It looks like Cincinnati Reds’ top prospect Billy Hamilton isn’t going to waste your time.
Hamilton entered tonight’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh inning as a pinch runner and it only took one pitch before Hamilton tested possibly the best arm in the game.
Yadier Molina could do nothing but grin at the young speedster and pull down his catcher’s mask. It seems like this could be one of the great matchups between the Reds and Cardinals for years to come. Tonight we received a nice little sample.
Hamilton had second base in his locker, he'll be giving it to his mother, Billy, who was in the house tonight— ctrent (@ctrent) September 4, 2013
Dusty Baker’s decision to pull Ryan Ludwick after his seventh inning single was a critical decision. With a lot of goose eggs on the board, Hamilton rose to the situation and showed fans in Cincinnati the importance of a stolen base. His steal then lead to a RBI double by Todd Frazier to give the Reds their only run in a 1-0 win.
Hamilton’s first year in Triple-A proved to be a grueling one. After batting .311/.410/.420 in 2012 (per MiLB.com), Hamilton’s number’s dropped significantly in Louisville.
However, after the minor league All-Star Game, Hamilton showed signs of resurgence with a .283/.324/.367 slash line. Hamilton still led all of the International League with 75 stolen bases for the season.
Do you think Baker will now use Hamilton more often?
After tonight’s game, Baker might be more prone to test the young center fielder. Reds fans knew it was only a matter of time, but it’s extra special since the kid showed nothing but confidence against a veteran catcher in Molina.
Via @eliassports - Only 2 players have gotten their 1st career steal vs Yadier Molina -- Brandon Crawford and Billy Hamilton— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 4, 2013
It’s not every day you see a player steal a base in his first major league game. It’s even rarer when it comes against a Hall of Fame-worthy catcher throwing out 43% of runners this season (per Baseball-Reference.com).
If anything, Hamilton certainly adds excitement at the most crucial time of the season.