After the first two months of the season, Statcast data told us that the Giants were, as a whole, basically an average team when it came to sprint speed. A quick reminder about Sprint Speed:
Sprint Speed is Statcast’s foot speed metric, defined as “feet per second in a player’s fastest one-second window” on individual plays. For a player’s seasonal average, the following two types of plays currently qualify for inclusion in Sprint Speed. The best of these runs, approximately two-thirds, are averaged for a player’s seasonal average.
* Runs of two bases or more on non-homers, excluding being a runner on second base when an extra base hit happens
* Home to first on “topped” or “weakly hit” balls.
The Major League average on a “competitive” play is 27 ft/sec, and the competitive range is roughly from 23 ft/sec (poor) to 30 ft/sec (elite). A player must have at least 10 competitive runs to qualify for this leaderboard.
And the Giants? Two months later, they’re doing even better with the addition of Steven Duggar:
11 of the 17 non-pitcher baserunners for the Giants this season have been above the major league average. When we last checked, Buster Posey’s 25.3 ft/sec was second slowest (Panik was #1 at 25.1) and we see how that hip injury really did wind up slowing him down over the past couple of months.
Here’s how it looked back at the end of May:
Basically, every hitter the Giants have added over the course of the season has been faster than league average. That speed doesn’t translate to more home runs or the best positioning, but it leads to better coverage on defense, more running out infield hits, and generally taking the extra base when possible.
That’s something that has not been possible the past two seasons, where the Giants were basically average — in both 16 & 17, half the team was above the 27 ft/sec average and half below it. In 2015, the first year Statcast data is available, 15 of the 22 baserunners for the Giants were above that league average. The bottom of that list was something else: Brandon Crawford (26.9), Nori Aoki (26.8), Brandon Belt (26.7), Joe Panik (26.7), Andrew Susac (25.5), Buster Posey (25.4), Hector Sanchez (23.2).
Just to put this year’s current standings in context, 10 of 18 Dodgers have above average foot speed and 9 of 16 Astros can say the same. The Giants can claim team speed as an asset.