As far as I know, Bill James is the first mainstream writer to really take on base running stats — in his Handbook every year, he breaks down base runners into a plus/minus system that is really a lot of fun. But what I want to talk about briefly here is how the numbers can give us a pretty good sense of how much speed means in baseball.
Let’s take perhaps the fastest runner in the American League — I’m saying Carl Crawford, though I see that Carlos Gomez is now telling everyone that HE’S the fastest (Advice: Score a few runs, kid, before yapping). And let’s take perhaps the slowest runner in the American League … Big Papi.*
*I realize that, technically, no player is slower than Bengie Molina — no LAND MASS is slower than Bengie Molina — but he was in the NL in 2007.
Joe Posnanski | FULL READ