When top prospects are discussed well in advance of their big league debuts, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to ever come even close to meeting expectations.
The only reason we love prospects so much, after all, is because we haven’t seem them fail. It just makes it all the more impressive when a young player reaches the big leagues, having already been known and buzzed about for their talent or a certain skill, and he still meets the hype.
That is the case with speedy Cincinnati Reds’ outfielder Billy Hamilton. For years we heard about his incredible speed and the way it would affect Major League games. With 50 stolen bases in 2014 and still plenty of games to add more, Hamilton has more than proven that his speed is legitimately a step above the rest of the league.
Mark Sheldon and Manny Randhawa of MLB.com write the following about Hamilton’s accomplishment, which set a franchise mark:
In the fourth inning of Wednesday’s 7-5 win over the Cubs, the speedster stole his 50th base of the season, swiping third with two outs and later scoring on a single by Brandon Phillips.
At 23 years old, Hamilton is the youngest player in Reds history, and ninth overall, to steal 50 or more bases in a season…
This feat is impressive in the context of today’s big leagues as well. Last year only one player stole 50 or more bases, as Jacoby Ellsbury had 52. The year before that, zero players in baseball had 50, with Mike Trout leading the way with 49.
Generally speaking, there is a lack of true base stealers today, which is why Hamilton will stand alone in 2014 and presumably for many seasons to come.
Be sure to stay tuned to FanSided for all of the latest MLB news, rumors, and analysis as the 2014 season heads towards the playoff stretch.