Will Josh Hamilton win MVP despite injury?
As ESPN.com's Rob Neyer points out in his latest award update column, it's about what the guys behind Josh Hamilton in the running for the MVP do while he's out.
Hamilton, who said Tuesday that if his treatment goes as planned he wants to get in the final four or five games of the season, is hitting .361 with 31 homers and 97 RBIs. If he plays five more games, he'll finish the 2010 campaign with 135 games under his belt.
Neyer points out that players have won MVPs with fewer games than that before:
Joe Mauer won with 133 games last year. In 1985, George Brett won the award with only 117 games. What did those guys have in common? Both sported gaudy batting averages. Brett's .390 was the highest by a major leaguer since 1941; Mauer's .365 was the highest by a catcher in American League history.
Granted, Hamilton's current .361 isn't quite as impressive as those figures. But it's 30 points higher than the No. 2 guy (Mauer), and that batting average has come with a great deal of power, too. If the season ended today, Hamilton would be a fairly easy choice.
So it would come down to whether Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano or even Jose Bautista (Neyer throws in Evan Longoria and Adrian Beltre, too) can have really great weeks to get the attention of voters.
I'm still betting on Hamilton. Are you?
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