Fastest man in baseball Billy Hamilton ‘possibly’ September call-up for Reds

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At this point there’s little question about whether the fastest man in baseball, Reds prospect Billy Hamilton, will break the minor-league stolen base record held by Vince Coleman.

Coleman set the record with 145 steals in 1983 and Hamilton already has 133 steals with 23 games remaining.

Hamilton’s season at Double-A ends on September 3, so once he’s done shattering the record will the Reds call him up to be a pinch-runner down the stretch? Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer asked Dusty Baker that question today and the manager hinted pretty strongly that Hamilton will be in the majors next month:

Possibly. Speed’s always an asset. Speed kills. I remember the Cardinals with Willie McGee, Vince Coleman and Ozzie [Smith]. Man. That was their slogan, speed kills.

Baker also praised Hamilton’s development beyond the ridiculous steal total:

You’ve got to be able to play your position. You’ve got to be able to hit and get on base. You’ve got to be fundamentally sound. He’s come a long ways in a short period of time. You’ve got to have a total game, which he has, and he’s chipping off the rough edges around his game.

Toss in the fact that Hamilton is hitting .312 with a .409 on-base percentage in 110 games overall this season and that certainly sounds like someone Baker would like to have on his bench.

Oakland Athletics reverse course: will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.