Monday, May 14, 2012

Josh Hamilton: Will It Last?

     Entering the 2012 MLB season, all eyes were on power hitters Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols, both signed to new teams over the winter months. While these big signings took place, many experts and fans forgot all about Josh Hamilton. Now that the Texas Rangers have played 34 games, Hamilton has one of the best starts in the history of baseball. Though the pitching staff is missing starter C.J Wilson, Texas continues to dominate. If all goes well, Hamilton is on track to break Barry Bonds' single season home run record by 12. However, there is no guarantee this all-star can stay hot, or more importantly, stay healthy. So what is Josh Hamilton's fate this season? Will he break the unbreakable home run record, or will a hitting slump keep Hamilton from his goal?
Josh Hamilton
     Josh Hamilton has one of the most heart worming stories in all of baseball. After being selected first overall in the 1999 MLB draft by Tampa Bay, Hamilton's career went downhill due to an addiction to drugs and alcohol. His substance abuse began to affect his play, and by 2003 the future star was in and out of rehab. From 2004 to 2006, he stopped playing baseball entirely, concentrating more on his terrible addiction. In 2006, Hamilton began easing back into baseball and was selected in that year’s draft by the Chicago Cubs, who quickly traded him to Cincinnati. Hamilton's rookie season started off well, but was later damaged due to several injuries. By the end of 2007, Hamilton was traded once again, this time to the Texas Rangers. In just his second year as a starter, Hamilton exploded into one of the league's biggest stars, and was selected to play in the All Star Game. After yet another injury in 2009, Hamilton's 32 home runs with 100 RBIs and a .359 batting average won him the 2010 MVP Award. In present day 2012, Hamilton is off to the best start of his career, as his Texas Rangers rank first in the AL West.
     On May 12th, Josh Hamilton became the second player in MLB history to have 18 home runs within the first 34 games of a season. Out of the 18 home runs he has hit, 4 of them came on May 8th against the Baltimore Orioles. The swing shown by Josh Hamilton looks better than ever, and confidence is an apparent attribute as he steps up to the plate. Not only does he lead the league in home runs, but as of Mother’s Day, he dominates in RBIs (41) as well as batting average (.402). Though it appeared as if Matt Kemp would be the Triple Crown winner, Hamilton has surpassed the Dodger for the number one hitter in all of baseball. But will it continue? For one thing, Hamilton's best hitting performances take place in-between June and July, so it is possible the Texas Ranger can stay hot up until mid-to-late August. However, even after the All Star break, Hamilton tends to stay pretty consistent. If there is anyone who can stay hot throughout the duration of a season, it would be Josh Hamilton.
     Not only is Hamilton eyeing a Triple Crown, where he would become the first player to achieve this accomplishment since 1967, but he is also capable of breaking Barry Bonds' single season home run record, which stands at 73. Though I would be absolutely astounded if he can play so consistently, Hamilton is on track to hit 86 home runs, 195 RBIs and a batting average of .402. Though 73 home runs is slightly out of reach, I think 60 will be Hamilton’s magic number, and as of now, he is the clear number one for Most Valuable Player. Hamilton is a unique hitter, who possesses power, poise, and consistency. Though an injury could ruin this incredible streak, Hamilton is practically unstoppable, and a third shot at the World Series trophy is a definite possibility for this superstar.