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Fastest man in baseball on pace for 160 steals

Billy Hamilton, Zack Cozart

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart, right, tags out Reds Futures’ Billy Hamilton trying to steal second base during the first inning an exhibition baseball, Tuesday, April 3, 2012 in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tony Tribble)


Five weeks ago I wrote about the fastest man in baseball, Reds shortstop prospect Billy Hamilton, whose stolen base numbers at Single-A were crazy. And since then they’ve stayed every bit as crazy.

Hamilton stole four bases last night, giving him 67 steals in 56 games this season. Minor-league seasons are 140 games, rather than 162 games, yet he’s still on pace for 160 steals on the year. Seriously: One. Six. Zero.

He also stole 103 bases in 135 games last year and now has 232 steals (at an 84 percent success rate) in 303 games since the Reds made him a second-round pick in the 2009 draft.

And what makes Hamilton such an intriguing prospect is that he’s not just insanely fast, he can actually hit too. This year he’s batting .322 with 33 walks and a .410 on-base percentage in 56 games, and while 54 of his 74 hits are singles he has shown some power and ... well, he turns almost every single into a double by just stealing second base anyway.