The MLB has taken notice that the White Sox are speedy. In fact, the Sox are one of the speediest teams entering the 2018 season.
The White Sox may not be on the radar in the AL East or in the MLB as a team that could contend for the playoffs, but the team’s speed is certainly worth noticing.
Interestingly, most of the top speedsters in the MLB are not on the teams that went deep into the postseason in 2017. Many of the speediest baseball players are actually on teams loaded with youth, like the 2018 White Sox.
The speedy leaders
According to Baseball Savant’s Sprint Speed Leaderboard, the fastest player in the MLB should come as no surprise. This metric measures the feet per second that baseball players travel and Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins is at the top of the list. But, not too far down in the number 12 spot is Yoan Moncada. And, in the 14th spot is Adam Engel.
Considering there are 750 baseball players on the 25-man rosters of the 30 teams in the MLB, having two players in the top 15 isn’t too shabby.
Teams at the top
And, when a third player is thrown into the mix, the Sox rank nearly at the top when it comes to overall team speed. According to an article by David Adler with MLB.com, the Sox are tied with three other teams as the second speediest team. Adler used a point system and the Sprint Speed metric to determine the fastest teams. At the top was the Minnesota Twins thanks to Buxton and two of his teammates: Jorge Polanco and Brian Dozier. With Adler’s point system, the Twins earned 11 based on the feet-per-second speeds of these three players as well as the rest of the starting lineup.
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Three teams tied for second with 10 points. The White Sox, New York Yankees, and Washington Nationals all had the same score. Along with Moncada and Engel, Tim Anderson helped take the team to the top. The Yankees didn’t have any players with speeds as fast as Moncada and Engel, but they also didn’t have anyone as slow as Welington Castillo. The Nats also had moderately quick speeds overall with Trea Turner and former Sox Adam Eaton leading their squad.
Use the speed now
Interestingly, this piece from Adler came out shortly after I wrote about how the White Sox should use their speed to steal more bases. According to Adler and the Sprint Speed metric, the fastest ball players run faster than 30 feet-per-second. Moncada and Engel are close at 29.3 feet-per-second. As the White Sox continue to add young, athletic players, the fans certainly benefit from being able to watch the speed and agility on the bases.
Speed can help win games. It gets men on base. It moves them around the bases. But, most importantly, speed can discombobulate even the strongest of defenses. Speed gives a serious advantage to teams that have it.
Hopefully, the front office and coaches will take full advantage of these speedy young players. By doing so, this young team could quickly move into the conversation for playoff contention in 2018. In the words of Jarrod Dyson of the Seattle Mariners, “That’s what speed do.” Let’s hope the Sox don’t waste it while they’ve got it.