Who is the fastest player in the mlb? Who is the fastest MLB player right now? As Major League Baseball introduces new rules to increase the number of runs scored and stolen bases, the fastest players in MLB have an opportunity to shine in 2023.
By expanding the bases and reducing the number of pickoff attempts, we should see a dramatic increase in stolen bases this season. While there was an average of 0.51 steals per game last season, that average hasn’t eclipsed 0.6 since 2012. Furthermore, the last 50-steal season happened in 2017.
That figures to change this season. Larger bases and more opportunities to steal will unleash the fastest players in baseball. For the likes of Trea Turner, Bobby Witt Jr. and so many others, this season will be their time to shine in what could become the start of a new era for baseball.
Below, we’ll look at the current data from Baseball Savant’s Sprint Speed for the fastest MLB players in 2023, with a more in-depth look at the fastest players in baseball.
Who is the fastest MLB player right now?
Cincinnati Reds infielder Elly De La Cruz is the fastest MLB player right now. In his rookie season, Cruz leads MLB in Sprint Speed (30.5 ft/sec) and has the fastest home-to-third time in MLB. As a result, Elly De La Cruz is the fastest player in baseball in 2023.
Corbin Carroll, outfielder, Arizona Diamondbacks
Corbin Carroll might be the fastest baseball player in 2023. He didn’t qualify for the title last season because he only played in 32 games. However, his limited time in the majors still delivered numbers that put him in the conversation for the fastest player in baseball right now.
Carroll, who earned 80-grades for his speed, posted the second fastest home-to-first time (4.05) seconds among all MLB players in 2022. In addition, the 22-year-old outfielder recorded the highest Sprint Speed (30.7 mph) in the majors. Paired with his 6.33 60-yard dash and 1.49 10-yard split times, it’s easy to see why he is one of the fastest players in MLB.
Fastest players in MLB 2022 (StatCast)
Baseball Savant’s StatCast uses Sprint Speed as its measure for foot speed, defining it as the “feet per second in a player’s fastest one-second window” on a single play. It also uses a stat called ‘Bolt’, which measures any run above 30 ft. per second. Here’s a breakdown of the fastest players in MLB last season by Sprint Speed.
Where Elly De La Cruz’s speed ranks in baseball
Elly De La Cruz appears to be on a fast track to becoming one of the faces of baseball. The prized Reds rookie was sensational in his first week in Cincinnati, flashing all five tools that made his call-up one of the most anticipated events of the season to this point. One of those tools is impossible to ignore: speed.
De La Cruz isn’t just fast; he’s blazing, and he knows it. De La Cruz labeled himself “the fastest man in the world” after Saturday’s game, a claim that generated national attention.
It’s not uncommon for athletes to boast about their speed, but it’s remarkable for a player who stands 6-foot-5 to even be in the conversation for fastest player in baseball.
It’s already clear De La Cruz can run with the best in the league, but where does he actually stand among all players so far?
Fastest MLB players in 2023
Only seven players are averaging a sprint speed of more than 30 feet per second this season, and De La Cruz is one of them. In fact, he currently sits atop the leaderboard.
De La Cruz jumped ahead of four players on Monday, according to Baseball Savant, and now averages an MLB-best sprint speed of 30.5 feet per second.
De La Cruz has made an instant case to be the fastest player in baseball. He earned an infield single by averaging 31.2 feet per second on his way to first base during Sunday’s win over the Cardinals.
If De La Cruz can get his average somewhere into that range, he would easily clear the rest of the list despite being so tall (Witt, for comparison, is listed at 6-1).
The same player who might prevent De La Cruz from winning the NL Rookie of the Year award might also prevent him from being the fastest player in baseball. Diamondbacks star Corbin Carroll flashed ridiculous speed on his way to what seemed like an unlikely triple on Sunday. Carroll led the league in sprint speed last season after playing only one month.
Elly De La Cruz 60-yard dash time
Scouts tend to emphasize players’ 60-yard dash times rather than the 40-yard dash because baseball requires players to run longer distances. Outfielders often need to run extended distances to catch fly balls in the outfield, while a double is exactly 60 yards — or 180 feet.
Unfortunately, there is no verified data for how fast De La Cruz runs the 60-yard dash. If he sustained his sprint speed for a full 60 yards, however, he would run it in 5.98 seconds.
It’s virtually impossible to sustain that exact speed for a full 60 yards, but anything between 6 and 6.5 seconds is truly excellent. Former Reds speedster Billy Hamilton came in at 6.2 seconds before he was drafted, and De La Cruz’s speed compares to Hamilton’s so far.
Is Elly De La Cruz faster than Billy Hamilton?
De La Cruz has a case to say he’s faster than Hamilton, who once stole 155 bases in a minor-league season.
Baseball Savant’s sprint speed data only goes back to 2015, Hamilton’s second full season in the majors. Hamilton averaged 29.8 feet per second in 2015, 30.2 in 2016, and 30.2 in 2017. De La Cruz is averaging 30.5 feet per second after his first week with the Reds, so he’s right there with Hamilton’s best seasons despite his size. (Hamilton is 6-foot, 160 pounds — 40 pounds lighter than De La Cruz.)
Today, De La Cruz is decisively faster than Hamilton, who averaged 29.0 feet per second in limited time last season. Hamilton became a sensation because of his outstanding speed, but what makes De La Cruz so intriguing is the fact he pairs his speed with an extremely powerful bat.
Speed is making a comeback as stolen base rates increase around the league, and players such as De La Cruz and Carroll seem like they will be among the fastest players in baseball for years to come.
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