New rules could mold Victor Scott into a supercharged version of this speedster

Baseball's new rules promoting stolen bases will be a boon for the St. Louis Cardinals' Victor Scott II, giving him an exciting ceiling in the form of a deluxe version of Billy Hamilton.

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St. Louis Cardinals fans are salivating over Victor Scott II, the speed demon and defensive whiz who is starting the year with the major league club. The 23-year-old tore up Spring Training with his wheels, and fans have begun to dream about what kind of career Scott could weave for himself and how he could provide a new dimension to the Cardinals' offense.

It's easy to fantasize about Scott becoming the next Lou Brock, but fans should temper their expectations for the rookie. A more apt comparison for Scott is Billy Hamilton, a blazing-fast outfielder who was dynamic with the Cincinnati Reds in his early years. From 2013 to 2018, Hamilton hit .245 and stole 277 bases. His career took a nosedive after he left Cincinnati, as he hit .205 from 2019 to 2023 and stole 49 bases.

Some might deem Scott a failure if he were to have a career resembling Hamilton's, but thanks to baseball's leaguewide attempt to revive the stolen base, Scott could be a beneficiary of some perks that Hamilton never had in his prime years.

Major League Baseball instituted a few changes before the 2023 season to help basestealers, as the size of each base was increased and pitchers were allowed a maximum of three pickoff attempts. As a result, stolen bases increased by over 40% throughout the league. Scott should be able to take advantage of these new rules and lay waste to basepaths around the league. The only question is whether he'll hit enough to get on base consistently.

One advantage Scott has over Hamilton is that Scott is a natural left-hander. Hamilton, a right-hander, became a switch-hitter in the minor leagues, presumably so he would be a step closer to first base from the left-handed batter's box, but he gave up the practice in 2021, choosing to hit solely right-handed. Scott's more innate ability to hit left-handed and luxury of not having to focus on switch-hitting could boost his potential at the plate.

Because speed is usually the first attribute to fade as a player ages, Scott will need to prove that he can be proficient with the bat in his hands if he wants to be a longtime major league player. At the very least, his Gold Glove-caliber defense in center field should make him a valuable reserve.

Scott could end up soaring higher than Hamilton did given the new rules that will allow his gazelle-like speed to play up. His long-term future is murky, as it is with most players who have speed as their top skill, but he should create a highly entertaining brand of baseball that might just bring back the fans of Whiteyball from the 1980s.