It has been an amazing week for Reds top prospect Billy Hamilton. He continues to sprint through the record book seemingly on his way to shattering the Minor League baseball single season stolen base record. As of this writing he has amassed 90 stolen bases in 107 attempts for an 84.1% success rate. His last five games have been even more shocking as he has collected 15 stolen bases, 9 hits, 9 walks and 9 runs scored while getting caught stealing just once. All this in just 26 plate appearances. That works out to be an On Base Percentage of .692, and a batting average of .529. Only 9 other players in the California League have stolen more than 15 bases ALL SEASON, he did it in 5 games…
Game Break: The Blaze are playing this afternoon and Billy was caught stealing for the 18th time in the first inning following a walk.
Just 5 days ago MLB.com announced the Hamilton was selected, along with AA pitching prospect Kyle Lotzkar, to appear in the Sirius XM All Star Futures Game. Hamilton will represent the US team while the Canadian born Lotzkar will represent the World team. It is just one more chance for Billy to run. He managed to go just 1-5 in the mid season All Star game yet still stole two bases that won’t even count in his bloated season total.
Game Break: Billy grounds out to the second baseman to lead off the 4th inning.
After a blistering month of April, Hamilton saw his numbers dip a bit in May but has come on strong to end the 1st half and is off to a blazing start as the 2nd half of the season ramps up. He batted .398 in 23 games in April, dropped to .262 in May but has rebounded nicely with a .370 average and a .511 OBP this month. Around baseball, people are noticing the Hamilton phenomenon as a result. Craig Goldstein, at FakeTeams.com wrote
“He will make his living wreaking havoc on the basepaths, something he should be able to do quite effectively. To put it simply, he is the most exciting player in the minor leagues, and quite possibly the majors as well. “
Game Break: Billy singles to lead off the 6th inning and with Devin Lohman batting steals second for his 91st steal of the season.
If you search for Billy on Google you might stumble on this article written on the BaseballAmerica.com blog. The fantasy crowd might listen in to Sports Illustrated’s Eric Mack who suggests that Hamilton might be brought up to the majors in September just to give the Reds a speedy baserunning threat at the end of the season. He also mentions that Billy was robbed at gunpoint while in Winston-Salem to participate in the California League/Carolina League All Star Game.
Game Break: Hamilton grounds out to short to end the seventh inning.
No matter where Billy spends this season he will be a threat to run wild. As Goldstein so aptly put it, when he is on base he is the most exciting player in organized baseball. Stay tuned for more on this developing story!
Game Break: The game has moved into the 10th inning and Billy flies out to left field to lead off. Remembering Willy Mays Hays in the movie Major Leagues I would expect Hamilton to drop to the ground over home plate and give me 20 pushups. Score is still 4-4 vs Visalia.
Final Game Break: With 2 out in the bottom of the 10th inning Visalia Rawhide First Baseman Wagner Mateo delivers a double to win the game 5-4 over Bakersfield. Visalia is the Advanced A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
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