On Tuesday afternoon, a corner of the visitors clubhouse here at Comerica Park was home to a discussion of the fastest players in baseball.
The impetus was the release of MLB’s latest Statcast metric — “Sprint Speed” — which is defined as “feet per second in a player’s one-second window.” The statistic aims to identify moments of maximum effort on the base paths and identify the fastest runners in baseball. The results were fascinating even to the men that play the game.
Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (27.5 feet per second) was rated as the second-fastest player at his position, while center fielder Lorenzo Cain (29.2 feet per second) was tied for eighth in all of baseball, along with former Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson.
Second baseman Whit Merrifield, meanwhile, was rated as the third-fastest player at his position. His ‘Sprint Speed’: 28.6 feet per second.
“I feel like sometimes my speed gets a little overlooked,” Merrifield said. “It’s nice to have some validation, I guess.”
Merrifield said he gets constant ribbing from teammate Brandon Moss about his speed. Moments later, Moss appeared, joking that he simply didn’t believe that Merrifield had the calves to supply such incredible speed.
The data offered other surprises, too. Hosmer’s designation as one of the fastest first basemen may be slightly surprising. But perhaps not. Mets fans may still be shaking their heads aabout Hosmer’s mad dash in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series.
Well, they should take comfort in knowing this: Hosmer can run pretty well.
The data covers the last three seasons, and it’s interesting to note that two of the top four fastest players in 2016 were Royals: Minnesota’s Byron Buxton was first (30.7), followed by Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton (30.2), Raul Mondesi (29.7) and Dyson (29.6).
In 2015, Dyson was No. 1 (30.0), tied with Buxton. Royals minor-leaguer Paulo Orlando was third (29.7).
You can find the information here.
Here is the speed for each Royals player in 2017 and how they rank at their position.
Salvador Perez: 26.1 feet per second
Rank among catchers: 20th
Top three fastest catchers: 1. J.T. Realmuto, Marlins, 28.7; Willson Contreras, Cubs; Austin Barnes, Dodgers, 27.3.
Eric Hosmer: 27.5 feet per second
Rank among first basemen: 2nd
Top three fastest first basemen: Will Myers, Padres, 28.5; Hosmer; Jefry Marte, Angels 27.5.
Whit Merrifield: 28.6 feet per second
Rank among second basemen: 3rd
Top three fastest second basemen: Dee Gordon, Marlins, 29.3; Alen Hanson, White Sox, 28.7; Merrifield.
Mike Moustakas: 25.6 feet per second
Rank among third basemen: 37th
Top three fastest third basemen: Kris Bryant, Cubs, 28.2; Eduardo Escobar, Twins, 28.0; Jose Ramirez, Indians, 28.0.
Alcides Escobar: 28.2 feet per second
Rank among shortstops: 8th
Top three fastest shortstops: Trea Turner, Nationals, 29.0; Wilmer Difo, Nationals, 28.5; Tim Anderson, White Sox, 28.5.
Alex Gordon: 26.6 feet per second
Rank among left fielders: 40th
Top three fastest left fielders: Delino DeShields, Rangers, 29.3; Allen Cordoba, Padres, 29.0; Ben Revere, Angels, 28.8.
Lorenzo Cain: 29.2 feet per second
Rank among center fielders: 6th
Top three fastest center fielders: Billy Hamilton, Reds, 30.1; Byron Buxton, Twins, 29.9; Bradley Zimmer, Indians, 29.8.
Jorge Bonifacio: 27.8 feet per second
Rank among right fielders: 11th
Top three fastest right fielders: Daniel Robertson, Indians, 28.3; Ben Gamel, Marines, 28.3; Scott Schebler, Reds, 28.2.
Brandon Moss: 26.8 feet per second
Rank among designated hitters: 4th
Top four fastest designated hitters: Corey Dickerson, Rays, 27.8; Robbie Grossman, Twins, 27.5; Rickie Weeks, Jr., Rays, 26.9.
Here are the fastest players this season:
1. Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton, 30.1 feet per second
2. Twins outfielder Byron Buxton, 29.9 feet per second
3. Indians outfielder Bradley Zimmer, 29.8 feet per second
4. Padres outfielder Franchy Cordero, 29.6 feet per second
5. Brewers outfielder Keon Broxton, 29.4 feet per second
6T. Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon, 29.3 feet per second
6T. Rangers outfielder Delino DeShields, 29.3 feet per second
8T. Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain, 29.2 feet per second
8T. Mariners outfielder Jarrod Dyson, 29.2 feet per second
8T. Padres outfielder Manuel Margot, 29.2 feet per second
8T. Ray outfielder Mallex Smith, 29.2 feet per second
8T. Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, 29.2 feet per second