Josh Hamilton wins American League MVP

Josh Hamilton

HamiltonTexas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton won the American League MVP award Tuesday after a stellar season in which he hit .359 with 32 home runs, 100 RBI and 95 runs scored in only 133 games. He led the AL in batting average, slugging and OPS, and his .359 average was the highest in Rangers franchise history in a single season.

Hamilton is only the third Ranger ever to hit .325 with 30 home runs and 100 RBI, joining former MVPs Juan Gonzalez and Ivan Rodriguez. And he’s the fifth different player in franchise history to win the MVP award.

Josh Hamilton 2010 Season

Hamilton set career highs in doubles, batting average, slugging and on-base percentage and tied his career high in home runs. Hamilton’s league-leading .359 batting average was impressive considering that he was hitting just .281 in the first two months of the season.

And the left-handed Hamilton was outstanding against right-handed pitchers, hitting .401. That’s the second-highest average against righties in the major leagues over the last 35 seasons, behind only Tony Gwynn’s .404 in 1994 (min. 2.3 PA per team game).

Since MLB went to a 162-game schedule in 1961, only four position players have won the MVP award and played in fewer games in an uninterrupted season. Those four players are some pretty good company: George Brett, Mickey Mantle, Willie Stargell and Barry Bonds.

Miguel Cabrera

CabreraDetroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera finished second after hitting .328 with a career high 38 home runs, a league-leading 126 RBI and 111 runs scored. He led the league with a .420 on-base percentage and a 179 OPS+ and slugged a career-high .622. He walked 89 times (career-high) and struck out just 95 times, his fewest strikeouts in a season in which he played at least 100 games.

He was second in the league in hitting and OPS and third in home runs and won the Silver Slugger at a typically loaded position. And Cabrera was just the third player in Tigers franchise history to hit .320 with 30 home runs and 100 RBI in a season, joining Norm Cash and Hank Greenberg.

New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano finished third after hitting .319 with 29 home runs, 109 RBI and 103 runs scored. Cano won the Rawlings Gold Glove this season and became only the fifth second baseman since 1950 to have 200 hits and 100 RBI in the same season. But he tailed off a bit in the last two months after starting the season real hot. Cano hit .334 through the end of July and just .294 from August 1 on.

Highest WAR American League Position Players 2010 Season

Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays got a first-place vote and finished fourth after leading the league with 54 home runs and 351 total bases. He played in 161 games and set career highs in nearly every statistical category.

He also finished tied for third in the American League in the next-level metric Wins Above Replacement, which combines a player’s performance both offensively and defensively, in an effort to gauge which player, based on performance and position played, would be toughest to replace.