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.

Mike Trout to undergo foot surgery

Mike Trout
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Angels star outfielder Mike Trout is done for the year, per a team press release. He’ll undergo surgery to remove the Morton’s neuroma in his right foot sometime over the next week, which will likely require a recovery period that stretches beyond the two weeks remaining in the regular season.

Trout, 28, has been day-to-day with a foot injury since the first week of September. On Monday, he underwent a cryoablation procedure to treat the neuroma on his right foot, but evidently requires further treatment to resolve the issue completely. Per manager Brad Ausmus, Trout ‘tested his foot by running’ on Sunday and found he was still experiencing too much pain to play, prompting his decision to undergo season-ending surgery.

This figures to be the first major setback Trout has seen since his thumb surgery in 2017, but there’s no reason to believe his current ailment will have any substantial effect on his 2020 season. Still, it’s an unfortunate end to another monster campaign by the eight-time All-Star and AL MVP contender, who will finish his 2019 season batting .291/.438/.645 with an AL-best 45 home runs, .1083 OPS, and league-leading 8.6 fWAR.