Triple-digit stolen base totals are a thing of the past in the major leagues and are becoming increasingly rare in the minor league ranks. But baseball’s long history is filled with players who have bucked trends, and achieved great success in doing so.
Enter Billy Hamilton, the Reds’ top infield prospect.
A second-round pick in 2009, Hamilton reached the 100-steal plateau Saturday in Single-A Dayton’s 4-2 victory over the Lansing Lugnuts. He is the first minor league player to reach the mark since 2001 and the first player in the history of the Reds organization to steal more than 90 bases in a single season.
Hamilton’s bat needs work. He’s hitting just .278/.339/.360 in 134 games this season and striking out far too often. But he might be the fastest player in the sport, and that tool alone could carry him to the top.
Giants starter Jeff Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his ailing right shoulder, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. The right-hander struggled in a minor league game on Wednesday, surrendering a pair of home runs and hitting a batter. Overall this spring, Samardzija has given up 15 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits (six homers) and seven walks with seven strikeouts in 11 innings.
This may mean Samardzija won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Derek Holland would likely replace Samardzija in the rotation. Holland had been competing for the No. 5 spot in the Giants’ rotation.
Samardzija led the National League in losses last season with 15, also posting a 4.42 ERA with a 205/32 K/BB ratio in a league-high 207 2/3 innings. Since becoming a starter, Samardzija has been able to avoid injury, making 32 or 33 starts in each of the last five seasons.