Billy Hamilton is the fastest man in baseball. From 2014 – 2016, he stole 171 bases (by far the most in baseball), despite an on-base percentage under .300. If he got on base at even a slightly less than below average clip, he’d likely steal at least 100 bags a year.
That’s just how fast he is.
This season, unsurprisingly, Hamilton is once again the league leader in stolen bases. His 28 swiped bags through his first 52 games is a full ten steals better than the runner up, Dee Gordon. And again, Gordon is on base way more often than Hamilton has ever been.
But Hamilton isn’t perfect; even he gets caught some times. It just takes a really special catcher to do it. Enter: Yadier Molina.
According to @MLBStatoftheDay, Yadier Molina has a 41.5 caught-stealing percentage which leads all active catchers in MLB. In fact, no one else is even above 36.4%! That’s absolutely insane.
And so was this pop/throw – Let’s see it again:
.@Yadimolina04 with a 1.58 second pop time to catch Billy Hamilton.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 5, 2017
It’s no small feat to catch Hamilton, but if anyone’s gonna do it, it’ll probably be Yadier Molina. And hey, that wasn’t even his only – or necessarily most impressive – caught stealing of the day!
Later in the game, Molina threw out the slightly slower Adam Duvall, but he did so from his knees!
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 6, 2017
This guy is something else. He now has now caught ten runners stealing this year, which is tied for the 7th most in Major League Baseball. After watching Billy Hamilton get mowed down at third base and Duvall get thrown out by Yadi on his knees, I’d think long and hard before deciding to run on Yadier Molina.
And then I wouldn’t do it.