This is getting ridiculous. Reds farmhand Billy Hamilton stole his 100th base last night. He’s played in 78 games. That puts him on a pace for 179 steals. When we last took notice of his pace in early June he was projected to steal a mere 160. The affiliated professional record is held by Vince Coleman, who swiped 145 for Macon in the Sally League in 1983.
Hamilton currently plays for Bakersfield in the California League, which is high-A. At present he’s hitting .327/.417/.447. While the team is mum about his future, it would seem time for him to find some catchers with better arms to humiliate.
The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.
Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.
Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.