Fast 25: The 25 Speediest Guys in Baseball
Speed has always been intriguing. Professional baseball players that can jet around the basepaths certainly draw a lot of attention to themselves.
Cincinnati Reds prospect Billy Hamilton has been in the spotlight a lot over the past year because of his blazing speed. He is just one example of how a player's stock can rise because of how fast they can run.
There are a number of baseball players that have demonstrated impressive speed in the major leagues this season. Some of the fastest players in the game are only part-time players, but it is because of their speed that they are even in the major leagues.
Stolen bases are just one way to measure how fast a player is. Their ability to sprint to first base, hustle around the bases to score a run and covering ground in the field all help determine who the fastest players in baseball are.
This slideshow ranks the 25 fastest players in baseball today.
25. Carl Crawford
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In his nine seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, Carl Crawford stole 409 bases. He has not stolen bases at that high of a rate with the Boston Red Sox, but he is still tremendously fast.
An elbow injury has kept Crawford out of a lot of action this season, but his legs are still fine (h/t Tony Lee of ESPN Boston). Through his first 21 games, Crawford has stolen three bases without being caught and has hit two triples.
24. Jarrod Dyson
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Over the past three seasons, Jarrod Dyson has gradually earned more and more playing time because of his speed. In 78 games this season, Dyson has stolen 22 bases while only being caught three times.
Dyson has legged out five triples on the year and certainly could get a few more before the season is over. Based on his performance this season, Dyson has an impressive speed score of 8.9 (h/t Fangraphs).
23. Andrew McCutchen
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There are few, if any, players in the major leagues that are more of the complete package than Andrew McCutchen is. He leads the National League in batting average, is near the top of the pack home runs, is a good defensive player and he has blazing speed.
McCutchen has 14 stolen bases and five triples on the year. These two things helped him have a speed score of 5.8 on the year (h/t FanGraphs). McCutchen's speed is one of the reasons why he is able to do a good job patrolling center field at PNC Park.
22. Ben Revere
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Ben Revere has gotten progressively better since he was called up in 2010 as a 22-year-old, and he is looking like he will be a big part of the Minnesota Twins' future. One big thing that Revere brings to the table is speed.
The 27 bases that Revere has stolen this season are good enough to rank him third in the American League. He has also picked up three triples on the year. Based on his prowess on the bases, Revere has a 6.9 speed score this year (h/t FanGraphs).
Revere has been a defensive star this year, and he leads all American League right fielders with a 2.31 range factor, according to Baseball-Reference.
21. Jordan Schafer
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Jordan Schafer has had trouble reaching base this season, and his .304 on-base percentage is certainly not what he would like it to be. Despite those struggles, Schafer has caused problems once he does get on base.
One way that Schafer has been able to get on base this year is by bunting. He has picked up six bunt hits in 18 attempts this season (h/t Baseball-Reference). Schafer has stolen 26 bases, good for sixth in the National League this season. Fangraphs shows a speed score of 6.8 for Schafer on the year.
20. Carlos Gomez
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One of the reasons that Carlos Gomez has seen as much playing time as he has over the past few years with the Milwaukee Brewers is because of his blazing speed. He is a threat to score on almost any hit once he is at second base.
Gomez also does a fairly good job of getting to second base after reaching on a single. The Brewers centerfielder has stolen 21 bases in 26 attempts. FanGraphs reports a speed score of 9.3 for Gomez this season, which is the highest mark of his career.
19. Elvis Andrus
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During each of his first three seasons in the major leagues, Elvis Andrus has stolen at least 30 bases. This season should be no different, as he already has 18 steals on the year.
With six triples this year, Andrus ranks third in the American League. Andrus has collected six bunt hits in 14 attempts this season (h/t Baseball-Reference). His tremendous speed has also helped Andrus make demonstrate fantastic range at shortstop. It should come as no surprise that Andrus has a high speed score of 6.5 (h/t FanGraphs).
18. Drew Stubbs
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Drew Stubbs made waves during his first full season in the major leagues because he put up a 20/20 year. In fact, Stubbs stole 30 bases in 2010. That was followed up by a 40-steal year in 2011.
Stubbs is on pace to break 30 steals once again, as he already has 26 stolen bases on the season. There have been 10 times this season when Stubbs has tried to bunt for a hit, and he has been successful in four of them (h/t Baseball-Reference). FanGraphs shows that Stubbs has a speed score of 7.2, which is good for the fifth-best score in baseball.
17. Matt Kemp
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Matt Kemp showed just how dominant of a player he could be in 2011 when he just missed both a 40/40 season and winning the National League MVP award. Kemp's speed is one of the things that allowed him to take over a game.
A hamstring injury has bugged Kemp in 2012, and it has certainly zapped some of his lighting-fast speed (h/t Andrew John of The Los Angeles Times). As a result of the injury, Kemp has been attempting less stolen bases and only has four steals on the year. When he is healthy, it is hard to deny that Kemp is one of the fastest players in baseball.
16. Jose Altuve
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In what has been a down year for the Houston Astros, they have had one bright shinning star. Jose Altuve has emerged as a piece that the Astros should be looking to build around.
Altuve has demonstrated the ability to get on base at around a .300 clip, and once there, he has had little problem showing off his speed and stealing bases. His 23 stolen bases are 10th in the National League.
With a speed score of 6.5, Altuve ranks as one of the fastest players in baseball (h/t FanGraphs).
15. Clay Buchholz
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It is very rare that American League pitchers run on the base paths, but based on his speed, the Boston Red Sox might want to consider using Clay Buchholz as a pinch runner. It can certainly be said that Buchholz is deceptively fast.
When Buchholz was a senior in high school, he ran an impressive 10.87 in the 100-meter dash (h/t Tom Halliburton).
14. Nyjer Morgan
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Nyjer Morgan is a testament to the fact that being fast does not mean that a player is great at stealing bases. He stole 34 bases in 2010, but he was also caught 17 times that year.
Writers such as Aaron Gleeman of NBC Sports suggested that Morgan stop trying to steal as much because of how often he got caught. The Brewers obviously agreed with this idea, and Morgan's stolen-base attempts are way down since 2010.
While Morgan may not be showing his speed when he tries to steal bases, he demonstrates it when he motors around the basepaths as he is trying to score.
13. Juan Pierre
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Juan Pierre has led his league in stolen bases three times during his career. Even in his mid-30s, Pierre is proving to be a hassle on the bases for opposing pitchers. He has swiped 27 bags on the year.
There have been four occasions this season in which Pierre has been able to stretch out a triple. One of the more impressive things about Pierre's numbers this year is the fact that he has nine bunt hits (h/t Baseball-Reference).
12. Ichiro Suzuki
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Since coming to the major leagues in 2001, Ichiro Suzuki has been one of the fastest players in the major leagues. In 10 out of his first 11 seasons in the majors, Ichiro stole at least 30 bases.
Ichiro has collected a number of bunt hits over the years, but he has only had one this season (h/t Baseball-Reference). The reason that Ichiro was able to rack up all of these bunt hits is his incredible speed to first base. He had been timed at 3.7 seconds from the batter's box to first base by scouts early in his career (h/t Matt Christopher).
While Ichiro has slowed down over the years, he still has an impressive speed score of 6.6 (h/t FanGraphs).
11. Jason Bourgeois
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Despite his speed, Jason Bourgeois has struggled to get playing time in the Kansas City Royals outfield this season. However, manager Ned Yost was immediately impressed with Bourgeois' speed in spring training this year after the Royals traded for him (h/t Dick Kaegel of MLB.com).
A year after stealing 31 bases in just 93 games for the Houston Astros, Bourgeois has three stolen bases in 19 games this year. Even in his limited action, Bougeois has a speed score of 8.0 this season (h/t FanGraphs).
10. Rajai Davis
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When Rajai Davis reaches bases, opposing catchers know that they need to be ready to make a throw down to second base. Davis already has 30 stolen bases this year, which is good for second in the American League. One of the things that makes Davis' stolen base total even more impressive is the fact that he has so many steals while having only 282 plate appearances.
Davis has also jetted his way to three triples so far this season. The Toronto Blue Jays outfielder has a speed score of 8.4 this year (h/t FanGraphs).
9. Cameron Maybin
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One of the tools that scouts raved about when Cameron Maybin was in the minor leagues was his speed (h/t MLB). Maybin finally showed off that speed in the majors when he stole 40 bases in 2011.
This season, Maybin has struggled to get on base, but he has terrorized opposing pitchers and catchers when he does reach base. He already has 20 stolen bases on the season. According to FanGraphs, Maybin has a speed score of 7.5.
There is a lot of space in center field at PETCO Park, and Maybin has been able to cover all of the ground there without any problems.
8. Jacoby Ellsbury
Ever since Jacoby Ellsbury stole 70 bases in 2009, he has been slowed down by injuries. Since that season, Ellsbury has stolen just 49 bases while being caught 16 times.
That does not diminish the tremendous speed that Ellsbury has. A healthy Jacoby Ellsbury is one of the fastest players in baseball.
7. Quintin Berry
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Based on some of the stolen base totals that he put up in the minor leagues, the Detroit Tigers knew that Quintin Berry had some speed. It would have been hard to expect that he would have stolen 15 bases without being caught so far this season.
Berry has attempted to bunt for a hit 13 times this season, and he has been successful six times (h/t Baseball-Reference). A speed score of 8.5 for Berry is among the best in the major leagues, and it shows that he is a speed demon (h/t FanGraphs).
6. Brett Gardner
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The New York Yankees have let Brett Gardner run wild since he reached the major leagues, and it has resulted in him picking up 137 stolen bases through his first 468 games. He has also successfully bunted for a hit 22 times in 49 attempts during his career (h/t Baseball-Reference).
An elbow injury has cost Gardner an extended amount of time this season, and he has only played nine games (h/t David Waldstein of The New York Times). While the Yankees are leading the American League East, they certainly miss having Gardner and his legs in their lineup.
5. Jose Reyes
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Jose Reyes could hardly be stopped on the basepaths between 2005 and 2007. He led the National League in stolen bases in each of those season and had 202 steals and 46 triples in the three-year period.
Reyes has since had to deal with a number of hamstring issues, but they have not taken away too much of his speed (h/t Adam Rubin of The New York Daily News).
Now with the Miami Marlins, Reyes has demonstrated his outstanding speed. On the year, Reyes has eight triples and 28 stolen bases. His 7.2 speed score is the fifth-best in baseball for qualified players this year (h/t FanGraphs).
4. Tony Campana
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A large part of Tony Campana's value is derived from his outstanding speed. He stole 24 bases in 2011, and Campana has improved on that number already this season.
With his 26 steals in 29 attempts, Campana has boosted his career stolen base success percentage to 91 percent. The Cubs should certainly try to get Campana more at-bats so he has the opportunity to swipe more bases.
Campana has made good use of his speed when it comes to bunting for base hits. He has seven bunt hits on the season (h/t Baseball-Reference).
3. Dee Gordon
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When Dee Gordon stole 73 bases during his second year in the minor leagues, the Los Angeles Dodgers knew that he could have a big impact in the majors because of his speed. Gordon had gotten the top speed grade from a scout when he was in the minors (h/t Jon Heyman of CBS Sports).
Gordon has only played in 78 games so far this season and he has struggled a bit. However, Gordon has caused problems for pitchers when he has been on the bases and has 30 steals on the year.
2. Michael Bourn
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Michael Bourn was born to run. He has been a prolific base stealer during his career, and he currently ranks third in the National League with 29 stolen bases on the year. For the past three seasons, Bourn has led the National League in stolen bases.
Bourn has demonstrated an outstanding ability to stretch doubles into triples, and he has eight three-baggers this season. With an impressive 7.9 speed score, Bourn ranks second amongst qualified players (h/t FanGraphs).
1. Mike Trout
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It seems as if there is nothing that young superstar Mike Trout cannot do. He can hit for power and average, plays great defense and he has tremendous speed. Trout was given an 80 speed grade, the highest possible grade, by John Sickels of Minor League Ball.
This season, Trout has certainly lived up to his high grade. Trout leads all of baseball with 36 steals, and he has been caught just three times. Additionally, Trout has five triples on the season. Trout has only tried to bunt for a hit four times this season, but he has been successful three times (h/t Baseball-Reference).
There is no player in baseball with more than 300 at-bats that has a higher speed score than the 9.0 that Mike Trout has (h/t FanGraphs).