Oh My Josh!

Posted: May 10, 2012 by Kodi in MLB

Josh Hamilton’s name is in the record books after blasting 4 HR’s in one game against Baltimore

He battles his demons and dealt with off-the-field issues but is playing better than ever

His hot start has led the Texas Rangers to the best record in baseball, but what’s next?

It wasn’t long ago that Josh Hamilton was in the media for another relapse, but amidst the rumors of alcohol abuse and sexual contact the 30 year old outfielder his off to one of the hottest starts in MLB history. Hamilton was 5-5 with 4 two-run HR’s and a double against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night becoming just the 16th player to have 4 bombs in the same game. He is just the 6th player form the American League to accomplish such a feat and the 1st player since 1B Carlos Delgado did it for the Toronto Blue Jays in September of 2003.  Hamilton explained that “you don’t go out and try to do that, you just try to do the best you can, and if you break a record . . . great. You try to be the best player you can be for yourself and your team.” Andrus was on first base and thinking to himself “let’s see what pitch he hits out now” and when Darren O’Day hung a sinker, Hamilton crushed it over the centerfield wall.

The Texas Rangers have never had a 4 HR game by any player and Hamilton’s double in the 5th inning game him 5 extra-base hits, another franchise record, but his 8 RBI was one shy of C Ivan Rodriguez’s team record. His big game had him tally 18 total bases which is a new single game American League record and if you go back to his final at-bat on Monday night, he homered, the slugger is 6-6 with 5 HR’s, 10 RBI and 22 total bases. When asked what it was like stepping up to the plate with 3 HR’s and a chance to bash a 4th Josh said that he “prepared like any other at-bat” and if he didn’t hit another it would still have been a great night.

This April Josh won the AL Player of the month award for April hitting .395/.438/.744 with 9 HR’s and 25 RBI. Hamilton leads the league with his .406 batting average, 14 HR’s and 36 RBI and his great start has led Texas to an MLB best 20-10 record. Everyone knew what Hamilton was capable of, which is why he was drafted with the #1 overall pick by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 1999 amateur draft. Hamilton battled through cocaine, alcohol an ecstasy addictions missing the first 3 years of his career and putting his future in doubt.

Hamilton is averaging a homerun every 8.57 at bats and if he keeps up with this incredible pace he will hit 75 HR’s breaking Barry Bonds record*. When Bonds hit 73 HR’s during the 2001 season he averaged a blast in just over every 9 at bats. Bonds opened the 2011 season by hitting 11 HR’s with 22 RBI and hitting .240/.363./.747. Hamilton is indeed on a record pace and he’s doing it with his wife and Jesus on his side, meanwhile Bonds records are tainted with an asterisk because he did it with Victor Conte and Greg Anderson.

The last time that Rangers lead-off hitter, SS Elvis Andrus, didn’t reach base we were just four games into the season. Since then the young stud has made it on base for 26 straight games, but what’s more amazing is that Andrus was on base for all 5 of Hamilton’s latest HR’s. “I’m his lucky charm,” Andrus told reporters “every time I get on base, he hits a homerun.”  The Rangers are the highest scoring team in baseball plating 170 runs in 30 games with a MLB leading team batting average of .293, ten points higher than the team in 2nd.

The real worry is Josh Hamilton’s contract situation, as he is in the final year of his deal, but how much is he worth to the Rangers. He has battled through multiple injuries and he’s one slip away from being a junkie lurking in dark alleys, so the real question is ‘how much is Josh Hamilton worth?’ My answer, A LOT, and we are likely to see him sign a decent sized deal before the end of this season despite being in his 30’s, because he’s got the body of a drug abusing 27 year old.

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