May 16, 2012
As you probably already know, Josh Hamilton currently leads the American League in basically every major hitting category, by a wide margin. He has a five-homer lead over Curtis Granderson, a 14-RBI edge over Miguel Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion, and his batting average is 36 points higher than Derek Jeter's. He ranks first in the AL in slugging percentage at .848, which puts him 215 points ahead of the dude in second place, David Ortiz.
Hamilton is coming off one of the most impressive one-week individual slugging performances in baseball history, going 13-for-28 with nine home runs and 16 RBIs from May 6 to May 12. Only Frank Howard has ever hit more bombs in a single week. He's good, this Hamilton fella — very good.
The trade questions began rolling in via Twitter on Wednesday, after Hamilton single-handedly destroyed the Orioles with a record-tying four-dinger outburst. The deals were typically two-for-ones, with an elite starting pitcher and an early-round hitter packaged for Hamilton. It was David Price and Ian Kinsler in one deal, CC Sabathia and Justin Upton in another.
Now c'mon, those are pretty spectacular hauls, no matter your opinion of Hamilton. All the big issues we worried about back in February still exist with this player — elevated injury risk, elevated personal demon risk — and it's not like we're just now finding out that he's capable of delivering best-in-game stats. If you're a Hamilton owner who's looking to cash out, I get it.
...but in this case, I can also understand the desire to buy or hold. There's a Triple Crown buzz surrounding Hamilton, and that's a feat we haven't seen in the fantasy era. He's on pace for something like 80 homers and 200 RBIs. Someday you might tell your grandchildren about the magical year you owned Hamilton in AL-only roto.
...or you'll flip him immediately in AL-only, because the threat of injury is so great and replacement value in your league is so low.
I suppose the bottom line here is that I wish I had your problems, Hamilton owner. Instead, I'm the guy waiting impatiently for the Jose Bautista surge. If you've been on either side of a Josh Hamilton deal in recent days, please share the details below, after the lively video. Trading volume has been high, so a few of you should have stories to tell...