Monday, August 03, 2009
On October 1st of last year things looked great for Josh Hamilton. The Natural has just finished his first campaign with the Texas Rangers, he had won fans and admiration from his terrific season and his sparkling home run derby production. He had dominated opposing AL pitching to the tune of 130 RBI, 32 Home Runs and a .304 average. He looked as if he had turned the corner and was going to ferever live up to the potential that once made him the top overall pick.
On April 1st of this year, Hamilton was wrapping up his spring training. A Spring training where he easily replicated his beastly 2008 production. In Spring Training this season Hamilton hit 7 HRs, batted .370 and averaged an RBI per game in just 81 at bats. Again everything pointed towards a replication of 2008. But 2009 was not meant to build off his success in 2008. 2009 was meant to test the fortitude of Josh Hamilton and to test the man he's become since he battled back from drug addiction.
On August 1st, Josh Hamilton had already spent over a month and a half on the disable list, a combination of two different trips to the DL. He had just 7 homers which matched his production in spring training. He was batting just .222. He had just 29 RBIs for the season, a total he matched in the Month of May in 2008 and exceeded in the Month of April.
Everything was looking down in the dumps for Hamilton but one other differing factor from 2008 to 2009. Hamilton's Rangers are actually squarely in the pennant & wild card races this season. Despite the glaring lack of production from their best player, the Rangers are in it. Despite being awful all year, Hamilton can now have a terrific August and September and help lead his team to the playoffs. Will he do it? Who knows, but we can sure hope that the player described as a Natural returns to the point of deserving the nickname.