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Fantasy Baseball Preview: Josh Hamilton Fantasy Rankings: Is He Worth the Risk?

Is Texas Rangers' player Josh Hamilton worth taking a chance on in fantasy baseball 2012? Josh Hamilton did help lead the Rangers to their second World Series in a row, the first team to win the pennant two years in a row since the 2008-2009 Philadelphia Phillies. The Josh Hamilton statistics for 2011 were also good: Hamilton hit .298 last year, with 25 homers and 94 RBI over 121 games.

However, when it comes to the slugger, Josh Hamilton statistics are only part of the story. Hamilton is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict who missed more than three years of his early career due to his addictions. Hamilton nearly lost his career due to drugs and alcohol, and currently has to be drug tested three times a week.

With the exception of one night three years ago where he was seen drinking in public, Josh Hamilton seems to have been on the straight and narrow in recent years. He won the American League Most Valuable Player award in 2010, and whenever his team won a round in the playoffs, they celebrated with ginger ale rather than champagne in honor of his recovery. But last month, Josh Hamilton relapsed on alcohol - the second time he was caught drinking in the past three years.

Early last month, the Rangers talked about having Hamilton's father-in-law as his "accountability partner", something Hamilton has had ever since he became a Ranger, after his previous accountability partner, Johnny Narron, left the team to become the Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach. However, Hamilton said he didn't need an accountability partner anymore. Not long afterwards, Josh Hamilton publicly admitted to having at least three or four beers at a Dallas-area bar after the news broke that he was spotted drinking there. He had to hold a press conference to alleviate concerns, and the Texas Rangers then had to hire him a new accountability partner, Shayne Kelley.

When it comes to fantasy baseball advice, there are two big issues when it comes to picking Hamilton for fantasy baseball 2012 - the first is the possibility that he could relapse again, and miss time due to a suspension. However, the other issue with Hamilton has nothing to do with addictions; it has to do with injuries. He has a history of missing a good portion of time due to injuries - even in his 2010 MVP year, Josh Hamilton missed nearly 30 games, and last season, he missed almost 40 games. When it comes to fantasy baseball 2012, Hamilton is still in the Top 25 to Top 50 players, depending on which list is being looked at, but given the twin issues of addiction and injuries, he could be a big risk for a fantasy league team. While Josh Hamilton statistics are enticing, the thought of him missing significant time is not.

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