Josh Hamilton: AL MVP favorite?

Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton has to be the AL MVP favorite at this point, doesn't he? We all know what he did in June. But Hamilton's entire second half of the season (since the All-Star break) has been one of the best of the bunch when it comes to MVP candidates. Here's a look at how some of the MVP candidates have done in the second half:

Josh Hamilton: 43-for-107 (.402) with 4 homers and 16 RBI and a 1.121 OPS. Hamilton's batting average is third best in the MLB since the break. His overall 2010 numbers: .359, 26 homers, 80 RBI, 1.040 OPS.

Miguel Cabrera: 34-for-109 (.312) with 6 homers and 19 RBI to go along with a 1.019 OPS. His overall 2010 numbers: .337, 28 homers, 96 RBI, 1.060 OPS.

Robinson Cano: 23-for-115 (.278) with 6 homers and 16 RBI. He has a .905 OPS. Cano's overall 2010 numbers: .322, 22 homers, 74 RBI, .934 OPS.

Joe Mauer: 46-for-108 (.426) with 3 homers and 28 RBI. Mauer is leading the majors in batting average since the break. His overall 2010 numbers: .329, 7 HR, 63 RBI, .884 OPS.

To me, this is still a competition headed by Hamilton and Cabrera. Mauer, the 2009 AL MVP, has played very well since the All-Star break, putting himself in the competition as well. But Cano hasn't been able to keep up his numbers from the first half and while Paul Konerko has good power numbers, his overall average isn't close to Hamilton or Cabrera.

It is worth noting (and thanks to the ESPN Stats & Information folks for pointing this out) that Cabrera's hasn't slipped much without Magglio Ordonez in the lineup. Cabrera is hitting .296 with 4 HR, 10 RBI and 24 walks with Ordonez out. But he's slipped some overall in the batting average and RBI in this second half.

Cabrera has two more homers than Hamilton, but 16 more RBI. That's impressive. But his team is 58-61 and 11 games out in the AL Central. That can't help his cause. Meanwhile, Hamilton continues to collect big hits and he certainly had an MVP-worthy game on Friday against the Red Sox. That was a chance for some MVP voters to take a look at Hamilton against a high-profile team as he was instrumental in the club making a comeback from 6 runs down. Hamilton was 4-for-5 with four runs scored and a homer. He made a couple of tremendous catches and an aggressive play on the bases to score a run. He did it all. That's what MVPs are supposed to do.

Because of how well the Twins are playing, Mauer is certainly in the conversation. But overall this season, with how the Rangers have played and what Hamilton has done, he's got to be the MVP favorite, doesn't he? What do you think?