For months I've been saying that Rangers' outfielder Josh Hamilton is the best player in baseball. Today he'll at least be validated as the Most Valuable Player in his own American League.
Around 1 p.m. Hamilton should win AL MVP, joining Jeff Burroughs (1974), Juan Gonzalez ('96, '98), Ivan Rodriguez ('99) and Alex Rodriguez ('03) as Rangers to earn the prestigious honor.
This isn't a coronation of Hamilton's story. His battle with drug and alcohol addiction and his Ginger Ale-drenched triumphs will be at the epicenter early next month when he's strongly considered for Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year. Today it's all about baseball, and - despite missing a month of the season - no one in the AL dominated like Hamilton.
He's the definition of a five-tool player.
Whether it's our image of him making a catch slamming against a wall, throwing out a runner at third, beating out an infield single, scoring from second on a infield grounder, poking an outside pitch for a single to left, launching a homer or scaring the Yankees into constantly walking him in the ALCS, no way to avoid the fact that Hamilton was, in 2010, as close to Mickey Mantle as we've seen in a long time.
Oh sure, there are other candidates.
Robinson Cano of the Yankees and the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera are Hamilton's main competition, but in 133 games Hamilton hit .359 with 32 home runs and 100 RBIs while leading the Rangers to their first playoff appearance since 1999.
And don't start with this crap about him not playing enough games to win. Minnesota's Joe Mauer won in 2009 with only five more games played than Hamilton.
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