While Hamilton may not boast the “most” home runs or the “best” batting average to this point in the season, he has turned in the best overall hitting performance of the first half, not just in the American League, but in all of the Majors.
Most impressive was his absolute tear through the month of June. Beginning on June 1, Hamilton proceeded to collect 49 hits in only 108 at bats for an average of .454. He also ripped nine home runs and 31 RBI, for a slugging percentage of .815.
Those totals propelled him onto the leaderboard for every single major hitting category, something that no other starting All-Star can claim (Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera COULD have claimed this, but he was edged in voting by the Twins’ Justin Morneau).
Here is a breakdown of where Hamilton’s hitting ranks today:
- Hits: 106 (third in the AL and fourth in the Majors)
- Home Runs: 20 (second in both the AL and the Majors)
- RBI: 61 (fourth in the AL and fifth in the Majors)
- Slugging: .617 (second in both the AL and the Majors)
- OPS: 1.001 (third in both the AL and the Majors)
Batting Average: .339 (fourth in both the AL and the Majors)
Along with those dominating totals, Hamilton has also racked up 23 doubles (only two behind the AL leaders), two triples, and has an on-base percentage of .385.
It is a performance worthy of the most fan votes for any American League outfielder, and it earned Hamilton his third consecutive starting nod.
But the REAL All-Stars aren’t just those who turn in big individual performances. Instead, the REAL All-Stars are those who not only perform exceptionally well, but they always seem to step it up a notch even further when their team needs it. After all, baseball is a TEAM sport, and individual accolades mean nothing if they are not in support of the team.
And that is precisely what Hamilton did. His Ruthian performance during the month of June may have added some value to his personal resumé, but the TRUE value of that performance was realized by the entire Texas Rangers organization.
As the month of May closed, the Rangers were riding a four game losing streak and they sat in second place in the AL West, one game behind Oakland. But when the calendar turned, and the Rangers began the month of June with a series against the Chicago White Sox, Hamilton kicked his performance into high gear.
He started off the month with a “quiet” 3-5 performance against Mark Buerhle, as the Rangers ended a four-game skid by beating the White Sox 9-6. That was just the beginning, as Hamilton’s bat would ultimately lead the Rangers on to a 21-6 record during the month, including an 11-game win streak during Interleague play against the top teams in the NL East (much to Loyal Homer’s chagrin).
And when the calendar flipped again as June rolled into July, the same Rangers team that started June on a losing slide finished it with a 4.5 game LEAD over the rest of their division.
The Rangers managed that impressive run by way of offensive explosion. During the month the team would go on to outscore opponents by a combined 173-100. It was Hamilton who led that offensive charge.
Being an All-Star is not just making yourself look good, it is making your TEAM look good by providing exactly what the rest of the team needs exactly when they need it most. Josh Hamilton did that.
He has proven to be the league’s best all-around hitter, and he stands poised at the All-Star break to now lead his team to its first postseason appearance since 1999.
That is what makes Hamilton the Most Valuable Player from the first half of 2010.