Could Billy Hamilton steal 100 bases this season?

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Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton is 6-for-6 stealing bases in his first three games to start the season. According to Baseball Reference, Hamilton is the first player with six steals through his team’s first three games since Vince Coleman accomplished the feat in 1987 for the Cardinals. Coleman stole 109 bases that year, the last player to reach triple digits in stolen bases.

In 611 plate appearances for the Reds last season, Hamilton stole 56 bases but led the league in times caught stealing at 23, giving him an average 71 percent success rate. He hit just .250 with a .292 on-base percentage. It goes without saying that if he had been able to reach base a few more times, he would have more opportunities to steal bases. Hamilton hit .256 against Triple-A pitching in 2013 and .286 against Double-A pitching the season prior. He hasn’t yet shown himself to be the type of player who can hit for a high average or draw walks at a high frequency.

It isn’t totally necessary to hit for a high average to rack up the steals. Coleman hit just .232 in 1986 when he led the league with 107 stolen bases. However, he drew walks in nine percent of his plate appearances (Hamilton was below six percent last year). He also stole third base frequently and was quite efficient, going 76-for-84 (90.5%) at second base and 31-for-36 (86%) at third base. Hamilton stole third 14 times in 17 attempts last season, accounting for 21.5% of his stolen base attempts. About 30 percent of Coleman’s stolen base attempts were at third base.

There are many ways to accrue a lot of stolen bases. The two main avenues are bulk attempts and efficiency. If Hamilton doesn’t improve much in the average or on-base departments, he’ll have to attempt to steal with much higher frequency, especially at third base, and he’ll have to do so much more efficiently. But if anyone is going to reach 100-plus stolen bases, it’s Hamilton.

Report: Red Sox to sign Zack Godley

Red Sox sign Zack Godley
Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images
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Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com reports that the Red Sox are nearing an agreement with pitcher Zack Godley. It is still unclear whether the contract will be of the minor or major league variety.

Godley, 30, was with the Tigers on a minor league contract but the club released him in early April. The right-hander pitched for the Diamondbacks and Blue Jays last season, amassing 92 innings with a 5.97 ERA and a 70/42 K/BB ratio. Godley was quite solid for the D-Backs in 2017, posting a 3.37 ERA over 155 innings, so the Red Sox are hoping to see that version of him.

The Red Sox need starting pitching depth with Chris Sale out for the year due to Tommy John surgery and Eduardo Rodríguez sidelined because of a positive COVID-19 test. Collin McHugh is also still on the mend from an elbow injury. The starting rotation at the moment includes Nathan Eovaldi, Martín Pérez, Ryan Weber, and Brian Johnson. It is certainly the club’s biggest weakness.

The Red Sox open up the 2020 regular season at home against the Orioles on July 24. Eovaldi would seem to be the one to get the Opening Day nod. Godley could slot in anywhere else in the rotation, from No. 2 to 5.