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Player Spotlight: Billy Hamilton

Right now, Billy Hamilton is in the middle of his 3rd season in the majors, and let's face it, this is going to be the best season of his career without a doubt. After playing in 13 games in 2013, he finished in 2nd place in Rookie of the Year voting last season and some could say has already matched up to what he has done last season in 2015.

He's not getting on base as much as he used to last season, but in his case, speed is key and that's going to help him accomplish big things once again. Lasts season Hamilton stole 56 bases at the age of just 23 but also was caught 23 time which led the league. This year his stolen bases are off the charts, he's leading the league with 23 steals and has only been caught 4 times, both numbers are huge improvements over last season. Hamilton has played in 47 of the Cincinnati Reds 52 games, meaning that he still has more than two thirds of the season left to do incredible things. 

At this rate, Hamilton could finish the season having played in only 147 games, which would be 5 fewer than he played last season but he would also finish with more than 70 stolen bases while being caught less than 15 times. That would put him at about 130 career steals by the time he turns 25 with about 35 caught stealings. Let's compare these two stats to what Rickey Henderson had at the start of his career for a second. By the time Henderson turned 25, he already had 5 full seasons under his belt with at least 100 stolen bases in 3 of them. However, it wasn't until later on in his career that he was able to drop his caught stealing ratio. By the time he turned 25, he may have had 427 stolen bases, but he also had 120 caught stealings, and the year he stole 130 bases, he was caught 42 times.

Of course Hamilton will more than likely never be able to reach such numbers because unlike Henderson, Hamilton is hitting .263 this year while Henderson had a .291 batting average combined over his first 5 seasons and had been on base in thos 5 seasons 900 times more than Hamilton has been on. Actually, here's a funny fact. When you combine all of Henderson's walks and hits by the time he turned 25, which is 1137, you would find that Henderson stole a base every 2.6 times he got on base, and had a stole 427 bases out of 547 attempts, for a 78% success ratio. So far in his 3 seasons, Hamilton has 236 combined walks and hits and 92 stolen bases out of 120 chances. Hamilton steals a base every 3.9 times on base with a 77% success ratio. Having a stolen base every 3.9 times on base isn't the same as Henderson but is still really good, only some of the best career stolen base champs have numbers that low.

Having a 79% stolen base ratio is also extremely good, especially when you once led the league in caught stealing. In his entire career, Henderson's success ratio was just 1% higher at 80%, and the next best stolen base king, Lou Brock had a success ratio of 75% while Ty Cobb had an 80% ratio which included a stretch of 7 years at the start of his career where Caught stealing was not recorded. So basically, Hamilton has potential when it comes to stolen bases to become one of the best, if he can get 70 stolen bases, which alone is amazing, with a .220 average, just think of what he could do if he started getting on base more. At this rate, Hamilton could be one of the 50 biggest Stolen base players of all time by the time he turns 30 years old.

Getting steals isn't the only thing that Hamilton is good at, when he gets a hit, he usually goes for extra bases, as a matter of fact, in 2014 and 2015 combined, 20% of all his hits were either a double or a triple. He's only hit 2 doubles this season while he hit 25 last season, but he's on pace for 9 triples which would beat his previous season high of 8 and 9 home runs which would beat his season high of 6. Hamilton is also on pace for more than 50 RBI's which would just pass his season high of 48 and could score more than 80 times opposed to just over 70 times last season.

Hamilton has so much potential in him, especially when it comes to speed, and even though this season he's better than he was last season, he could get even better as he gets older, and if he can start getting on base more and plays a long career, it wouldn't be a surprise if we are looking at a future Hall of Fame member.

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