Lindbergh: Can we reasonably expect sustained success from Billy Hamilton?

From SABR member Ben Lindbergh at Baseball Prospectus on September 20, 2013:

The Astros and Reds played 13 innings of ugly, beautiful baseball last night. Daniel Rathman chronicled the lapses in judgment, failures to execute, and tactical mistakes that prolonged the contest between the two teams in today’s What You Need to Know, so you can go read about those there. Ultimately, though, the crimes against baseball that were Brandon Phillips bunting, Dusty Baker saving Aroldis Chapman for a save situation, and Jose Altuve’s TOOTBLAN will be forgiven, forgotten, or lumped in with other managerial mistakes and baserunning blunders. Billy Hamilton will be what we remember.

Hamilton, making his first career start and batting ninth, went 3-for-4 with two walks and four stolen bases. The steals were the most eye-catching part of his performance. As I wrote in today’s Lineup Card, Hamilton’s instincts on the bases aren’t unparalleled, but his speed and the inevitability of his attempts set him apart from other thieves. Each of his appearances on base is an event, because everyone watching knows he’s going to go; as Buster Olney wrote recently, Hamilton’s pinch-running appearances should be preceded by an entrance song, since they’re at least as exciting and game-altering as a closer coming in. Hamilton has failed to attempt a steal in only one of his 10 times on base, and then only because Shin-Soo Choo singled him home almost immediately.

It’s worth watching the four steals from Wednesday together, if you haven’t already.

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Originally published: September 20, 2013. Last Updated: September 20, 2013.