For the first part of this season, Josh Hamilton was well on his way to winning the league MVP award. Then, he really cooled off, although he’s picked it back up recently.
April 6 – May 16: .404/.458/.838, 1.296 OPS in 155 PA, 18 HR, 45 RBI, 32 R
May 17 – July 29: .204/.285/.408, .693 OPS in 242 PA, 10 HR, 38 RBI, 26 R
July 30 – Sep 1: .312/.365/.584, .949 OPS in 137 PA, 8 HR, 29 RBI, 28 R
So after being the best player in baseball for the first six weeks, Hamilton was one of the game’s worst for a 10-week span. Since then, he’s performed exactly as one would expect of Hamilton: .312 batting average, .584 slugging percentage and a home-run rate that translates to about 35 in a full season.
Hamilton’s season numbers are still very, very good: .290/.356/.582 with 37 home runs and a league-leading 113 RBI, and he’s helped the Texas Rangers stay in first place in the AL West all season.
Hamilton has been striking out at a significantly higher rate than ever before (23.8 percent this season compared to 17.3 percent last year, 16.6 percent in 2010 and 17.9 percent in his breakout season of 2008), and he’s not playing as well defensively—and when you factor in his inconsistencies, it drops him to a still very respectable third place in the MVP contest.