Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton has been voted the Budweiser Presents American League Player of the Month for April. Budweiser, the official beer sponsor of Major League Baseball and sponsor of 24 of 30 clubs, is also the presenting sponsor of the National League and American League Player of the Month Awards.
Hamilton batted .395 (34-for-86) with three doubles, nine home runs, 25 RBI and 20 runs scored in 22 games during April to win his fourth career monthly award (also April and May 2008, and June 2010) and the second straight for the Rangers after teammate Adrian Beltre took home honors last September to wrap up the 2011 season. Among A.L. leaders in April (minimum 84 plate appearances), the four-time All-Star finished first in home runs, RBI and slugging percentage (.744), second in batting average and runs scored, tied for second in hits and placed fourth in onbase percentage (.438). Hamilton’s nine homers matched a club record for April (also Ivan Rodriguez in 2000, Alex Rodriguez in 2002, Carl Everett in 2003 and Ian Kinsler in 2007). He also joined Pete Incaviglia (1987) as the only Rangers with nine home runs in the club’s first 20 games of a season. Hamilton and Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers became just the seventh and eighth players since 1921 to post minimums of nine home runs, 25 RBI, 20 runs scored and 34 hits in the month of April. The last American Leaguer to accomplish the feat was Jermaine Dye of the Kansas City Royals in 2000.
The 30-year-old hit safely in 13 of his first 14 games, in 19 of 22 games overall in April, and enjoyed a season-long seven-game hitting streak from April 13th-21st, batting .484 (15-for-31) with two doubles, four homers, 12 RBI and nine runs scored. During the string, the first overall pick in the 1999 First-Year Player Draft (by Tampa Bay) homered in three straight contests from April 14th-17th and had a trio of three-hit games. On April 14th against the Twins at Target Field, the Raleigh, North Carolina native recorded the first of four straight multi-hit games with two doubles, a solo homer and three runs scored as Texas topped Minnesota, 6-2. On April 17th, the lefty slugger went 3-for-5 with a homer and a career-high-tying five RBI as the Rangers defeated the Boston Red Sox, 18-3, at Fenway Park. It was the third time in his career that the 2010 A.L. Most Valuable Player notched five RBI in a game, and his first since May 27, 2008.
Others receiving votes included Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (.405, 9 2B, 6 HR, 20 RBI, 17 R); Toronto Blue Jays infielder and designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (.322, 8 2B, 8 HR, 21 RBI, 15 R); Twins outfielder Josh Willingham (.347, 7 2B, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 13 R); and New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (.389, 6 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 16 R).
The Budweiser Presents American League Player of the Month, Josh Hamilton, will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, for his accomplishment.