When we think of power hitters, players like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are the first ones who come to mind. When we think of speedsters, it's players like Billy Hamilton or Byron Buxton. But what about the players who can do both?
With a new season about to begin, Statcast™ can help identify the most dangerous power-speed combinations in the Major Leagues, using two categories specifically: Barrels and Sprint Speed. Barrels are the most dangerous type of contact, batted balls with optimal combinations of exit velocity and launch angle. Sprint Speed measures a player's speed in feet per second during his fastest one-second window on the basepaths. MLB average sprint speed is 27 ft/sec; 30 ft/sec or higher is elite.
Judge and Stanton led the Majors in barrels in 2017, with Judge crushing 86 and Stanton 76. Buxton and Hamilton led in average maximum-effort sprint speed, at 30.2 ft/sec and 30.1 ft/sec, respectively. But we want players who ranked highly in both categories, not just one.
For sprint speed, 28 ft/sec is a good threshold -- it's a full foot-per-second faster than the Major League average. With barrels, we can look at hitters both by total and rate (i.e. what percent of a player's batted balls are barrels?). As a total, 40 barrels is a good baseline -- only 38 hitters reached that mark in 2017. On a rate basis, a barrel-per-batted ball rate of 10 percent or higher is strong -- only 62 of the 383 hitters with at least 100 batted balls in 2017 are in that group.
Very few players hit the benchmarks in both categories. Only 11 Major Leaguers enter 2018 coming off a season with a barrel rate of at least 10 percent and an average sprint speed of at least 28 ft/sec. Only eight had at least 40 total barrels and a sprint speed of 28-plus ft/sec. Here they are.
Players with 10%+ barrel/batted ball rate and 28+ ft/sec sprint speed, 2017
Min. 100 batted balls and 10 max-effort runs
Michael Trout: 13.3% barrel rate, 28.5 ft/sec sprint speed
Trout is of course widely considered baseball's best player, so it's no surprise that he's on this list. He's averaged 33 home runs and 27 stolen bases over his six full seasons in the Majors; he had 33 homers and 22 steals in 2017. The Statcast™ data is right in line with his counting stats.
Ian Happ: 13.3% barrel rate, 28.5 ft/sec sprint speed
Happ was a highly touted prospect for the Cubs, and he flashed his talent in his debut season. The 23-year-old hit 24 homers, and his speed helped give him the defensive flexibility to handle all three outfield positions as well as second and third base.
Cody Bellinger: 12.2% barrel rate, 28.4 ft/sec sprint speed
Bellinger burst onto the scene with a National League rookie record 39 home runs, but he was more than just a power-hitting first baseman for the pennant-winning Dodgers. The 22-year-old has the speed to play an impressive defensive outfield -- he was worth three Outs Above Average, per Statcast™ -- and he chipped in 10 stolen bases, too.
Jake Marisnick: 11.9% barrel rate, 28.4 ft/sec sprint speed
Marisnick had a breakout year as a key reserve for the Astros in 2017, and Statcast™ suggests it was no fluke. The center fielder retooled his swing to drive the ball in the air more, he hit a career-high 16 homers and he was worth five Outs Above Average defensively.
Steven Souza Jr.: 11.8% barrel rate, 28.3 ft/sec sprint speed
Souza had a career year in 2017, mashing a career-high 30 homers, stealing a career-high 16 bases and playing an excellent right field. Souza's nine Outs Above Average tied him for 11th-best among all Major League outfielders. He could be a key contributor for a D-backs team seeking back-to-back playoff appearances.
Bryce Harper: 11.7% barrel rate, 28.0 ft/sec sprint speed
One of the faces of baseball and one of the game's generational talents of course belongs on this list. Before a knee injury knocked him out for most of the stretch run, he had returned to MVP-level form. Harper can do it all on the field.
Keon Broxton: 11.6% barrel rate, 29.5 ft/sec sprint speed
Broxton has his flaws as a hitter -- he struck out 175 times in 463 plate appearances in 2017 -- but the tools are undeniably there. He joined the 20-20 club with 20 home runs and 21 stolen bases and had superb range in center field, with his nine OAA tying him with Souza.
Matt Chapman: 11.5% barrel rate, 28.4 ft/sec sprint speed
The A's have an exciting young team loaded with talent, and they could have their third baseman of the future in Chapman. The 24-year-old has some work to do, but he hit 14 homers as a rookie, and even though his speed didn't always show up in the box score (zero steals), Statcast™ shows it was there.
Trevor Story: 10.5% barrel rate, 28.4 ft/sec sprint speed
Story had some growing pains in his sophomore season in 2017, leading the NL with 191 strikeouts, but he still hit 24 home runs for the Rockies, and he plays a fine shortstop. He had 11 Defensive Runs Saved last year, fourth-best at his position, which is a premium one.
Aaron Altherr: 10.4% barrel rate, 28.4 ft/sec sprint speed
You might have overlooked Altherr's 2017, but he had a breakout season at the plate, which included 19 homers. If Altherr could harness the speed Statcast™ shows he has -- he wasn't great running the bases or in the outfield defensively -- the 27-year-old might be able to get even better in 2018.
Scott Schebler: 10.2% barrel rate, 28.4 ft/sec sprint speed
Schebler had a breakout of his own last season, his first as a big league regular. He mashed 30 homers, and even though he didn't really steal bases, advanced metrics graded him positively as a baserunner. He was also worth two Outs Above Average as a right fielder in what was a surprisingly strong Reds outfield all around, even on top of Billy Hamilton.
That brings us to volume: Players who were among MLB's total barrel leaders as well as ranking highly in sprint speed. A few of these eight names are repeats from the first list, but there are also some new ones -- and they're some of the biggest names in baseball.
Players with 40+ total barrels and 28+ ft/sec sprint speed, 2017
Min. 100 batted balls and 10 max-effort runs
Trout: 42 barrels, 28.5 ft/sec sprint speed
Bellinger: 41 barrels, 28.4 ft/sec sprint speed
Souza: 41 barrels, 28.3 ft/sec sprint speed
Charlie Blackmon: 45 barrels, 28.1 ft/sec sprint speed
Blackmon just had maybe one of the best seasons ever for a leadoff hitter, and it was his power-speed combo that made him a perfect catalyst for the Rockies' lineup. He hit 37 homers and 14 triples, stole 14 bases, drove in 104 runs and scored 137 himself.
Marcell Ozuna: 44 barrels, 28.2 ft/sec sprint speed
Ozuna finally put it all together for an entire season. The talented 27-year-old crushed 37 homers with 124 RBIs, and he was solid in the outfield. He's not a basestealer, but he has the power and speed to be an impact player all around in St. Louis.
Francisco Lindor: 41 barrels, 28.2 ft/sec sprint speed
The Indians' smiling shortstop is one of the game's ascending young superstars. The 24-year-old hit 33 home runs (more than doubling his career high) and stole 15 bases in 2017, and he's extremely valuable as one of the game's best defenders at shortstop.
Kristopher Bryant: 40 barrels, 28.2 ft/sec sprint speed
The 2016 NL MVP put up awfully similar numbers in 2017. Bryant is exceptionally talented and exceptionally versatile. He helps anchor one of the best lineups in baseball and has the defensive range to play both an above-average third base and outfield.
James Dozier: 40 barrels, 28.1 ft/sec sprint speed
Dozier provides rare power for a second baseman -- he hit 34 homers in 2017, a year after hitting 42 -- and he has plenty of speed to go with it. In fact, Dozier has averaged 29 homers and 16 steals over his five full Major League seasons, reaching double digits in both categories every year. He also played Gold Glove defense at second in 2017.