Watch the fastest baserunning of 2016 according to Statcast
Some of the most exciting plays in baseball are the results of a fast runner using his speed to apply pressure to the defense. In celebration of the joy that comes from watching speedsters race around the basepaths, let's take a look at a few of the fastest baserunning plays of 2016.
Using Statcast data, we isolated the fastest recorded times during the season for five different baserunning feats and compared the times to the league average marks. It likely won't come as a surprise that two names dominate the list below: the Reds' Billy Hamilton and the Twins' Byron Buxton.
Home to 1st (non-bunt) -- right-handed batter
2016 Record: Byron Buxton, 3.72 seconds against the Indians on July 15
2016 MLB average time: 4.62 seconds
The outcome of this particular play ensured that it was unlikely to be remembered, but with the season fully in the rearview mirror, it is absolutely worth looking looking at again. Leading off the third inning, Buxton rolled over a fastball to short and then busted it down the line with tremendous speed:
Unfortunately for Buxton, this event ended with an out in no small part because the shortstop fielding the ball was Cleveland's defensive wizard and Gold Glove Award winner Francisco Lindor.
Home to 1st (non-bunt) -- left-handed batter
2016 Record: Billy Hamilton, 3.61 seconds against the Cubs on June 27
2016 MLB average time: 4.58 seconds
The fastest sprint down the first-base line by a lefty ended with him reaching base … on what looked like a routine grounder to second. Elite speed can buy base hits, and Hamilton's speed is nothing if not elite. Just watch how he flew down the first-base line and beat the pitcher covering:
First to Third
2016 Record: Billy Hamilton, 5.24 seconds against the Brewers on May 7
2016 MLB average: 7.92 seconds
What can a tremendous jump get you? A first-to-third time that beats the MLB average by more than two and a half seconds!
In a game against the Brewers, the Reds' Joey Votto was at the plate with Hamilton on first base. Hamilton went on the pitch and was nearly to second base by the time the ball scooted through the infield. It was a single to left field, but with Hamilton's tremendous jump and speed, he was able to get all the way around the bases and score.
Scoring from first on a single to left field doesn't seem like it should be possible, but leave it to Hamilton to prove the impossible possible.
Home to Third
2016 Record: Billy Hamilton, 10.45 seconds against the Brewers on Aug. 13
2016 MLB Average: 12.01
A line drive hit to right field is a double for most hitters. If it gets to the wall, faster runners may be able to stretch it into a triple. Hamilton doesn't even need that.
Here he is taking a cleanly fielded line drive hit to right, turning on the jets and recording the fastest triple of the year:
2016 Record: Byron Buxton, 14.05 seconds against the White Sox on Oct. 2
2016 MLB average: 16.03
There were just nine inside-the-park homers in MLB this season, but surprisingly, only one of them happened to come off the bat of one of the two fastest men in baseball. Leading off the first inning in the last game of the Twins' season, Buxton took a pitch from the White Sox's Chris Sale to deep center field. One misstep by Leury Garcia was all it took to set the stage for Buxton to fly around the bases:
Before you know it, the watch will begin to see if Hamilton or Buxton (or someone else?!) can top these times in 2017.