After hitting .318/.383/.456 with 48 steals in 69 games in the Pioneer League in 2010, the Reds’ Billy Hamilton was rated as one of the game’s best shortstop prospects entering the year. Playing in a full-season league for the first time, his bat didn’t quite live up to the hype, as he hit a modest .278/.340/.360 as a 20-year-old in the Midwest League. However, he did steal 103 bases in 123 attempts.
Baseball America’s Jim Callis went back and tried to find all of the 100-steal seasons in minor league history. From what he was able to judge, it had been done 21 times by 20 players. The top two seasons were both from 1983: Vince Coleman had 145 for low Single-A Macon and Donell Nixon had 144 for high-A Bakersfield. Coleman went on to steal 101 bases the next year before reaching the majors in 1985.
The list as a whole, though, is extremely unimpressive. Lenny Dykstra, who stole 105 bases for Single-A Lynchburg in 1983, was the only one of the 20 players to turn into a legitimate All-Star. Coleman and Otis Nixon were the only other long-term regulars, though Alan Wiggins might have been one too if not for drugs.
The only two players to join the list in the last 20 years were Cards prospects Esix Snead and Chris Morris and neither of them were factors in the majors.
So, the 100 steals, while a nice milestone, isn’t exactly a great predictor of future success. With his tools, though, Hamilton may well buck those odds. For what it’s worth, he did get quite a bit better as the year went on, hitting .318/.382/.387 in 69 games after the All-Star break.
Athletics’ rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell did not stand for the National Anthem on Saturday night. He’s the first MLB player to do so and, like other professional athletes before him, used the moment to send a message — not just to shed light on the lack of racial equality in the United States, but to specifically protest President Donald Trump’s suggestion that NFL owners fire any of their players who elect to protest the anthem by sitting or kneeling.
“Bruce’s father is a proud military lifer. Anyone who knows Bruce or his parents is well aware that the Maxwells’ love and appreciation for our country is indisputable,” Maxwell’s agent, Matt Sosnick, relayed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Friday. He continued:
Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump’s response to a number of professional athletes’ totally peaceful, non-violent protests.
Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion.
While Maxwell didn’t make his own statement to the media, he took to Instagram earlier in the day to express his frustration against the recent opposition to the protests, criticizing the President for endorsing “division of man and rights.”
Despite Trump’s profanity-laced directive to NFL owners on Friday, however, it’s clear the Athletics don’t share his sentiments. “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” the team said in a statement released after Maxwell’s demonstration. “We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”
Whatever the fallout, kudos to Maxwell for taking a stand. He may be the first to do so in this particular arena, but he likely won’t be the last.
This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.
Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.
Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.
The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.