Speed kills. It’s a phrase we’ve all heard before, though not something that has been necessarily embraced by the New York Yankees in recent years. But the 29-year-old Tim Locastro has brought the speed of light to this roster. When he’s on base, pitchers better keep an eye on him. If they don’t, it’s probably too late.
In just nine games, Timmy Lo has stolen three bases, which is tied for the fifth-most in Major League Baseball thus far. He’s also in the 98th percentile in sprint speed in 2022, and has been in the top 1% in the category since 2019. He has swiped 34 bases in his career and has only been caught four (!) times. Three years ago, he became the first player in MLB history with at least 20 career attempts without being caught.
A consistent major threat on the base paths is something that the Yankees haven’t had since...prime Brett Gardner? As written by my colleague, John Griffin, it seems as if Locastro is the team’s “new Gardner.”
Tim Locastro might be the fastest person on planet earth pic.twitter.com/K0x7xMYNcy— Gabe (@PlayoffTanaka_) April 28, 2022
We love to celebrate the uniqueness of players throughout the league. From Aaron Judge to José Altuve, we know baseball players come in all shapes and sizes. But the fastest individuals in the league aren’t quite as celebrated in today’s game. Many don’t pay attention to the speedsters, as they often don’t hit for high average, and as they say, you can’t steal first base. The thing is, however, Locastro can steal first base.
For most players, hitting a groundball to an infielder means an out. But not for Locastro. From 2019-2021, it took him an average of 4.05 seconds to get from home plate to first base. Looking at those seasons individually, he was the best in the league in that category over the last three years. He’s not going to be a .300 hitter in the bigs, but he can (and has) stolen hits that are usually sure outs.
The other factor that plays into his speed is that infielders know they have to hurry when the ball is hit to them. Simple groundballs back to the mound have resulted in errors, helping Locastro to reach base safely. It doesn’t always have to be a clean play for him to get on.
The Yankees’ lineup is stacked, especially in the outfield where Locastro plays. Judge, Stanton, Gallo, Hicks, etc. are all ahead of him on the depth chart, which means he won’t steal 50+ bags a year. But to be fair, no one does that anymore. If he were an everyday player, though, it would certainly be a possibility for him.
I’m not saying he’s an All-Star hitter—because he’s not. But he brings a speed element to the team that *literally* no other player in the league can. He causes havoc when he reaches base and is a weapon at New York’s dispense. He most likely won’t win a game for you with his power, but he very well could with his legs.