I wrote up the Billy Hamilton factoid this morning because I wanted to write about him, but I didn’t have a fully formed post yet, so I used that as a tide-me-over until that post materialized. Well, now, I might just have to come up with a new idea, because J.J. Cooper wrote about Billy Hamilton at Baseball America today, and I don’t think I can do any better than this.
On the three of Hamilton’s four steal attempts last night where the broadcast showed his steal from first move to sliding into second, Hamilton was consistently taking roughly 3.1 seconds from first move to tagging the bag. If you want a fuller explanation of how each steal was timed, please see the note at the bottom of this story.
If a base stealer can get from first to second in right at or under 3.1 seconds, the math of throwing him out becomes very, very difficult. With a slide-step, a pitcher can often cut his time to home to 1.1-1.2 seconds. Without the slide step, a 1.3 second time home is pretty reasonable. For any pitcher taking more than 1.3 seconds to throw home, it’s probably not worth even considering a pitchout.
The post even includes GIFs of Hamilton’s steals last night, with the Astros being basically helpless to stop him from running even when everyone knew he was going. I heartily endorse this piece, and will now go try and find a new subject to write about, since J.J. Cooper aced this one.