In a recent CNNSI.com column, Tom Verducci posits that Josh Hamilton is now the best player in baseball. The premise for this supposition is laid out nicely in the following passage from Verducci's column:
"The legend of Josh Hamilton, Texas Ranger, is growing on a nightly basis. There is nobody like him in baseball, and possibly nobody this good, this big, this fast and this unique—a 6'4", 235-pound sledgehammer of a hitter who can run balls down in center field and fly around the bases and hit for such a high average—since Mickey Mantle in his prime."
Another tasty piece of Hamilton-love comes later in the column when Verducci states:
"In 65 games since June 1, just when the Texas heat is supposed to wilt players, Hamilton has hit .423. He also sets himself apart from other great sluggers because he is one of the game's best base runners and can play Gold Glove-caliber defense in the middle of the field."
Hamilton is having a fantastic season, no one can doubt that. And, with the Texas Rangers running away from the rest of the AL West and poised to win their first division title since 1999 and only the fourth in team history, Hamilton is a bona fide AL MVP candidate.
But perhaps Verducci's enthusiasm needs to be tempered a bit.