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Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Soul of Baseball: Posnanski: Willie Wilson: Fastest ever?

Ellie Howard will not be on this list…as I once went to the Elston Howard Travel Agency in Fort Lee, NJ…it took him 15 minutes to come out of the backroom!

OK, so question No. 1: Was Willie Wilson the fastest player in the last, say, 50 years? For this, I (of course) turned to Bill James, who (of course) had his own unique way to look at the question. You Bill James disciples already know that Bill has a value he invented called the “speed score.” I guess that the good folks at Baseball Prospectus have tinkered with speed scores too. It is an attempt to pull a players speed out of the statistics. Bill is very quick to point out his speed score is just an estimate; it’s not meant to be a precise measurement of a player’s speed. But, I must say, it’s awfully good.

 

Repoz Posted: March 03, 2007 at 07:02 PM | 64 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics

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   1. John DiFool2 Posted: March 04, 2007 at 12:55 AM (#2306369)
Surprised nobody's commented on this article. Then again a column where the results are completely uncontroversial and absolutely
non-surprising don't get much reaction around here. [A-Rod farts on the team bus and annoys Jeter? 150 responses!]

Anyway, I understand why managers don't want to run too much in front of the big boppers of today. Is it possible tho that there
simply isn't anyone today with the speed of Wills, Wilson or Coleman who also has learned the art of stealing? I wonder if we will
ever see 100 SB guy again, or how many years it will be before we do. Maybe the decline of turf has something to do with it (didn't
hurt Wills tho to steal on dirt infields).
   2. BDC Posted: March 04, 2007 at 01:02 AM (#2306373)
Wilson was the fastest player I ever saw, based mostly on moments like the one Posnanski describes, when you would look up on a routine out and Wilson would be halfway down the right-field line. Another guy who was insanely fast down the line in his youth was Ruben Sierra. I know that doesn't sound like the Ruben Sierra you've seen lately, but you had to be there ... Wilson, by contrast, was still one of the faster guys in the National League when he was ancient and played for the Cubs.
   3. Kiko Sakata Posted: March 04, 2007 at 01:05 AM (#2306374)
Is it possible tho that there simply isn't anyone today with the speed of Wills, Wilson or Coleman who also has learned the art of stealing? I wonder if we will ever see 100 SB guy again, or how many years it will be before we do.

I think this is the type of player that MLB is losing to other sports. I think if he was growing up today, Willie Wilson would have been much more likely to grow up to be either an NFL wide receiver or a point guard. Pure raw speed is much more valuable in those sports (or, obviously, track) than baseball, where, as they say, you can't steal first base.
   4. AJMcCringleberry Posted: March 04, 2007 at 01:21 AM (#2306379)
Who is the fastest player in today’s game?

Jose Reyes. He's led the league in triples and stolen bases the last 2 years.
   5. EddieA Posted: March 04, 2007 at 01:47 AM (#2306385)
Bobby Bonds and Omar Moreno were successful competitive sprinters. Bonds was Cal. state champion at least in the 100 in 1964 and maybe more (as he ran everything through 440) and Moreno I believe was a Latin American champion. Bonds' sister made the Olympic finals in the hurdles (did not medal).

I have no idea how to find times from so long ago.
   6. AROM Posted: March 04, 2007 at 01:50 AM (#2306386)
Joey Gathright is as fast as they come, but he's not good enough to play enough to steal 100 bases
   7. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: March 04, 2007 at 02:15 AM (#2306393)
Evar Swanson still holds the record for fastest time around the basepaths. But that was 75 years ago. They used stopwatches back then and I'll have to dig out my files on him, but I believe that they used multiple clockers on him.
   8. Bruce Markusen Posted: March 04, 2007 at 02:39 AM (#2306397)
Wilson is the fastest guy I've seen. He was such a perfect fit for Royals (Kaufmann) Stadium) when it had artificial turf. Another really fast guy, but who wasn't much of a player, was a light-hitting infielder named Larry Lintz. He played for the A's and the Expos in the seventies, and for a time was used strictly as a pinch-runner.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 04, 2007 at 03:22 AM (#2306403)
Lintz is briefly mentioned in the post. I had never heard of him, so its nice to learn about a player like him.

Lee Lacy is interesting. His speed numbers look terrible until he's an older man. What accounted for that?

Baseball players who do something different, but do it very well, have always fascinated me. I grew up on the dawn of the offensive explosion, so guys that could steal a base were always some of my favorites. I was a big Alex Cole fan - he was the real life Willie Mays Hays.
   10. Brian Posted: March 04, 2007 at 04:32 AM (#2306415)
Don't forget Bo Jackson, he was amazingly fast before he got hurt.
   11. EddieA Posted: March 04, 2007 at 05:29 AM (#2306431)
Here are a couple of track times;

From Love Me, Hate Me - Bobby Bonds ran 9.5 100 yards in high school (about 10.4 100 meter). He was a 25'3" long jumper. He was married with a baby the summer he got out of high school, which explains why he had to become a pro baseball player.
From 2001 FSU media guide - Deion Sanders ran 10.26 100 meter, 4th fastest in FSU history at that time.
Bo Jackson did not make Auburn media guide, which cut off at 10.24, so Deion wouldn't have made it either. According to a message board, Bo's best was 10.39.
   12. OCF Posted: March 04, 2007 at 06:32 AM (#2306443)
I always thought that if you strapped football pads on both of them, made Vince Coleman play cornerback, and given Bo Jackson the ball, if Bo ever got the corner turned, Coleman would never have been able to run Bo down from behind. Bo was certainly football fast - but his speed is not obvious in his baseball record.

The obvious speed all over WIllie Wilson's record does owe somthing to a large, triples-friendly, artificial-turf home park. But I'm not going to argue with the proposition that you can't find anyone faster.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 04, 2007 at 06:42 AM (#2306446)
The obvious speed all over WIllie Wilson's record does owe somthing to a large, triples-friendly, artificial-turf home park. But I'm not going to argue with the proposition that you can't find anyone faster.


I think you're right about that.

Willie home: 1083 games 620 runs 88 triples 382 steals 64 caught
Willie road: 1071 games 549 runs 59 triples 286 steals 70 caught

But he was really, really, really fast.
   14. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: March 04, 2007 at 07:08 AM (#2306447)
Maybe the decline of turf has something to do with it (didn't hurt Wills tho to steal on dirt infields).

Turf gives speedsters more value in the overall game, which helps give them (or used to give them) a starting job in which they have the chance to steal 100.
   15. RobertMachemer Posted: March 04, 2007 at 07:56 AM (#2306457)
Don't forget Bo Jackson, he was amazingly fast before he got hurt.
It's not possible to forget the wonder that was Bo Jackson.
   16. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 04, 2007 at 08:00 AM (#2306458)
Willie Wilson may have had the most savage "charging the mound" moment ever. The Royals were playing the Indians in 1987, and Ken Schrom threw at Wilson's head. The at-bat ended with a routine flyball, with Wilson running to first base. After the ball had been caught. Wilson unexpectedly dropped his shoulder into a football-type stance, and ran full steam at Schrom. Schrom had his back turned, and Wilson tackled him full blast, literally folding Schrom penknife-style into a wide "V". Just as memorable was the reaction of the Cleveland infield; you could see one react, take a step to stop Wilson, and then realize that he was trying to catch up to Willie Wilson's 30-foot lead.

It was a nasty headhunting series; the previous day, Jamie Quirk had his hand broken by a pitch, there'd been other message pitches, and the Royals had lost on an 8th-inning grand slam.

But the fastest player I ever saw was Alex Cole in his rookie year.
   17. Steve Treder Posted: March 04, 2007 at 08:23 AM (#2306461)
It's obviously completely subjective and unscientific, but the fastest baseball player I've ever seen was Deion Sanders.
   18. baudib Posted: March 04, 2007 at 09:42 AM (#2306466)
Let me add the young Eric Davis to the list.
   19. What's the realistic upside, RMc? Posted: March 04, 2007 at 12:20 PM (#2306471)
It's not possible to forget the wonder that was Bo Jackson.

Ahh, Tecmo Bowl. Bo must've run 300 yards on that play! (Great way to kill the clock, too!)
   20. Repoz Posted: March 04, 2007 at 12:24 PM (#2306472)
I was as shocked as anyone when I read (Ray Robinson?) that Bill White was considered the fastest player in the NL during the '58-'60 time.
   21. Eugene Freedman Posted: March 04, 2007 at 02:35 PM (#2306489)
In the mid-80s skill competitions Tim Raines was always fastest home to first. Granted that was from the left side and I don't remember Wilson participating.
   22. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 04, 2007 at 03:23 PM (#2306502)
Guys from my youth who were considered fast:

George Case. Nobody might remember his name but the guy was a pretty fair player for the Senators in the late 30's early 40's. No power but got on base and stole bases like nobody else. In '39 when he stole 51 the runner up had 23.

Pete Reiser. All anyone associates with the guy is running into walls and hurting himself but he was a whirling dervish when not hurt.

Other guys who sprang to mind:

Willie Mays. I don't know where Willie sits on the list but Mays was pretty d*mn fast. I know he gets accolades all over the place but a young Willie Mays could go step for step with anyone.

Kirk Gibson. Gibson was startling as he was a big guy who could FLY. Even as a beat up player at age 36 Gibson stole 15 bases, caught only six, and hit into 2 double plays.

Of course, Pedro Ramos told anyone who would listen that he was the fastest guy anywhere.
   23. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: March 04, 2007 at 03:51 PM (#2306507)
Bill Hall is the fastest man in baseball.
   24. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 04, 2007 at 03:54 PM (#2306508)
bk:

I was wondering when you would post that image. I thought that was a pretty funny bit by Hall.
   25. BDC Posted: March 04, 2007 at 03:57 PM (#2306509)
I remember Juan Samuel giving an interview years ago and saying simply "I am the fastest."

Gary Pettis never hit a huge number of triples, largely because he had some trouble hitting the ball out of the infield, but he was another guy that was pretty impressive either in the outfield or getting down the line.
   26. Steve Treder Posted: March 04, 2007 at 04:07 PM (#2306517)
Steve, you must have seen Sanders play centerfield more than I. How was he as a centerfielder?

Kind of raw, as he was with the bat. And his arm wasn't much good. But, especially in his first few years, he made the biggest outfield look like a postage stamp.

Let me add the young Eric Davis to the list.

Roger that. And the young Bobby Bonds was astoundingly fast too.
   27. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: March 04, 2007 at 04:13 PM (#2306521)
I was wondering when you would post that image. I thought that was a pretty funny bit by Hall.

Yeah, you just don't see enough junk these days in baseball.
   28. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 04, 2007 at 04:48 PM (#2306527)
Anyone else remember the '82 All-Star game when Steve Carlton got Willie to ground into a double play with Rickey on first?

The announcers were going wild at the notion of the two fastest guys in the American League getting doubled up.
   29. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: March 04, 2007 at 05:28 PM (#2306553)
Didn't Wilson hold a grudge against the Royals/Bo for having to give up football for his pro baseball career?
***
Joey G might be the fastest guy I've seen on a diamond. Donell Nixon was pretty quick, too.
   30. Squash Posted: March 04, 2007 at 06:31 PM (#2306573)
I remember Alex Cole. As a kid I was positive that he was going to break all of Vince Coleman's (ha ha) stolen base records, not realizing that a new era of baseball was dawning.
   31. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: March 04, 2007 at 06:31 PM (#2306574)
Gary Pettis never hit a huge number of triples, largely because he had some trouble hitting the ball out of the infield...

Shouldn't speed scores take this into account somehow? What you're really looking for is who's fast enough to turn a double into a triple, right? So there should be a factor based on the ratio of triples to doubles.

Between the years 1984 and 1990, Pettis had 38 triples, but only 95 doubles. In the same time frame, Kirby Puckett had 41 triples, but 237 doubles. Doing a ratio of some sort would control for chances.

Of course, it could also be that without power, the outfielders play in, so for weaker players it's the defense that turns a double into a triple.
   32. Steve Treder Posted: March 04, 2007 at 07:16 PM (#2306590)
Of course, it could also be that without power, the outfielders play in, so for weaker players it's the defense that turns a double into a triple.

Yes. Speed is certainly the primary determinant of whether a double becomes a triple, but the way the outfielders play the hitter is also important. Duane Kuiper wasn't especially fast (though before his knees went bad he wasn't slow either), but he had a pretty high triples-to-doubles ratio because, due to his utter lack of power, the outfield played him extremely shallow. Any time he got a base hit between the outfielders, they were chasing it quite a ways, and he had a good shot at a triple.

Roger Metzger was another guy like that, who hit more triples than his speed would indicate, simply because they played him so shallow.

But as a general rule, the ratio of triples to doubles is a very good indicator of a guy's speed, at least for guys who aren't pull-hitting RHBs.
   33. cardsfanboy Posted: March 04, 2007 at 07:40 PM (#2306605)
I know growing up that I thought Willie McGee was faster than Vince Coleman, and that Lance Johnson was also faster, just that vince wanted to use his speed.

I'm sure he's not as fast as some of the other guys in baseball right now, but when JD Drew first came up, he seemed to me to be the fastest, smoothest runner going from home to third in the game at the time.
   34. OCF Posted: March 04, 2007 at 07:52 PM (#2306613)
Brett Butler had a high triples-to-doubles ratio. Now, Butler wasn't slow, but his SB/CS percentages pretty clearly mark him as someone whose speed you won't compare to Wilson. The outfielders played extremely shallow for Butler. In particular, the CF would play shallow and swung around towards left center. That pretty much guaranteed that if Butler could ever hit it past that CF, it would be a triple.

As for cardsfanboy's #35: for some reason, it always seemed important to people to point out when the guy with the most SB wasn't the fastest player in the league, or even on his own team. You definitely heard that Maury Wills wasn't as fast as Willie Davis - in fact, Davis had a pretty long run as the reputed fasted player in the game. Lou Brock wasn't as fast as a succession of people, including Davis, and possibly including Bake McBride (before McBride messed up his legs).
   35. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: March 04, 2007 at 08:01 PM (#2306615)
Nobody's mentioned Mantle yet?
   36. Steve Treder Posted: March 04, 2007 at 08:07 PM (#2306618)
Nobody's mentioned Mantle yet?

Who besides maybe Harvey or Andy saw Mantle play when he was young?
   37. GregD Posted: March 04, 2007 at 08:08 PM (#2306619)
Too young to see either Mantle or Mays but my dad and older family members often said--totally subjectively--that they thought Mantle was faster--and close to the fastest guy they ever saw--but that Mays was the best baserunner they ever saw, if you liked aggression on the basepaths off a batted ball.
   38. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 04, 2007 at 09:04 PM (#2306642)
Didn't Wilson hold a grudge against the Royals/Bo for having to give up football for his pro baseball career?


I thought it was quite the opposite. I thought Willie had a grudge against Bo for not dedicating himself to baseball and the Royals. Or maybe that was what you were getting at.

Speaking of which, one of my friends had lunch with Esix Snead a few weeks ago. If he had played in the 80s, Esix Snead could have been a Major League starter.

What about fast guys who otherwise sucked? Gerald Young, Brian Hunter, Tom Goodwin, the 80s produced quite a few of those guys too.
   39. kwarren Posted: March 04, 2007 at 09:17 PM (#2306652)
I know he gets accolades all over the place but a young Willie Mays could go step for step with anyone.

How do we know this?

If he were Joe Average hitter and Joe Average fielder would anybody be bringing him now, as being in a tie as the fastest player ever?
   40. Steve Treder Posted: March 04, 2007 at 09:19 PM (#2306655)
Mays was the best baserunner they ever saw, if you liked aggression on the basepaths off a batted ball.

I only saw Mays from age 35 onward, when he still ran well but was no longer truly fast. But he was, bar none, far and away the best baserunner I have ever seen.
   41. kwarren Posted: March 04, 2007 at 09:24 PM (#2306657)
So there should be a factor based on the ratio of triples to doubles.

Any player who routinely attempts to turn doubles into triples would have an awesome ratio. I don't think that makes him any faster than the guy is puts a little more value on not getting out and is content with a double.

In addition this ratio would be likely be more influenced by park factors and raw power than player speed.

Tony Fernandez did this a lot when he was trying to set the Blue Jay reocrd for triples in a season.
   42. Steve Treder Posted: March 04, 2007 at 09:27 PM (#2306659)
How do we know this?

How do we know how fast/slow any historic player was, without hard evidence?

We have the observations of contemporaries, and we have their stats such as triples, SB/CS, GIDP, and we have the position(s) they played on the field.

For those of us who didn't watch him when he was young, it's impossible to know with 100% certainty, of course. But there are mountains of good reasons to conclude that the young Mays was blindingly fast, perhaps not the fastest runner in his league but clearly among them.

I can certainly say that having watched him a lot in his late 30s and early 40s, if he could run as well as he did at that age, he had to be a jackrabbit in his early/mid 20s.

That said, the consensus opinion among those who watched them at the time was that the young Mantle was even faster than Mays.
   43. Danny Posted: March 04, 2007 at 09:46 PM (#2306667)
Turning doubles in triples might be a better measure of speed, but fast players turning singles into doubles would seem to make the 2B:3B ratio problematic.
   44. Cowboy Popup Posted: March 04, 2007 at 09:47 PM (#2306668)
"If he were Joe Average hitter and Joe Average fielder would anybody be bringing him now, as being in a tie as the fastest player ever?"

Well he probably wasn't Joe Average in the field because he was fast. He led his league in triples 3 times and SBs 4 times (and led the league in BBref's Power/Speed numbers 8 times!) so I'm guessing that even if he wasn't Willy Mays(!), the guys who got to see him play probably would remember him for his speed.

Now, I didn't see him play much until he was reduced to "only" stealing 40 bags a year, but was Henderson never considered the fastest guy in the league? I know he has low triple numbers for a guy who stole like him? Was he just not the kind of burner that would get mentioned here (only mention is #30, which granted calls him one of the two fastest guys in the AL)?
   45. Steve Treder Posted: March 04, 2007 at 09:52 PM (#2306670)
I know he has low triple numbers for a guy who stole like him?

That's a function of the fact that Henderson was a right-handed dead pull hitter. Very few triples are hit to left field, no matter how fast the runner, especially when the outfield plays the hitter fairly deep, as they did for Henderson because he had good power.

Henderson was lightning fast, but it seemed to me that his most exceptional speed was first/second step, getting into high gear very fast, more than it was his real top end MPH.
   46. Spahn Insane Posted: March 04, 2007 at 10:08 PM (#2306673)
Well, I think Herb Washington was the fastest. But Wilson is on the short list for for fastest real players. Vince Coleman and Deion Sanders have to be up there.

My fandom dates back only to 1981, but I think Sanders is the fastest player I've ever seen; at the very least, he put on the best individual display of speed in a game that I personally witnessed. Braves at Cubs, July 92. Same game in which Blauser homered 3 times. Sanders hit a triple down the right field line in which I swear he was on second by the time the right fielder (quickly) got to the ball, and also scored on a 4-base error by Doug Dascenzo in which Dascenzo dropped the ball on the warning track in left center, but it landed right in front of him and immediately relayed it to the infield. Sanders still scored standing up.
   47. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 04, 2007 at 10:15 PM (#2306677)
My challenge with Mantle is that you didn't get to see that speed in evidence very often. He didn't steal bases. He wasn't legging out triples, thank to his prodigious power. He played a fine centerfield, but while he was very good he wasn't Willie.

I think part of the story is that when he was really young Mantle WAS really fast for a guy built like a tank so he had the writers ga-ga. But due to the nature of his game and the Yankees trying to keep him in the lineup you just didn't get to see it on display often enough to confirm what you were told in the papers.

Something for folks to keep in mind is that the Yankee organization as a whole wasn't a fan of players who took a lot of risks. I don't know if it was the lingering influence of McCarthy or maybe watching Joe struggle to stay in the lineup but the Yanks just didn't think it was sensible for players to go around willy-nilly. And the better you were the less thrilled they were to see you go crashing into some fence. The Bombers were all about "calculated risks".

Mantle was certainly not wall shy or some such nonsense. But he wasn't about to go throwing himself around like Willie. And part of that is because he wasn't ASKED to do that. New York looked long-term when it came to the regular season. Everyone else could fuss about games in June. Not the Yanks.

Anyway, while I agree Mickey could run I cannot say definitively that he was one of the best I ever saw. Part of that is logistics in that during the 50's I only saw a handful of games each year due to other obligations. And when I did and the Yankees were involved I don't recall getting out of my seat in amazement watching Mantle run.

Watching Mickey Mantle play baseball was an experience.

Watching Willie Mays play baseball was breathtaking.
   48. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 04, 2007 at 10:33 PM (#2306679)
Cool Papa Bell was so fast that he could flip a switch and be in bed by the time the lights were out, so I've heard.
   49. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 04, 2007 at 10:54 PM (#2306687)
Joe ranks the fastest players in baseball today. This one cracked me up:

7. Willy Taveras, Colorado Rockies
Super Speed Score: 87.2

Scout: He can really fly, but I’m not sure he hits enough to be in the lineup everyday. He needs to take pitches. It will be fun to watch him run around in that big Colorado outfield.

When Buck O’Neil first saw Willy Taveras, he said: “This guy looks like a young Willie Mays.” The funny thing is: He meant it literally. Buck thought Taveras resembled Mays in the face. He didn’t think Taveras bore any resemblance at all to Mays as a player, with the possible exception that they both tended to wear caps on the field. Even there, Mays' cap flew off.
   50. BDC Posted: March 04, 2007 at 11:16 PM (#2306709)
What about fast guys who otherwise sucked?

I hate to say that any player "sucked" -- no really -- but Jeff Stone, still one of my favorites, had exceptional speed and yet ultimately could not hit, after batting .362 as a rookie. There were stories about Stone, how he clocked amazing 40-yard times in plowed fields, that sort of thing. Apocryphal no doubt, like the stories about Jimmie Foxx or Bronko Nagurski lifting a plow with one arm -- plowing always is a feature of these stories -- but it stands in for how fast people thought he was ...
   51. DCW3 Posted: March 04, 2007 at 11:28 PM (#2306715)
[Reyes] stole 64 bases last year and became the first player to steal 60-or-more bases in back-to-back years since … well, guess. No, it was not Toby Harrah. How did you come up with that name?
   52. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: March 05, 2007 at 12:42 AM (#2306736)
Vote Milt Cuyler!
   53. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 05, 2007 at 12:58 AM (#2306743)
I think part of the story is that when he was really young Mantle WAS really fast for a guy built like a tank so he had the writers ga-ga. But due to the nature of his game and the Yankees trying to keep him in the lineup you just didn't get to see it on display often enough to confirm what you were told in the papers.

Isn't the conventional wisdom that he lost some of his speed after tearing up his knee as a rookie?
   54. Steve Treder Posted: March 05, 2007 at 01:26 AM (#2306749)
Isn't the conventional wisdom that he lost some of his speed after tearing up his knee as a rookie?

I think it's more than conventional wisdom; it's common sense. If he didn't lose any of speed after his 1951 World Series knee injury, that would be a remarkable event.

And of course Mantle's osteomylitis gradually sapped his speed, year by year; there's no reason whatsoever to doubt it. Mantle as a rookie in 1951 was almost certainly the fastest he ever was, at least at the major league level, and it would stand to reason that the Mantle of, say, 1956 had lost a half-step or so to the Mantle of 1952.

Every player loses speed with age, of course, but in Mantle's case the rate was very likely accelerated. The fact that Mantle remained in the early 1960s a better-than-average runner, despite all the ravages (self-inflicted and otherwise) upon his body, is a strong indicator of just what a phenomenal physical specimen he must have been in about 1950.
   55. Vinman Posted: March 05, 2007 at 03:41 PM (#2306966)
Growing up in the 70s I always thought Ken Griffey Sr. was one of the fastest players in the game, especially from home to first. He could smell infield hits. I also remember Bake McBride being really fast.
   56. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: March 05, 2007 at 04:15 PM (#2306985)
What about fast guys who otherwise sucked?
My all-time leader in this category was Homer Bush. The guy could absolutely fly, but he just couldn't do pretty much anything else
   57. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 05, 2007 at 04:25 PM (#2306991)
What about fast guys who otherwise sucked?

Curtis Goodwin.
   58. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: March 05, 2007 at 04:44 PM (#2307001)
What about fast guys who otherwise sucked?


Maurice Archdeacon

I'm not sure if he sucked. His stats look middling, but he wasn't given much of a chance in the bigs.
   59. Suff Posted: March 05, 2007 at 04:55 PM (#2307008)
Willy Taveras is really, really fast, but his "baseball speed" is lacking, because he isn't a very good basestealer and he gets poor jumps on fly balls a lot. But his batting average is stilted up by infield hits more than anyone I've ever seen. A four-hopper to the SS's right is a hit a lot of the time for Willy.

It's weird that he isn't a good basestealer, because he seemed to be really good early in his rookie year. I remember more than once him stealing when the team pitched out. But then he started getting picked off a lot, and I think he had a groin injury that slowed him down. Last year, it seemed like he couldn't steal except for off of catchers who couldn't throw and/or pitchers who couldn't were really slow to the plate. He seems afraid to get a decent lead.
   60. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: March 05, 2007 at 05:01 PM (#2307011)
I thought it was quite the opposite. I thought Willie had a grudge against Bo for not dedicating himself to baseball and the Royals. Or maybe that was what you were getting at.

Partly - I thought he was upset with both (but more with Bo). I'll defer to others on this point...
   61. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 05, 2007 at 05:15 PM (#2307020)
Geez guys, there are lots of fast players who suck. It seems like when an exceptionally fast prospect actually turns out to be good it's more the exception than the rule (the rule containing such luminaries as Jason Tyner, Esix Snead, and even some non-Mets). The fastest player who sucked that I've ever seen play was probably Nyjer Morgan.

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