twins

Previous Story Molitor’s wisdom must have worked: Eddie Rosario follows advice for 2 hits Next Story Wetmore: Stretching to come up with 4 benefits for Twins from Wednesday’s rainout

Report: Byron Buxton is really fast; his speedy teammate might surprise you

MINNEAPOLIS –Byron Buxton is a really fast runner. And now, we have scientific evidence!

MLB’s Statcast is doing some cool things this year, and work from people like Tom Tango, Mike Petriello and Daren Willman is fun to follow, as they dig deeper into tracking metrics and try to refine our understanding of the game.

The latest article, published on MLB.com, examines top-end outfielder speed.

As you might expect, Buxton ranks near the top of the list. Right behind Reds outfielder, Billy Hamilton.

Petriello explains the rational in the column. In short, they’re using feet per second instead of miles per hour because baseball plays only take a few seconds on average, so things get wonky when we use the more traditional mph label.

According to the column, Buxton averaged the second-fastest top speed in the outfield last year (measured by a fielder’s fastest one-second interval), at 29.7 feet per second.

Twins right fielder Max Kepler marks surprisingly high on the list, as he’s not necessarily known as a burner in the same way that Buxton is. But Kepler’s got wheels. His speed tied for sixth-fastest among outfielders last year, at 28.6 feet per second. That’s ahead of speedy guys like Christian Yelich and Kevin Kiermaier, per Statcast.

I talked with Kepler the other day about his speed, because he’s caught my eye a few times this season busting it down to first base.

He said he doesn’t know if he’s actually faster, but he’s made a concerted effort to get started quickly this year. Better jumps and the same speed should, in theory, lead to faster times to first base. We’ll see how that plays out when the Statcast guys come out with base running metrics.

I wrote this spring about how Max Kepler might be underrated as an outfielder.

Is Max Kepler underrated as an outfielder?

Right on cue during Tuesday’s game, the right fielder showed that speed, when he legged out an infield single by blazing down the line.

But then again, he dropped a routine pop fly in the outfield, leading to two more Indians runs in the 1st inning. (That doesn’t really change the premise of the ‘underrated’ column, but as it’s worth pointing out as a counter-argument.)

  • Joe Wells

    While I’m not against metrics I say this; They just confirm what the astute baseball fan already knows. It doesn’t or shouldn’t surprise anyone of Buxton’s feet per second time. Someone hit a ball 106.7 mph last night and it was caught. ( who cares) Metrics along with me will be dead by 2040. No doubt in my mind.





twins

Previous Story Molitor’s wisdom must have worked: Eddie Rosario follows advice for 2 hits Next Story Wetmore: Stretching to come up with 4 benefits for Twins from Wednesday’s rainout