Minor Leaguers to Know This Year

The short-season minor leagues have gotten started or are about to do so, so here are some to look out for… below the jump.

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Billy Hamilton is the fastest man alive

Watching the Futures Game out of the corner of my eye a few weeks ago, a guy named Billy Hamilton (Reds Organization) hit a triple. A very, very, fast triple. A triple that, if the outfielders had been slower or the outfield walls has been deeper, he could easily have attempted to make into an inside-the-park home run.

A few days ago, he did hit a inside-the-park home run. Not only that, but he did it in 13.8 seconds… while not even going full-speed near the end. Oh, and he has 109 stolen bases between A and AA this season. The all-time pro record for a season is 145, which Vince Coleman pulled off in A-ball during the 1983 season.

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And Hamilton isn’t exactly a one-trick pony, he hit .323 in a half-season of A-Ball. Barring injury, he could end up as a runner-off-the-bench for the Reds come September. After all, he’s way too fast to just be left in the minors once crunch-time comes, especially for a National League team.

By the way, Hamilton’s dash around the bases in 13.8 seconds- roughly 360 feet- is in itself a impressive athletic feat. It means he was averaging about 17.79 MPH during the run. If Hamilton were to hold that speed for just 100 meters, he’d finish in about 12.57 seconds. That isn’t exactly Usain Bolt, but then again it wasn’t exactly a straight sprint and Hamilton was running on dirt and grass instead of smooth pavement, so the comparison doesn’t really work… does it?

Interestingly, Billy Hamilton was also the name of a Hall of Famer from the late 19th century. “Sliding Billy” Hamilton also was quite the base stealer: he had 914 in his career, which was the most of all time until Lou Brock broke his record in 1978. He still is third overall.

So keep an eye out for Sliding Billy 2.0, he’s running his way through the minors, and it is probably only a matter of time before he is testing the arms of MLB catchers.