No hitters, perfect games, 300 strike out seasons, unassisted triple plays, walk off home runs… there are many instances of individual dominance throughout the Bigs. After witnessing Phillip Humber’s perfecto and Jered Weaver’s no-no already in this early season, we assumed the best had yet to come. After Josh Hamilton’s four homerun display earlier this week against the Orioles, I don’t know if we can assume that anymore.
A pure display of offensive dominance, early American League MVP frontrunner (and impending Free Agent) Hamilton put on a historical showcase this week. His four home runs (done for the first time since Carlos Delgado walloped four in 2003) and one measly, weak double tallied 18 total bases (an AL record, one shy of tying Shawn Green’s ML mark), eight RBI, and a few more million added to his next contract. Hamilton While Hamilton is surely a risk off of the field, his production on the field and in the batter’s box certainly warrants a deal in the Matt Kemp range ($180 million).
It will certainly be interesting to see the market for Hamilton this winter. If you happen to live under a rock which occupies a space on one of Jupiter’s moons, then you may not know that Hamilton is a recovering addict. You name it, he’s done it. To excess at that. He was the #1 overall pick by the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays in 1999. A can’t miss prospect who possessed all five tools at a young age, Tampa Bay selected Hamilton the pick ahead of two time World Series winner Josh Beckett. A move that seemed like a major gaff through the 2007 season when Beckett was popping champagne for the second time in his career. Today, the AL East is thankful the Rays do not possess Hamilton’s bat. And with good reason. They’re also probably happy the Sox have Beckett right now, but that’s an entirely different story.
During his time in Tampa’s farm system, Hamilton could barely stay on the field. Not because he wasn’t talented enough. It was because his vices had overtaken him. Tampa was left with seemingly an easy decision: pay this drug addict an absurdly large bonus from his rookie contract or set him free in the Rule 5 draft. Tampa chose the latter, Cincinnati took a flier, and Hamilton cleaned up his act as a member of the Reds organization.
But, his stint with the Reds was brief. Capitalizing on their investment, the Reds sold high and Hamilton was shipped out of town to Arlington for another “can’t miss prospect” Edinson Volquez. Sick trade, Cincy. Joey Votto WITH Josh Hamilton AND Jay Bruce AND Brandon Phillips? *Sigh*. Hey, at least you ridded yourself of Yonder Alonso and Volquez for Mat Latos! There’s always that…right?
Since his time in Texas, Hamilton has won one MVP (so far), won an ALCS MVP, been to two World Series, and only had two minor hiccups on an otherwise angelic record under Ron Washington’s tutelage (I bet those two could fill a book with tales debauchery that would make Oil Can Boyd blush). The man deserves some trust at this point in his career. The Yankees will come calling. The Red Sox will make a token offer. Hell, the newly financed Dodgers may gladly ink Hamilton and escort Andre Ethier to LAX. To be honest, it wouldn’t shock me if Dan Duquette, the man who brought Manny Ramirez to Boston, tried his damnedest to get Hamilton in Camden Yards. But Nolan Ryan will not let his star go without a fight.
But, for this season, Hamilton has his Rangers primed for another trip to the Fall Classic. While the Rangers lost their ace for the second consecutive season to free agency, their lineup continues to rake with Hamilton at center stage. As of today, Hamilton is hitting .407 with 17 home runs and 40 RBI. Over the past week alone, he has 13 hits – eight homers and that weak, piss poor double. While another lefty top overall selection has made waves with his debut through gaudy stats amidst controversy, Hamilton continues to reign supreme. Enjoy this season my friends, it has the potential to continue to be historic.