While Hamilton chased 79.3% of the fastballs he swung at, his chase numbers for curves and sliders were 95.8% and 97.1% respectively.
In case you are curious, the left-handed Hamilton struck out 54 times against lefties and exactly double that amount, 108 times, against righties.
Look at the pitches thrown by righties that did not result in a strikeout
There were a lot thrown in the zone and Hamilton punished pitches in the zone.
Hamilton's hits versus righties in 2012
There is very little point in throwing pitches in the zone, that Hamilton can and will hit, if you can get him to chase pitches out of the zone.
Look at the pitches Hamilton chased on strikeouts against righties in 2012
After looking this, I urge every GM considering making a big offer to Hamiliton:
Caveat emptor baby, Caveat to the Emptor!