Reds’ Billy Hamilton: Olympic sprinters on a different level

The fastest man in baseball has watched the fastest men in the world compete at the Olympics this week.

Cincinnati Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton never ran track, but estimates he could run the 100-meter dash in 10 seconds right now without any training. He hit 21.2 miles per hour on a stolen-base attempt in April, according to MLB Statcast technology. He reached 23.3 mph stealing second in June.

Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, who won the 100-meter dash in 9.81 seconds Sunday in Rio de Janeiro, raced at 22.8 miles per hour.

“I watch those guys’ technique. I watch myself run,” Hamilton said Tuesday. “They’re well trained, more than I am. Right now, I probably wouldn’t have a chance against those guys, but if I got out there and trained and had the technique, I could get with those guys. But as of right now, they’re on a different level.”

Hamilton knows world-class sprinters find speed in different ways, by swinging their arms, for example. He never learned to run like that because track season fell during baseball season in high school.

“Me, I just run,” Hamilton said. “I’m just fast. I was blessed with it.”

Hamilton was out of the lineup Tuesday after running into the wall Monday and suffering a knee contusion. He leads baseball with 51 stolen bases.

Since Hamilton’s big-league debut in September 2013, he leads baseball with 177 stolen bases. His success rate is 81.9 percent. Dee Gordon, of the Marlins, ranks second in that time span with 139 stolen bases and a success rate of 76.4.

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