Giancarlo Stanton is Slow

From ESPN Insider:


You'd think the lanky, 6-7 player wouldn't also be the fastest -- or even fast at all, for that matter -- because he'd take so long to get going to reach top speed. Long-limbed players are often goofy and only fast because of long strides, and baseball isn't really conducive to running in a straight line for very long.

Au contraire!

While his home-to-first speed actually times out as average-to-a-little-better, his top speed (30.1 feet per second) is fourth in baseball among those with 80-plus competitive runs.

Of those three players ahead of him, the biggest is Bobby Witt Jr. at 6-1, 200 pounds, which makes me think we need to at least try to find some players closer to Cruz's size. If we work our way down the list to just find some players who are over 230 pounds or are at least 6-3, we find Julio Rodriguez (7th, 29.7 feet/second), Mike Trout (12th, 29.4), Bryson Stott (30th, 29.0), Ohtani (65th, 28.3) and Cody Bellinger (89th, 28.1). For reference, Stanton is eighth-from-last at 24.2 feet/second, while Judge is around average at 27.3.

I've been saying most of the season that Stanton cannot play the outfield. By the numbers, his acceleration is shot, his instincts are about average, his arm is great, but he simply cannot run.

Given that Parmagiancarlo is getting older, and slower, and more injured, I often bring up the risk of playing outfield, to be shot down with "MoSt oF HiS iNjUrIeS hApPeN aT bAaAaAt!" I thought this would make some interesting reading.

LE injuries are the most common type of injury seen in sports as a whole, consistent across all levels of play. 6 The multiple phases of baseball, which include batting, base running, pitching/throwing, and fielding, each present with unique demands that individual athletes can rapidly cycle through, all with the potential to produce injury. Sliding, in which players make either an aggressive head-first or feet-first dive toward a plate, can result in LE injury, with ankle injuries accounting for 23.8% of feet-first slide injuries. 7 Hip dynamics are heavily involved in the throwing process, particularly among pitchers, while swift running in the outfield can contribute to a multitude of acute and chronic pathologies of the thigh and knee.4,8

The Posner study of Major League players from 2002-2008 found that 47.5% of fielder injuries were to the lower extremities. I'd note that this study covered the height of the steroid years, and steroids are linked with a weakening of connective tissue, leading to more hamstring and achilles injuries. Not saying Big G is a roid user, but noting that the sample studied in Posner surely had a good number of roid related injuries.

Another note, they found in their literature review, that 36.1% of lower leg injuries happen during baserunning and 23.5% happen while fielding. Further, outfielders saw the highest rate of ankle/calf injuries among position players at 15%.

At any rate, if you view Stanton as an essential piece, and you have to given the team's commitment to him in terms of dollars and years, you will want to limit his exposure to playing the outfield. It might be better for all parties if our Giant Glass Cannon could learn to play first base.

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