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.
Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that the Mets may move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base when he returns from the disabled list. Cabrera has been on the disabled list since June 13 with a sprained left thumb, but he’s expected to be activated on Friday.
Cabrera, 31, last played second base in 2014 with the Nationals. He has played shortstop exclusively as a Met the last two seasons. Jose Reyes would continue to play shortstop if the Mets were to go through with the position change. Cabrera would displace T.J. Rivera, who has been playing second base in place of the injured Neil Walker.
In 196 plate appearances this season, Cabrera is hitting .244/.321/.392 with six home runs and 20 RBI. He has made 11 defensive errors, which is tied for the third-most among shortstops behind Tim Anderson (16) and Dansby Swanson (12).
Brewers closer Corey Knebel set a modern major league record for relievers to start a season, as Thursday’s appearance marked his 38th consecutive appearance with a strikeout. He set down the side in order in the ninth inning, striking Josh Bell out to start the frame.
Aroldis Chapman held the record previously, recording a strikeout in his first 37 appearances of the season in 2014 with the Reds.
Knebel, 25, has flown under the radar despite having an incredibly good season. He moved into the closer’s role in mid-May when Neftali Feliz, now a free agent, struggled. After Thursday’s appearance, Knebel is 12-for-15 in save chances with a 0.96 ERA and a 65/17 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings.