The 2012 edition of the Arizona Fall League seemed to slip under the radar of most baseball fans. Blame the relative lack of big fish on the rosters (DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?) or what have you, the AFL just didn’t seem to capture the same segment of fans on my twitter timeline it did a year ago.
The AFL Rising Stars game on Saturday night did, however, stream on MLB.com and grabbed a few eyeballs, allowing fans and bloggers to shamelessly regurgitate scouting jargon without a scintilla of credibility. The game, an all star exhibition at its core, featured some highlights and looks to the future, none more impressive than the show put on by Billy Hamilton.
Hamilton’s exploits on the base paths garnered national attention this summer but, as with most minor leaguers, they were confined to the box scores and grimy static cameras of MILB.com. Not Saturday, however.
With the eyes of baseball diehards squarely on him, Billy Hamilton stole two bases in the first inning – the second of which came on a throw back to the pitcher. Not an errant throw, just a regular old toss from the catcher to the pitcher.
Billy Hamilton ran a 3.49 on that bunt single. Lowest number I’ve ever gotten.
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) November 4, 2012
Then he bunted in a mind-bending way (ending up on third base after his blinding speed forced a bad throw) and later showed off his otherworldly speed in the center field, a position he’s played for a grand total of six weeks. Billy Hamilton is going to be good, provided he can hit.
Which is a significant question mark but, clearly, he can change a game with his feet. Like a soccer player but in a way different game. Which is cool or at the very least novel. It is November, novelty gets you a lot of play.