Minnesota Twins: Statcast tells just how fast Byron Buxton is
Minnesota Twins fans have marveled at Byron Buxton’s speed since the moment he was drafted. Statcast developed a stat to help us measure his great speed.
Statcast has taken a prominent place in the consumption of Major League Baseball recently. In that prominent place, it has given fans a different understanding of how each player’s actions may impact a game.
There are stats such as fly ball trajectory and those graphics that show the distance, route, and speed of an outfielder on an amazing fly ball catch. That last one is a graphic Minnesota Twins fans have seen over and over again as Statcast has helped break down some amazing Byron Buxton catches.
Speaking of the speedy Buxton, Twins fans may be disappointed with the results of the newest metric that Statcast released for fans to enjoy. That stat is Sprint Speed and it measures “feet per second in a player’s fastest one second window.” And while Buxton rates very well with his sprint speed, he comes in second to the Reds’ Billy Hamilton. Buxton is rated at 29.9 ft./sec. while Hamilton edges him out at 30.1 ft./sec. (hat tip to Parker Hageman).
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While we always would like to see first place results, being the second fastest in all of baseball is nothing to be ashamed of! One of the best parts of the stat is that they have done the work to take out all of the plays that are not considered “max effort.” That helps to give a true representation of what a player’s speed is and does not lump in some of those situations that don’t call for a full out sprint.
The Minnesota Twins Have Speed
League average sprint speed is 27.0 ft./sec. and 7 of the qualified 12 Twins’ players (10 max effort plays) find themselves above that league average mark. It is likely no surprise that joining Buxton in that group is the rest of the regular, starting outfield–Max Kepler (3rd team) and Eddie Rosario (T-4th team). More surprisingly, the team’s fourth outfielder/DH Robbie Grossman also makes the list as the seventh and final Twins’ player above league average.
The rest of the Twins’ players above league average are Jorge Polanco (2nd team), Eduardo Escobar (T-4th team), and Brian Dozier (6th team). What is interesting is all seven of these players see time in the outfield or middle infield positions. Makes you wonder if sprint speed is just another stat that helps point to the team’s improved ability and performance on defense. A defense that has helped keep the Twins in contention in 2017.
Sprint speed will continue to collect data and may tell us a different story in the long term. In the short term, it clearly shows the Twins have put together a team where speed is a strength. Word is speed doesn’t end at the big league level, as there is already speculation on whether or not top overall draft pick Royce Lewis may challenge Buxton as fastest in the Twins organization.
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We will just have to wait for a spring training race or Lewis to put in ten max effort plays in the Majors to find out. No matter that result, Statcast has put another great tool together for us to help examine who are the fastest players in baseball.