All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Brett Gardner has been playing better lately, and he may have gotten an opportunity to win back the center field job last night, when Melky Cabrera ran into the wall and jammed his shoulder. Gardner took over center field, and went 3 for 5 with a run scored and three stolen bases.

While watching the speedy Gardner steal 3B, I started wondering how fast he was, compared to other players.

The speed number usually thrown out for baseball players is the number of seconds it takes them to get from the batter's box to first base, as measured from the time they make contact with the ball to the time they touch the base. Obviously, this is not a perfect measure. Left-handed batters have an advantage, since they bat from the side closer to 1B. Some players just don't get out of the box well, and might be faster in a straight race. The time is likely to be faster on a bunt than on a hit, since there's less follow-through after contact. And of course, everyone has their good and bad days: their fastest time is usually not the time they can put up regularly. So you may see a lot of different numbers for the same player, and right-handed batters are at a definite disadvantage.

So with those caveats in mind, a few numbers...

According to this article, Carlos Gomez is the fastest man in baseball. The record for running from home to 1B is 3.3 seconds - by a lefty batter. Gomez was clocked at 3.4 seconds, from the right-handed batter's box. That is serious speed (though it was on a bunt).

This article says the average major leaguer's speed is 4.3 seconds.

So how does Brett Gardner measure up? He has been clocked at 3.5 seconds on a bunt, and makes it in 3.9 or 4.0 seconds on hits.

For comparison, Ichiro has been clocked as fast as 3.4, but "sits" at 3.7 seconds.

According to scouting reports, Bubba Crosby could regularly make it to first base in 4.0 seconds. Which is about the same as Gardner. However, it's possible that Bubba was not quite that fast by the time he made the big leagues. At least one scouting report thought that he'd lost a step, due to repeated hamstring injuries.

And Manny Ramirez got a lot of criticism for taking more than 5 seconds to get to first base. He obviously wasn't running very hard.

So is Gardner fast? Yup. Not quite Ichiro or Gomez fast, but fast.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:46 AM


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