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Billy Hamilton has 100 steals in 78 games

Jul 3, 2012, 9:40 AM EDT

billy hamilton reds

This is getting ridiculous. Reds farmhand Billy Hamilton stole his 100th base last night. He’s played in 78 games.  That puts him on a pace for 179 steals. When we last took notice of his pace in early June he was projected to steal a mere 160. The affiliated professional record is held by Vince Coleman, who swiped 145 for Macon in the Sally League in 1983.

Hamilton currently plays for Bakersfield in the California League, which is high-A. At present he’s hitting .327/.417/.447. While the team is mum about his future, it would seem time for him to find some catchers with better arms to humiliate.

  1. Ben - Jul 3, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    You have to wonder if Hamilton could steal the next 46 bases hopping.

    • CJ - Jul 3, 2012 at 11:50 AM

      Chapman dared him to do somersaults on #146

  2. thefalcon123 - Jul 3, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    Coleman stole those 145 bases in just 113 games.

    …which is the exact pace Billy Hamilton is on. Coleman was caught 31 times, Hamilton is on pace to get caught 30 times.

    I always wondered how many bases Coleman could have stolen if he had good on base skills. In 1986, he swipped 107 bags while posting a lowly .301 OBP.

  3. alexb64 - Jul 3, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    Considering I didn’t think I’d ever see another player steal 100 bases in a season, I’m already amazed.

  4. seeinred87 - Jul 3, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    And he’s stealing them with about an 83% success rate. That’s not quite as high as I thought it would be, given everything I’ve read about him, but it’s still pretty darn good.

    You can see in a couple of his YouTube videos that catchers don’t even bother sometimes. Let’s hope he gets on base in the Futures Game so we can get a glimpse of what’s to come.

    • ajcardsfan - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:16 AM

      Even though it’s the minors, he’s had 100 steals with an 83% success rate that’s around 120 attempts. So in 78 games he’s had the opportunity to steal 120 times. That’s pretty impressive, and yes I know you can steal more than once while you’re on base.

  5. Ari Collins - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    Unfortunately, you can’t steal first, and there’s still some question about Billy’s bat (Cal League numbers are notoriously inflated), as well as his defensive position. Be damn exciting, though, if he can sick!

    • Francisco (FC) - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:49 AM

      Professional Pinch Runner?

    • bluesfan58 - Jul 3, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      Sounds like an exciting player. I miss the days when stealing was more prevalent. Although his OBP could be an issue, I look at it like this: if he was only a .250 hitter, and got 100 singles out of 400 at bats, would you trade those (at an 83% stolen base rate) for 83 doubles instead? To be in scoring position 83 times out of every 400 at bats would be great. Needless to say, how he does in the majors is hard to say, but even as a Cardinal fan, I think the Reds need to find a place for this kid…

  6. eshine76 - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    I remember watching Esix Snead steal 109 bases in the Carolina League in 2000. That was incredible to watch, but 100 before July 4th is just ridiculous. Good luck to him.

    • Ben - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:12 AM

      That’s not a real name. Or, at least, not a real name post-1938.
      Is it?

      • eshine76 - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:30 AM

        http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/sneades01.shtml

      • Ben - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:33 AM

        That made my day, thanks! That’s awesome.

      • pauleee - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:40 AM

        Never made it to the bigs because he was a poorly fielding shortstop?

  7. sincitybonobo - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    He’s been caught stealing 21 times.

    That’s a net 79 extra bases, added to his official total of 142. Though not scientific or official, if those two numbers were added together, his SLG% would be .695. OPS 1.112.

    It may not translate exactly to that, but the point is that his slash line doesn’t tell the whole story. The difference between a slow baserunner with an identical slash line and Hamilton has the approximate effect of a .250 bump in SLG%. Wow.

    As Craig noted, he will be tested by tougher batteries as he progresses.

    But, if his skills translate to The Show, a lineup of Hamilton, Phillips, Votto, Bruce would be tough to duplicate.

    The Reds appear to have something special here. He turns 22 in September.

  8. amhendrick - Jul 3, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    Why aren’t we calling him Slidin’ Billy?

    • bigleagues - Jul 3, 2012 at 11:30 AM

      Because there’s nothing more annoying (or uncreative) than lazily taking the nickname from one of his namesake predecessors (and fellow base thief) and applying it to the contemporary Billy Hamilton.

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/h/hamilbi01.shtml

      As far as I know the Red’s Hamilton is yet to be adorned with a nickname that sticks . . . but I saw someone joke somewhere that opposing Catchers have already dubbed him Billy “Effing” Hamilton.

      • ugglasforearms - Jul 3, 2012 at 1:26 PM

        I like the “Sliding Billy” nickname. I think it would be a tribute to a great player / Hall of Famer. Just my 2 cents worth.

      • amhendrick - Jul 3, 2012 at 4:32 PM

        I disagree. 19th Century nicknames are fun, and it is hard to pass up the chance to use it when a player with the same name and apparent skill set comes along.

      • bigleagues - Jul 3, 2012 at 5:43 PM

        Leave 19th Century nicknames in the 19th century.

        “Sliding Billy” is not even a good nickname. If there had never been a “Sliding Billy” would we even be discussing that name? I highly doubt it.

        Everyone who plays, slides. Not everyone who plays, however, can prolifically steal bases. In fact, elite base stealers are rare. So Billy Hamilton’s nickname, you would think, should reflect his ability to swipe bags.

        “Sliding Billy” doesn’t cut it.

    • nightman13 - Jul 3, 2012 at 3:26 PM

      Only nickname I approve of is Billy Mays Hamilton

      • nightman13 - Jul 3, 2012 at 3:35 PM

        *****Correction Billy Mays Hayes Hamilton *****

  9. jengibre23 - Jul 3, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    Damn why is this guy not in the bigs just on his pure speed. I would bring him up as fast as I could

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