Tag: Billy Hamilton

Billy Hamilton, Josh Harrison

Reds only hurting themselves batting Billy Hamilton ninth


At what point does speed outweigh a lousy OBP?

Joe Morgan was fond of saying that speed was the No. 1 factor in searching for a leadoff hitter. Statheads used to believe that OBP was everything, that it made far more sense to put a slow guy with a big OBP in the leadoff spot than a fast guy who didn’t get on base.

Billy Hamilton pretty much sucks at getting on base. But he’s so ridiculously good when he does get on that he’s a viable leadoff hitter anyway.

Hamilton has hit leadoff for the Reds 36 times this year and scored 27 runs in those games. Brandon Phillips, though, has been leading off while healthy these last seven weeks. He’s scored 19 runs in 37 games leading off.

Of course, that’s not really a valid test of speed versus OBP. Oddly enough, both have .280 OBPs in their time batting leadoff. Both have also hit three homers as leadoff man, so that doesn’t really factor in. And while Phillips isn’t quite a burner these days, he’s actually gone 6-for-7 stealing bases from the leadoff spot.

The run totals, even if they’re a bit fluky, suggest that Hamilton should be leading off for the Reds. His .280 OBP is probably worth about the same there as a .330 mark from a merely decent runner. He wouldn’t continue scoring three runs every four games if returned to the spot, but then, who does? Mike Trout and Brian Dozier currently lead the majors in runs scored (largely because they have 27 and 20 homers, respectively) and they’re barely better than that (.775 runs scored per game).

And the Reds’ alternatives simply aren’t any good. Phillips has never been an on-base guy, and the other four guys to have opened a game in the leadoff spot for the Reds this year (Zack Cozart, Skip Schumaker, Ivan De Jesus Jr. and Kris Negron) have posted even worse OBPs. Plus, Joey Votto has thrived on those occasions in which he’s hit second behind Hamilton. Unless the Reds somehow come up with a viable option in one of their upcoming trades involving Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake or Jay Bruce, Hamilton is going to be their best option at the top the rest of the way.

Video: Billy Hamilton steals third base in an unexpected way

Billy Hamilton

Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton has firmly established himself as the fastest player in baseball, entering play Saturday having stolen 42 bases (leading the majors) in 48 attempts. There’s very little he can do that would surprise us at this point.

But, wouldn’t you know it, Hamilton shocked not only the fans at Marlins Park and fans watching at home, but the Marlins themselves when he stole third base as catcher J.T. Realmuto was returning the ball to starter Adam Conley in the top of the third inning. Hamilton reached base in a single and stole second prior to the play. So he’s now at 44 stolen bases in 50 attempts on the year.

MLB.com doesn’t have the embed option for this video (yet, presumably), so click here to watch Hamilton work his magic.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

Mike Trout

Angels 4, Yankees 1: Everyone in the New York press corps is busy this morning changing their “when can we get Bryce Harper” or “we could’ve had Makiel Franco” templates to “Mike Trout — from New Jersey! — would look good in pinstripes” articles. The best player in baseball hit a homer and put on a clinic in the outfield last night, running down balls like Willie Freakin’ Mays. Meanwhile, CC Sabathia continued to not get the job done, allowing four runs in seven and a third. Everyone with the Yankees will say things today about how he’s still their big guy and that he’ll come around, but he’s killing the Yankees every time he takes the hill.

Said Trout Clinic:

Brewers 7, Phillies 4: I’m not gonna say my Monday evening sucked, but two things happened. First, Rush played someplace in New York. I know this because I know many, many people in New York, and approximately all (all) of them texted me pictures from the concert, taunting me and trying to get me to admit that I secretly and truly love Rush deep, deep down inside and closer to the heart. To this I say “nonsense!” and now have to spend a good part of today unfriending these people across various social media platforms. You may think this is sad, but the greater tragedy is that I was friends with these people for so long without realizing that they’re the sorts of people who would spend hundreds of dollars to go see a Rush show.

The second thing is that one of the three new kittens I got on Sunday decided that falling down the stairs and breaking the ulna bone in her right leg was a great idea. This led me to be at the kitty ER until 1am this morning in order to get her tiny little 10-week-old foot put in a big ugly splint. That cost $500 AND has the little kitty in a foul mood today.

But perspective matters here, folks. Things could be way, way worse. I could be a Phillies fan.

Last night they, the worst team in baseball, battled the Brewers, who are the second worse, for . . . supremacy? That word doesn’t seem right. Ignomy, maybe? That sounds more like it. Anyway, the “best” team won, with Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun each having a big game. Which makes sense given that they’re two of the only, like, six guys who were on the field last night who belong at the adult table at the Major League Baseball dinner party.

Why yes, I am a tad loopy and sleep-deprived this morning. How are you?

Astros 6, Royals 1: Let’s transition from the battle-of-the-worsts to the battle-of-the-bests. At least the bests in the American League. Which, man, if someone asked you a year ago at this time who the best two teams in the AL would be in late June 2015, you would’ve bet your kidneys that it wouldn’t be these guys. But it was, and on this night the Astros prevailed, with Jose Altuve hitting a homer and Lance McCullers allowing only one run over seven. The guy Altuve is trailing in the All-Star vote, Omar Infante, went 0-for-4. Please, good people, go vote for Altuve. Or even Kipnis.

Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 1: Don’t tell anybody, but Clay Buchholz has been pitching really, really well lately. He won his third straight decision, allowing only the one run in eight innings. He’s allowed only two earned runs over his last 22 frames. The Sox have won six of ten. The AL East is already sorta bonkers. It’d be hilarious if Boston snuck back into the thick of things to make it a five-team battle royal.

Reds 11, Twins 7: Well that was an outburst of offense.Tucker Barnhart had four hits and drove in two. Eugenio Suarez had three hits and drove in three. But speed was the takeaway here, as in the speed of Billy Hamilton, who reached base four times and stole four bases and scored three times in the first three innings. The Reds had a 9-1 lead after three and then let the Twins back in it with a six-run fourth, but that’s all they’d get. The only loss here was a bit of a loss in Mike Leake’s trade value as he was responsible for letting the Twins back into it.

Indians 7, Rays 1: Cody Anderson had a perfect game into the seventh which was broken up by a Grady Sizemore home run. That entire sentence makes no sense, but that’s baseball for you. Anderson ended up pitching eight and allowing only the one run.

Diamondbacks 10, Dodgers 6: Mike Bolsinger pitched four shutout innings but had to be pulled for a pinch hitter in the fifth due to vomiting and cramping, which he thinks was the result of food poisoning or something. Either way, that brought the Dodgers’ bullpen in which blew leads of 4-0 and 6-4 as the Diamondbacks just poured it on in the mid and late innings. Part of the pouring it on was a Yasmany Tomas homer that was subject to a video review when it appeared that a fan interfered with the ball. Judge for yourself:


I feel like it hit high enough on the guy’s arm to where it would’ve been over anyway.

Athletics 7, Rockies 1: Josh Reddick and Ike Davis hit two-run homers in the first inning and Kendall Graveman tossed seven scoreless. That’s about as ideal a game in Coors Field as any team can have. Billy Butler homered too and fell a triple short of the cycle. Good thing he didn’t hit that triple, though. Our nation has seen enough tragedy recently. The last thing we need is to have a major league baseball player drop dead of a coronary between second and third base in the middle of a ballgame.

Rangers 8, Orioles 1: Mitch Moreland homered twice as the Rangers blasted four in all as they rattled off 14 hits. Baltimore’s four-game winning streak ends. The Rangers win for just the second time in nine games.

Billy Hamilton steals four bases against the Twins, now up to 40 stolen bases on the year

CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 29: Billy Hamilton #6 of the Cincinnati Reds steals second base in the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at Great American Ball Park on June 29, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

With Brandon Phillips sidelined due to a hand injury, Billy Hamilton was moved back into the leadoff spot tonight against the Twins. He responded by stealing four bases as part of an 11-7 victory.

Hamilton went 2-for-4 with two walks and three runs scored on the night. He had two steals in the second inning, one in the third, and one more in the fifth.

On the strength of 19 steals this month — including a five-steal game on June 14 against the Cubs — Hamilton is now up to 40 stolen bases on the year. That leads the majors by a wide margin. Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon, who ranks second in the majors, has 26 steals.

To put things in further context, Hamilton has more steals than 15 out of 30 teams in the majors. You are reading that correctly. While it’s a remarkable feat, imagine what Hamilton could do if he got on base more often. He’s hitting .224 with a .273 on-base percentage through 67 games this season.

Video: Starling Marte made a diving catch to save the Pirates’ bacon

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 8.02.13 AM

It was a pretty clutch situation in Pittsburgh last night. The Pirates were clinging to a one-run lead in the top of the seventh, the speedy Billy Hamilton was at third base and the dangerous Todd Frazier was at the plate. Frazier sent an Arquimedes Caminero pitch to left, and it as sinking fast, almost certain to be an RBI single.

Starling Marte said: “nope”