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Fastest runners for the Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves' Dansby Swanson, left, congratulates Matt Olson who crosses home plate after...
Atlanta Braves' Dansby Swanson, left, congratulates Matt Olson who crosses home plate after hitting a three-run home run off Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Ryan Feltner in the second inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 5, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)(David Zalubowski | AP)
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 1:09 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (STACKER) - Imagine being a catcher watching as Ty Cobb came running toward home plate at full speed, fearless of barrelling into you in order to score a run. Or being a pitcher eyeing Ricky Henderson on first, anxious not to give him his 1,400th stolen base. These guys were fast—no doubt about it—but just how fast they were, we can’t really say.

Technology has come a long way since those players’ time on the field. During the 2017 season, Major League Baseball introduced Sprint Speed, which “is a Statcast metric that aims to more precisely quantify speed by measuring how many feet per second a player runs in his fastest one-second window.” The metric currently includes “qualified runs” from two different categories: runs of two bases or more on hits that aren’t home runs, and home-to-first runs on “topped” or “weakly hit” balls. The best of these runs are averaged, and any run of at least 30 ft/sec is known as a Bolt.

Why is this metric useful? According to MLB, “approximately seven full-effort strides can be captured over the course of a one-second window, so Sprint Speed rewards those who can sustain their speed over a longer period of time.” On a more strategic level, teams can now examine those stats to determine how to best defend against a hitter or base runner who has a tendency to bolt. (Or on the flipside, how to play against a slow runner.)

The stat has proven to be a useful one, as the total number of stolen bases has been on the decline since Sprint Speed was introduced. In 2012, 3,230 bases were stolen between the American and National Leagues, and that was the last time the number broke 3,000. In 2021, that number decreased to 2,209.

Stacker compiled a list of the runners for the Atlanta Braves whose measured sprint speeds were the highest, using data from MLB’s Statcast tracking system. Players are ranked by the highest average sprint speed through the end of May 2022 with ties broken using the average time from home to first.

#10. C William Contreras - 26.6 feet/second

- #262 in average sprint speed among MLB baserunners this year

- Competitive runs recorded: 23

- Average time from home to first (in seconds): 4.65

#9. LF Marcell Ozuna - 26.8 feet/second

- #244 in average sprint speed among MLB baserunners this year

- Competitive runs recorded: 51

- Average time from home to first (in seconds): 4.6

#8. 2B Ozzie Albies - 27.6 feet/second

- #158 in average sprint speed among MLB baserunners this year

- Competitive runs recorded: 68

- Average time from home to first (in seconds): 4.2

#7. 3B Austin Riley - 27.7 feet/second

- #154 in average sprint speed among MLB baserunners this year

- Competitive runs recorded: 63

- Average time from home to first (in seconds): 4.48

#6. CF Adam Duvall - 27.7 feet/second

- #152 in average sprint speed among MLB baserunners this year

- Competitive runs recorded: 38

- Average time from home to first (in seconds): 4.45

#5. RF Eddie Rosario - 27.8 feet/second

- #140 in average sprint speed among MLB baserunners this year

- Competitive runs recorded: 21

- Average time from home to first (in seconds): 4.29

#4. RF Guillermo Heredia - 27.9 feet/second

- #136 in average sprint speed among MLB baserunners this year

- Competitive runs recorded: 15

- Average time from home to first (in seconds): not available

#3. DH Ronald Acuña Jr. - 28.2 feet/second

- #91 in average sprint speed among MLB baserunners this year

- Competitive runs recorded: 27

- Average time from home to first (in seconds): 4.37

#2. RF Travis Demeritte - 28.3 feet/second

- #86 in average sprint speed among MLB baserunners this year

- Competitive runs recorded: 31

- Average time from home to first (in seconds): 4.46

#1. SS Dansby Swanson - 28.3 feet/second

- #82 in average sprint speed among MLB baserunners this year

- Competitive runs recorded: 54

- Average time from home to first (in seconds): 4.38