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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Billy Hamilton, Reds minor leaguer, records 100th stolen base of the season

I looked across and there I saw Billy
Waiting to go and join the record book line.

In just his 78th game of the season, Reds minor-leaguer Billy Hamilton stole his 100th base of the season on Monday night at Class A Bakersfield.

Hamilton entered the game against Lake Elsinore with 98 steals. In the fifth inning of the game, he walked and stole second, before advancing to third on a throwing error by the Storm catcher, Eddy Rodriguez. Hamilton had an infield single in the eighth inning and stole second for his 100th stolen base of the season (pictured above, photo courtesy of Cherished Memories Photography.)

Last year Hamilton became the first player to steal 100 bases in a minor-league season since 2001 to reach the mark. He finished the season with 103. That was in 135 games.

Hamilton is hitting .327/.417/.447 with a home run, 17 doubles and nine triples. He’s been caught stealing 21 times. He has 104 hits and 48 walks on the season.

Repoz Posted: July 03, 2012 at 06:07 AM | 67 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: minors

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   1. zachtoma Posted: July 03, 2012 at 06:51 AM (#4171914)
That is just insane. What else is there to say? He's been on base 152 times and has 100 stolen bases. And that slash line looks superficially nice as well - I hope he makes the majors, maybe some records will fall.
   2. Cooper Nielson Posted: July 03, 2012 at 06:55 AM (#4171915)
Billy, keep your head low.
   3. zachtoma Posted: July 03, 2012 at 07:10 AM (#4171921)
I've also thought that a good, easy way to measure the value of a player's base-stealing might be to simply subtract a hit for each CS, and add 1 total base for each SB - in Hamilton's case, this gives him an effective line of .261/.358/.695
   4. shoewizard Posted: July 03, 2012 at 07:37 AM (#4171926)
No, because the stolen base doesn't advance anyone else or drive anyone else in, so that inflated slugging percentage due to the "extra bases" is not a good indication of value.



   5. Sean Forman Posted: July 03, 2012 at 07:52 AM (#4171929)
Henderson's highest was 172 attempts in 149 games. Hamilton is a 121 in 78 games. Insane.

What is he still doing in Bakersfield?

and what is the report on his fielding? If he can play a legit short, he's a pretty valuable player.
   6. UCCF Posted: July 03, 2012 at 08:47 AM (#4171942)
He'd be a great September call-up as a pinch-runner type, especially if the Reds are still in it. A guy like this could steal a couple of runs for you, even if his bat wasn't ML ready yet.
   7. BDC Posted: July 03, 2012 at 09:00 AM (#4171944)
This has been oft-discussed, but it is just such a happy development for baseball – much as if some A-ball team had a guy name Pete Browning batting .500 and another named Charlie Radbourn who had already won 25 games.
   8. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: July 03, 2012 at 09:18 AM (#4171950)
Where's Herb Washington when you really need him?
   9. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 03, 2012 at 10:10 AM (#4171986)
I feel bad for Rico Noel, who is now second in the California League with 56 steals. Last year's league leader for the whole season (Daniel Carroll of the Mariners) had 62, and #2 (Gary Brown) had 53.
   10. Dangerous Dean Posted: July 03, 2012 at 11:37 AM (#4172099)
Billy, don't be a hero.
   11. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: July 03, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4172100)
Must make more bases!
   12. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: July 03, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4172101)
Billy, keep your head low.

Billy, don't be a hero.


Always kinda hated that song, actually, especially at the end where she throws the letter away. Even as a nine-year-old kid, I thought, "Man, that's harsh!"
   13. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: July 03, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4172115)
82.6% success rate in the minors in very good, but do sb percentages drop when players make the bigs? If so, what success rate can we expect in the majors?
   14. Steve Treder Posted: July 03, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4172121)
Always kinda hated that song

If by "kinda" you mean "f@cking," then I concur.
   15. PreservedFish Posted: July 03, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4172124)
This is totally awesome. I hope he makes the majors and is lucky enough to have a manager that doesn't put the brakes on.
   16. McCoy Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4172132)
He plays for the Reds. Dusty will let him play once in a blue moon until he's 33 or so and then let him play full time.
   17. Dale Sams Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4172144)
If by "kinda" you mean "f@cking," then I concur.


I take it "Seasons in the Sun" didn't get a lot of playtime in your abode as well?
   18. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4172147)
But can he steal fifth base?
   19. Steve Treder Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4172148)
I take it "Seasons in the Sun" didn't get a lot of playtime in your abode as well?

Yeah, didn't quite make it onto the playlist.
   20. Steve Treder Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4172150)
This is totally awesome. I hope he makes the majors and is lucky enough to have a manager that doesn't put the brakes on.

Definitely.
   21. Nasty Nate Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:22 PM (#4172156)
Does anyone know if most of the CS were on pitch-outs?

But can he steal fifth base?


Yes, as long as the henchmen don't botch the robbery.
   22. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4172167)
"Seasons in the Sun"

That would also be an appropriate title for a song about a black guy playing for Dusty Baker...
   23. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4172177)
Yeah, didn't quite make it onto the playlist.

Big fan of "Mandy", though, right?
   24. Steve Treder Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4172183)
Big fan of "Mandy", though, right?

Candor compels me to admit that I genuinely liked Barry Manilow's song "Looks Like We Made It," that came out a few years later. Guilty pleasure. But, no, at the time of "Mandy," I could be counted upon to turn the dial of the AM radio from KLIV to KYA to see what else might be available.
   25. Steve Treder Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4172192)
The problem, of course, was that all the girls -- well, not quite all the girls, but the great majority of the girls -- liked all that bubblegum, so in order to maintain friendly relations (a crucial priority) one sometimes had to grit one's teeth and be patient until the next Led Zeppelin song came along. Realpolitik.
   26. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4172193)
"Which Way You Goin' Billy" gets screwed over AGAIN.
   27. DL from MN Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4172200)
I would hope stolen base % goes UP in the majors. The minors are supposed to be about development. Players should be pushing their capabilities on the basepaths to see what they can do. In the bigs they should pick their spots more carefully.
   28. DL from MN Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4172201)
The record for the most stolen bases at any level of professional baseball is 145, set by Vince Coleman in 1983 for the Class A Macon Redbirds.


I'd say he has a good shot at this one, assuming the record is still breakable if he gets promoted.
   29. Dale Sams Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4172211)
Big fan of "Mandy", though, right?


I do have a fond spot for "Ready to Take a Chance Again" because fo its association with Foul Play.
   30. bjhanke Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4172216)
What the BTF is going on here? I just finished reading a post about Brett Butler. Have homers sunk to THAT low a rate?

I also use zachtoma's (#3) method to try to get a handle on how good a SB man actually is. I remember one year computing Vince Coleman this way and the new OBP and SLG were most similar to ... Ron Kittle. Heh. Hard to imagine a hitter LESS like Coleman. It's not as dicey a method as shoewizard (#4) makes it out to be, because you don't steal a base that is already occupied, which means there is a situation bias - you only steal when there are few other runners ahead of you to advance. And that's not counting the advancement value of the event that got you on base in the first place. It's not a totally accurate method - shoewizard is correct about that - but it's not as bad as you'd think as a quick and dirty. - Brock Hanke
   31. Steve Treder Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4172223)
It's not a totally accurate method - shoewizard is correct about that - but it's not as bad as you'd think as a quick and dirty.

There's also the issue of throwing errors forced by all the running. It isn't a big deal, but neither is it vanishingly trivial.
   32. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4172230)
There's also the issue of throwing errors forced by all the running. It isn't a big deal, but neither is it vanishingly trivial.


That might be balanced out by batters letting good pitches go by so the guy can steal, thus hitting behind in the count more often.
   33. Steve Treder Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4172234)
That might be balanced out by batters letting good pitches go by so the guy can steal, thus hitting behind in the count more often.

It might, but I don't think we should be comfortable with assuming it to be so, especially with a guy who can steal so willfully as this guy.
   34. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4172240)
It might, but I don't think we should be comfortable with assuming it to be so, especially with a guy who can steal so willfully as this guy.


Meaning what? That we shouldn't be concerned with batting behind in the count, or that somehow with this guy throwing errors are a bigger deal?
   35. PreservedFish Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4172262)
That might be balanced out by batters letting good pitches go by so the guy can steal, thus hitting behind in the count more often.


I've never understood this practice. Is it done because the baserunner will be annoyed?
   36. Steve Treder Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4172266)
Meaning what? That we shouldn't be concerned with batting behind in the count, or that somehow with this guy throwing errors are a bigger deal?

Meaning:

a) In the absence of factual evidence, I don't think we should assume anything one way or the other

and

b) Since this sort of base-stealer isn't the garden-variety basestealer, likely he is able to steal successfully while consuming fewer pitches than is typical (acknowledging that this is a hypothesis, and not something we should assume to be true)
   37. Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4172268)
what is the report on his fielding? If he can play a legit short, he's a pretty valuable player.
Reading this threw me for a loop. I guess I had just assumed he was a center fielder.

I mean, the guy's name is Billy Hamilton, he steals bases at a ridiculous rate, and he hits for average. Of course he's a center fielder, right?
   38. Chase Insteadman Wannabe Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4172275)
and what is the report on his fielding? If he can play a legit short, he's a pretty valuable player.

If I recall correctly, the scouting reports are that he probably will not stay at shortstop, but is so fast that he will likely become a great defensive Center Fielder.

Reading this threw me for a loop. I guess I had just assumed he was a center fielder.

I mean, the guy's name is Billy Hamilton, he steals bases at a ridiculous rate, and he hits for average. Of course he's a center fielder, right?


So... Maybe yes?
   39. DL from MN Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4172321)
If a batter can advance a runner by taking a pitch he generally will do it. Get the guy into scoring position and your odds of a double play go down and the odds the player scores go way up. That benefit is worth the cost of hitting in a weaker count. Base stealers also distract pitchers and make it less likely they'll throw breaking balls.
   40. just plain joe Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4172326)
If I recall correctly, the scouting reports are that he probably will not stay at shortstop, but is so fast that he will likely become a great defensive Center Fielder.


That's probably correct, people familiar with the Reds' minor league system say that Hamilton's work at SS would make Bill Russell look like Ozzie Smith. Too bad because he would have a lot more value in the infield.
   41. TDF, situational idiot Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4172332)
I really hate defending Dusty, because I don't really think he's a good manager. However,
He plays for the Reds. Dusty will let him play once in a blue moon until he's 33 or so and then let him play full time.
is nonsense. PA leaders for the Reds this year:

Votto, 331 PA, 28 years old
Cozart, 325 PA, 26 years old
Bruce, 315 PA, 25 years old
Phillips, 302 PA, 31 years old

If Rolen were fully healthy, he'd still be giving a couple games a week to Frazier. Ludwick is 33, but splitting time with 27 year old Heisey; Hanigan is 31, splitting time with 24 year old Mesoraco.

Fluke, you say? Last year, it was...
Votto, 719 PA, 27 years old
Stubbs, 681 PA, 26 years old
Phillips, 675 PA, 30 years old
Bruce, 664 PA, 24 years old

Another fluke? In '10, when they went to the playoffs, the top 5 in PA were all 29 or younger. (EDIT: And Rolen had an awesome year; Baker would have been insane not to play him).

On top of that, the Reds have gone with the same 5 starting pitchers all year, 4 of whom are 26 or younger. Baker has also stuck with 24 year old Chapman in that most veteraniest of veteran roles, closer, despite some struggles.

A couple of years ago, Baker was asked about his preference for veterans, and he said he wished he had good young players so he could play them; he noted that he was given a shot when he was young. Well, the Reds now do have a core of good young players, and despite calls for benchings from the peanut gallery (especially for Bruce and Stubbs when they struggled), Baker's stuck with them.
   42. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4172344)
both stubbs and bruce have gone through bad enough patches i think a third of managers might have jerked them around and sabotaged their careers

dusty has stuck with them

give the man credit
   43. McCoy Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4172348)
b) Since this sort of base-stealer isn't the garden-variety basestealer, likely he is able to steal successfully while consuming fewer pitches than is typical (acknowledging that this is a hypothesis, and not something we should assume to be true)

I seem to recall a study, that might very well be posted on Retrosheet, that elite basestealers boost OBP for players hitting behind them while the rest of the would be basestealers tend to hurt the guys hitting behind them.
   44. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4172353)
I think at this point the anti-Dusty Baker campaign is basically some people who have a personal vendetta against him based on one or two historical incidents, just trying to tar him with any negative associations they can think of, like in a political campaign. Not any sort of mission to spread facts.

Don't you hate when managers like Jim Tracy and Albert Belle and Dusty Baker create 4-man rotations that are doomed to fail?
   45. KT's Pot Arb Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4172354)
Has he been drug tested yet?

Cause it sure looks like he's on speed...
   46. karlmagnus Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4172358)
Do fans call him Sliding Billy, or isn't there enough baseball history knowledge for that?
   47. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4172369)
Do fans call him Sliding Billy, or isn't there enough baseball history knowledge for that?


This came up in a recent thread. My feeling (and it was shared by some others) was that he should have his own nickname, that the "Sliding Billy" moniker should be reserved for the Hall of Famer. Some sort of homage to the original ("Running Billy" for example) seems more appropriate.
   48. KT's Pot Arb Posted: July 03, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4172393)
My estimate is that Sliding Billy took the all time record from Arlie Latham in 1898 and held it until 1978, when Brock pass him (and then of course Ricky! passed both).

I therefore predict Billy Hamilton regains his crown as baseball's greatest base stealer in 2028!
   49. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 03, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4172405)
Let's see, he currently has 914 major-league steals, so he needs another 493 to retake the title.
   50. McCoy Posted: July 03, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4172465)
I think at this point the anti-Dusty Baker campaign is basically some people who have a personal vendetta against him based on one or two historical incidents, just trying to tar him with any negative associations they can think of, like in a political campaign. Not any sort of mission to spread facts.

Either that or the PRO-Dusty camp don't know how to take a joke.
   51. bjhanke Posted: July 03, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4172469)
Steve (#31) - I completely agree. In fact, that is the main reason I can think of for the SB% in the dead ball era to be so low. Baseball people aren't stupid enough to just keep on trying a team-wide tactic that is a completely losing proposition. But if, in the dbe, there were a lot of E2 along with some dropped balls by the SS and 2B, then the number of bases gainer per "stolen base" would go up, and the break-even point for SB% would go down. This is of extra value in a low-scoring environment, because SB is a way to try for one-run innings at the cost of big innings, and one run was worth more in the DBE (and the last 60s, for Wills and Brock) than historical norms. A base was not, then, necessarily worth more of a run, but it was worth more of a win, because each run was wroth more of a win. But this ain't "quick and dirty" any more.- Brock
   52. Steve Treder Posted: July 03, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4172478)
that is the main reason I can think of for the SB% in the dead ball era to be so low. Baseball people aren't stupid enough to just keep on trying a team-wide tactic that is a completely losing proposition. But if, in the dbe, there were a lot of E2 along with some dropped balls by the SS and 2B, then the number of bases gainer per "stolen base" would go up, and the break-even point for SB% would go down.

Yep.
   53. Ziggy Posted: July 03, 2012 at 04:10 PM (#4172481)
Have we got an ETA on this guy? Dynasty league owners want to know how long they'd have to lose a roster spot on a minor leaguer if they were to pick him up.
   54. shoewizard Posted: July 03, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4172489)
If you want something quick and dirty, just look at Hamitons wOBA , wRC and wRC+, which include the steals value. It takes 10 seconds to look up and is definitely more accurate than what Zach and Brock are doing. (Although DIY is fun too, so I get that)

His 152 wRC+ is the 3rd best in the Cal league.

wRC+ leaders

Miles Head really destroyed that league before getting promoted. 195 wRC+. Also 21 years old.
   55. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 03, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4172520)
Are Reds waiting for Hamilton to play in a Minor League All-Star Game before promoting him? Because he would seem to be ready.
   56. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 03, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4172558)
He already played in the game that pitted the California League All-Stars against the Carolina League All-Stars.
   57. McCoy Posted: July 03, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4172581)
that is the main reason I can think of for the SB% in the dead ball era to be so low. Baseball people aren't stupid enough to just keep on trying a team-wide tactic that is a completely losing proposition. But if, in the dbe, there were a lot of E2 along with some dropped balls by the SS and 2B, then the number of bases gainer per "stolen base" would go up, and the break-even point for SB% would go down.

I took a look at the 1921 Giants and their running game. They stole 137 bases and got caught 109 times. The opposing team committed 32 errors when they were trying to make plays on baserunners.

They made 11 errors on stolen bases resulting in:
2 outs
8 runners going from 1st to 3rd.
2 runners from third scoring with one runner going to second and the other include in the 1st to 3rd.

They had 1 error on a CS resulting in the runner getting to second safely.

They made 13 errors under the PO category resulting in:
2 no changes
6 1st to 2nd
3 2nd to 3rd
1 1st to 3rd
1 3rd to home

They made 3 errors classified under "other advance" resulting in:
2 1st to 2nd
1 2nd to 3rd
   58. Steve Treder Posted: July 03, 2012 at 05:57 PM (#4172617)
Very interesting stuff, McCoy.
   59. McCoy Posted: July 03, 2012 at 06:10 PM (#4172624)
I forgot to mention that the PBP for that season is not complete. I believe about 10% or so of the games don't have PBP logs for them. I haven't looked to see how many SB/CS are in those games.
   60. depletion Posted: July 03, 2012 at 06:11 PM (#4172625)
Can we call him Piano Legs or Quicksilver? Flash?
   61. bjhanke Posted: July 03, 2012 at 07:13 PM (#4172689)
Yeah, nice info, McCoy. And shoewizard (54) is again correct, except for the one use I make of this analysis. I make the OBP and SLG conversions for the precise purpose of trying to convert SB/CS into the equivalent of power. OBP is the "fuel" of baseball offense, so to speak, while SLG is the engine that drives baserunner advancement but needs baserunners as fuel. Every SB adds horsepower to the engine and every CS leaks from the fuel tank. The result is the ability to compare, say, Coleman to Kittle by comparing all of Coleman's fuel to all of Kittle's fuel, and the horsepower of Coleman's engine with that of Kittle. Not only are the comparisons fun to look at, but they give you an idea of how well a low-power offense is doing trying to simulate power with speed. And yes, since I live in STL, I was, indeed, trying to get Whitey Herzog's Cardinal players' stats into a shape where they could be compared to other teams, rather than just having these abnormal SB/CS stats. But yes, if I want a better estimation of value, I'd of course look up a value stat. What I wanted to do was compare two different types of offense, to see if the one could effectively simulate the other. - Brock
   62. Delorians Posted: July 03, 2012 at 07:50 PM (#4172713)
I saw a headline here or somewhere last week that had 'Billy Hamilton' and 'stolen bases' in the title, and just assumed it was a piece on the 19th century star. Intereresting that there are so few US professional ballplayers who have ever been nationally known for stealing 100+ bases in a season, and two of them, unrelated (I assume) and over 100 years apart, share the same name.
   63. Jay Z Posted: July 03, 2012 at 08:31 PM (#4172740)
Billy, keep your head low.

Billy, don't be a hero.

Always kinda hated that song, actually, especially at the end where she throws the letter away. Even as a nine-year-old kid, I thought, "Man, that's harsh!"


Meh. Billy kinda seemed like a moron to me. Brandy of Looking Glass fame didn't seem too bright either.
   64. Dale Sams Posted: July 04, 2012 at 12:31 AM (#4172844)
Brandy of Looking Glass fame didn't seem too bright either.


Or the girl in "Wildfire"
   65. Steve Treder Posted: July 04, 2012 at 01:02 AM (#4172884)
Well, it was the height of Moronia. How we lived through it, I don't know.
   66. shoewizard Posted: July 04, 2012 at 03:00 AM (#4172913)
Brock, I understand what you are saying.

In fact, when I looked at the line that Zach posted to simulate Hamilton's triple slash, the first thing I did was go look up Roger Maris 1961. They are somewhat similar. But in the end it just didn't "feel" right, as in NOT equivalent.
   67. bjhanke Posted: July 04, 2012 at 06:59 PM (#4173168)
Shoewizard - I agree, they are not equivalent, because one thing is going to lead to a lot of one-run innings, while the other will lead to fewer scoring innings, but more runs per scoring inning. But you've already said that you understand the concept of DIY, so I don't think we're actually having a disagreement. If it doesn't feel right to you, you shouldn't do it. That's the whole point of DIY methods, right? Do what feels right and provides fun. Don't do it if it ain't fun. - Brock

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