Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton is single-handedly bringing back one of the most exciting feats in Major League Baseball, the stolen base.
On Monday night, Hamilton stole four bases against the Minnesota Twins giving him 40 for the season. The second-year outfielder is now on pace to steal 86 bases, which would make him the first player to steal at least 80 bases in a single season since Rickey Henderson (93) and Vince Coleman (81) both did it in 1988.
But what is really amazing is that 86 stolen bases may actually be a low bar for Hamilton. He’s getting better at stealing bases as the season goes on, and he is still not very good at the most important aspect of base thievery: getting on base.
Hamilton has nearly as many stolen bases in June (19) as he had in April and May combined (21). Those 19 stolen bases in June are more than 25 teams have in the same month and are more than the Dodgers (14) have all season.
Even if Hamilton reaches just 75 stolen bases, he will achieve something that has nearly disappeared from the game.
Now imagine how many bases Hamilton could steal if he could get on base.
Hamilton has an on-base percentage of .273, 42 points below the MLB average of .315. That rate has improved to .295 over the last month but is still not very good.
If Hamilton matures into his role at the plate, stealing 100 bases should become an annual target for the speedster, something that has only been accomplished by four different players in MLB history.
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