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1st-pitch swings: Josh Hamilton leads MLB

It likely comes as little surprise to Texas Rangers fans that Josh Hamilton leads all of big league baseball in first-pitch swings.

Hamilton is swinging at the first pitch 64 percent of the time, according to ESPN Stats & Information (thanks to Mark Malzewski for researching it). That's the highest rate in baseball.

But judging by the results, Hamilton needs to keep swinging until the opposing pitchers decide not to throw him a pitch he can hit to start an at-bat. He is 5-for-9 when swinging at the first pitch with two homers, including that mammoth shot Sunday at Target Field in Minnesota. That homer was also the winning shot for the Rangers, who sit at 8-2 as they enjoy their first off day of the 2012 season.

Hamilton, by the way, led the league in first-pitch swings in 2011 with a 47 percent swing rate.

The average MLB hitter swings at the first pitch in one of every four plate appearances, to put into perspective how Hamilton is well above the average.

The only way to keep Hamilton from staying aggressive on those first pitches is for opposing hurlers to expand the zone and throw him something outside the strike zone on the first pitch. Otherwise, Hamilton is content to swing at anything in his wheelhouse. And right now, he's smoking the ball on those first pitches.