Red Sox infield prospect David Hamilton made history at Hadlock Field on Sunday afternoon.
In Double-A Portland’s 4-3 win over the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Hamilton went 3-for-5 with three RBIs, two runs scored, and one stolen base out of the leadoff spot.
After doubling in the first inning and belting a three-run home run in the fourth, Hamilton etched his name into the Sea Dogs’ record books in the bottom of the eighth. The speedy 24-year-old fittingly recorded his third hit of the contest by beating out a bunt single. He then took off for second and successfully stole his 65th base of the season without a throw.
By swiping 65 bags, Hamilton surpassed Julio Ramirez — who stole 64 in 1999 — for the most single-season stolen bases in Sea Dogs franchise history. His 65 stolen bases are also the most by a Red Sox minor-leaguer in a single season since Jeremy Hazelbaker stole 63 with the Greenville Drive in 2010.
To go along with all those stolen bases, the left-handed hitter is now batting .236/.327/.387 with 14 doubles, eight triples, 12 home runs, 40 RBIs, 74 runs scored, 54 walks, and 113 strikeouts over 113 games (501 plate appearances) for Portland this season.
Defensively, Hamilton made his 60th start of the year on Sunday. The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder has logged 523 2/3 innings at second, 426 1/3 innings at shortstop, and 18 innings in center field for the first time in his professional career.
Hamilton, who turns 25 later this month, is not currently regarded by Baseball America as one of the top 30 prospects in Boston’s farm system. He was, however, recently identified by the publication as the fastest base stealer in the Eastern League.
SoxProspects.com, which lists Hamilton as its 49th-ranked Red Sox prospect, notes that he possesses “plus-to-better speed” and “solid baserunning instincts. FanGraphs grades Hamilton’s speed tool as a 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale.
The Red Sox acquired Hamilton (as well as fellow prospect Alex Binelas and outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.) from the Brewers in exchange for Hunter Renfroe last December. Milwaukee originally selected the former Longhorn in the eighth round of the 2019 amateur draft out of the University of Texas at Austin.
Even after missing the entirety of his junior season and first professional season while recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon, it appears as though Hamilton has regained the elite speed that makes him stand out on the field.
As the minor-league season winds down and Hamilton looks to add to his record, it is worth mentioning that the San Marcos native can become Rule 5-eligible for the first time in his career this winter. The Red Sox would need to add him to their 40-man roster by the November deadline in order to prevent that from happening.
If he sticks with the organization through the off-season, one would have to think Hamilton will open the 2023 campaign with Triple-A Worcester. A lot can happen between now and then, though.
(Picture of David Hamilton courtesy of the Portland Sea Dogs)