'It feels good to run': Meet the Minor League stolen base leader 

A Q&A with Red Sox prospect David Hamilton

March 17th, 2023

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- When David Hamilton is on base, you better not blink or you’ll miss him in a blur of speed. Nobody in the organization is faster than Hamilton -- ranked as the No. 29 prospect prospect in the Red Sox's farm system by MLB Pipeline -- who made a strong impression in Major League camp before recently getting optioned to Triple-A Worcester. Hamilton stole 70 bases for Double-A Portland last season to lead the Minor Leagues. In a recent conversation with MLB.com, the 25-year-old Hamilton talked about his speed and other subjects.

MLB.com: First of all, what does it feel like to steal 70 bases in a season? Do you just feel like you’re in a zone all season?

Hamilton: The legs started hurting a little bit at one point, but it feels good. It feels good to run.

MLB.com: Have you ever stolen more than 70 bases at any level of baseball before last year?

Hamilton: No, that was the most, by far.

MLB.com: Did you just get in such a rhythm with your jumps? How did this turn into a 70-steal season for you?

Hamilton: It was more about being aggressive. There was a point in the season where I was struggling with the bat so I was like, ‘Any time I get on, I’m looking to go.’ Just trying to help the team in any way I can.

MLB.com: The bases are bigger now and pitchers are limited to three pickoff throws per at-bat. This is good for players like you, wouldn’t you say?

Hamilton: The bases by themselves, no. But I think the pitch clock, the disengagements, the bases, all that plays into it.

MLB.com: Everyone knows your speed is elite. But to maximize it, you need to hit. What type of things are you working on offensively?

Hamilton: I’m just trying to hit more line drives, trying to stay inside the ball a little bit more and put the ball in play. I’m a fast guy, so I put pressure on the defense as soon as I’m on base.

MLB.com: What would a good season look like for you this year?

Hamilton: If I can just hit line drives, put more pressure on the defense, play good defense, take away runs and score runs … that’s my game right there.

MLB.com: You play a few different positions. Where are you most comfortable?

Hamilton: Short. I’ve always played short growing up, so I’m comfortable there. I like second [base]. I’ve played center. Wherever they put me, I can play.

MLB.com: As a basestealer, is there a certain guy you looked up to?

Hamilton: Rickey Henderson. He’s the best. Just watch what he did, try to emulate that. I know nobody has done close to what he did.

MLB.com: Do you ever watch him on old videos? What do you see when you watch him run?

Hamilton: Oh yeah. I was just looking at his start, like, his break -- it’s amazing. I’ve never met him, but I’ve heard great stories about him.

MLB.com: When did you first know that your speed was exceptional? How old were you?

Hamilton: Ever since I was young. I was always the fastest in middle school and high school. I always knew I was pretty fast.

MLB.com: Have you ever been on a team in which anyone was faster than you?

Hamilton: I guess it’s possible. I don’t remember that, though. I don’t remember the last time I lost a race.

MLB.com: Red Sox No. 3 prospect Ceddanne Rafaela is pretty fast. Do you think he could give you a run for your money?

Hamilton: He’s a good runner. We can race one day. We’ll find out.

MLB.com: Switching subjects, I know you had a scooter accident that left you with a torn Achilles that forced you to miss the entire 2019 season for the University of Texas. Have you been back on a scooter since?

Hamilton: Hell no. Never have, never will. I’ll leave that to whomever wants to do that.

MLB.com: What’s your favorite food?

Hamilton: Mexican. I like tacos. I’m not the best, but I try every now and then. I’m a pretty basic guy. I like a chicken taco with rice, (guacamole) and pico (de gallo).

MLB.com: Is there a vacation spot you’d like to go to?

Hamilton: Somewhere in the Caribbean. I haven’t gotten there yet. I like beaches. I’ve been to Hawaii, which was great.

MLB.com: What kind of music are we most likely to see on your phone?

Hamilton: Rap. Drake, Lil Wayne and Migos. I listen to a little country but not too much. Mostly rap, hip-hop.

MLB.com: What is your favorite TV show?

Hamilton: I like “Better Call Saul,” Great show. Obviously “Breaking Bad” was great, but I liked “Better Call Saul” a little better. I just liked the way it was directed.