Billy Hamilton: The Stolen Bases King and September Call-up?
We all know that Reds prospect Billy Hamilton is really fast, but now he is also a record holder. On Tuesday night, the speedster stole four bases to give him a total of 147 on the season. Hamilton now owns the single-season steals records for professional baseball, which was previously held by Cardinals great Vince Coleman (145 SBs in 1983, Class A), and he did it in only 120 games.
This is all well and good, but what Hamilton’s speed could mean for this year’s pennant race is what the Reds organization needs to consider now. As I have alluded to before, I think that the Reds would be crazy to leave Hamilton in the minor leagues come September. Here are three reasons why the Reds should call Hamilton up as soon as they can expand their rosters:
1. Cost/benefit Ratio: Calling Hamilton up in September would maybe cost him 50-100 minor league at-bats (which are important for overall development), but his speed used in a late-game pinch running situations is enough to possibly win the Reds a Postseason series. It would be much more advantageous for the Reds to have his legs waiting on the major league bench than being used on a AA diamond.
2. Added Threat: The Reds are one of the worst teams in MLB when it comes to stealing bases. If base stealing is added to their repertoire, that makes them just that much more dangerous in a playoff series.
3. Mental Havoc: There is not much that can rattle a major league pitcher/catcher battery more than a burner on the base paths. Again, in a late game situation, you want any advantage that you can get. Adding Hamilton to the mix would give them a physical and mental advantage over their competition.
Ultimately, seeing an athlete like Billy Hamilton in our game is incredibly exciting. The single-season record could end up being the first of many for this special young player.