ARLINGTON, Texas -- The fact that both Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton left Wednesday's game with injuries -- Hamilton has a sore left knee that manager Ron Washington said was "not serious" and Beltre has a strained left shoulder and had an MRI done to determine the severity -- is another reminder of how important they are in the lineup. When their names aren't in the Nos. 3 and 4 spots, the Rangers look like a different offensive team.
So which one is more valuable?
For me, it's Beltre. Besides the important offensive numbers he puts up batting fourth and giving Hamilton protection, Beltre is a master with the glove. In fact, he was injured on yet another impressive play, diving to his left to stop a hard-hit grounder off the bat of Russ Canzler and then hopping up and throwing to first. Beltre makes the impossible not only look possible, but fairly routine. And he does it at one of the toughest positions on the field.
He also has the offensive numbers to back him up. Beltre is hitting .318, a mark that has him in the top-5 in the AL. He has 32 home runs, 92 RBIs (seventh in the AL), 50 multi-hit games, is second in the league in total bases and fifth in slugging percentage. Beltre has been one of the club's most consistent offensive producers in 2012.
However, the best stat might be his WAR (Wins Above Replacement). It's 5.6, which is fourth in the AL behind Mike Trout (10.4), Robinson Cano (6.2) and Miguel Cabrera (5.7). It's also two wins better than Josh Hamilton. Texas is also 27-3 when Beltre homers this season. (Thanks to Mark Simon of ESPN Stats & Information.)
But don't underestimate Hamilton's importance, either. The 2010 AL MVP had two struggling months in June and July. But he dominated the league in April and May and has hit the ball well in August and September. Hamilton's 41 home runs lead the AL. He has 121 RBIs, the most in the big leagues. He's scored 95 runs, second to only Trout in the AL and is top-3 in total bases and slugging percentage.
The two provide a critical punch to the offense in some of the most crucial positions in the lineup. And that's why several teammates talked after Wednesday's win about keeping their fingers crossed that both would be day-to-day and back in the order soon.
It's your turn. Which player is more valuable and why: Adrian Beltre or Josh Hamilton?