With staff ace/trade candidate Bud Norris scratched from his scheduled start, the Houston Astros were aiming to score early and often on Tuesday night.

Rookie shortstop Jonathan Villar obliged in the top of the third inning with a straight steal of home against Wei-Yin Chen and the Baltimore Orioles.

Villar coyly took a walking lead, getting about five feet from third base, then 10 and 15. Chen had his back turned the whole time (oh, the challenges of being left-handed).

Villar paused for another second or two, then sprinted toward the plate. The throw to catcher Matt Wieters was neither accurate nor nearly in time.

The Astros’ official Twitter account reminds us that speedy second baseman Jose Altuve recently accomplished the same feat:

Just like that, a 22-year-old whom nobody wanted to watch—not even Chen or Wieters—now has the eyes of baseball world watching his impressive highlight.

Expect more of these athletic acts from Villar in 2013 and beyond. Prior to being promoted last week, he had stolen 31 bases and totaled eight triples in 91 games at Triple-A.

It’s been more of the same so far at baseball’s highest level. Villar’s latest theft is his fifth in eight contests for the Astros, and he added another highlight in the sixth inning of Tuesday’s contest with an outstanding diving catch in the field.

Villar is already atop Houston’s depth chart now that the organization has released veteran infielder Ronny Cedeno, so he’ll have ample opportunities to flaunt his skills with the bat, glove and wheels.

Now, we have at least one legitimate reason to follow the least competitive team in MLB down the stretch.


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