There’s fast, and then there’s Billy Hamilton fast.
The Kansas City Royals center fielder put his incredible speed on display Tuesday in the Royals’ 6-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners.
With one out in the bottom of the third, Hamilton was on second base after reaching on an error.
After a Whit Merrifield ground out, Adalberto Mondesi lofted a fly ball to deep centerfield. Seattle center fielder Mallex Smith got under it at the warning track and made the catch, falling to his knee briefly.
That was all the speedy Hamilton needed to get the go sign.
He tagged up and advanced two bases on the sacrifice fly to score.
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) April 10, 2019
After Smith went to his knee, he paused for a moment before throwing it in, not thinking that Hamilton would try to advance two bases. That was a mistake.
When he saw that Hamilton wasn’t slowing down at third, Smith quickly got up and fired it to the cutoff man, but the relay was too late to catch Hamilton.
MLB Statcast said he covered 30.1 feet per second — which is ridiculous.
His time from third to home was clocked at 3.12 seconds.
Per Statcast, Billy Hamilton’s sprint speed on that play was 30.1 ft/sec. That is elite level. Also, his time from third base to home was 3.12 seconds.
— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) April 10, 2019
Mallex Smith couldn’t believe it.
“He really just did that” – Mallex Smith pic.twitter.com/XOzHdkf1AJ
— Adam Hockensmith (@50ShadesOfGray1) April 10, 2019
In 2017, MLB Statcast ranked the fastest runners in baseball, and Hamilton was first running at a speed of 30.1 feet per second — the same number he hit Tuesday. The Minnesota Twins’ Byron Buxton (29.9 feet/sec) and the Cleveland Indians’ Bradley Zimmer (29.8 feet/sec) were second and third.
In Hamilton’s first five years in the majors with the Cincinnati Reds, he placed second in stolen bases each year. He ranks fifth among active players with 279 stolen bases. The Royals signed Hamilton in the offseason.
Kansas City’s Merrifield went 2 for 5 to extend his hitting streak to 30 games, which ties George Brett’s team record. The hitting streak goes back to last season as he has hit safely in the first 10 games of this season and the last 20 games of last season.
The Royals are off to a 2-8 start.
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