How Fast Is Manuel Margot?

Faster than a roadrunner? (yes)

Faster than a coyote? (no)

Faster than a Billy Hamilton? (not yet)


Manuel Margot hit a triple in a spring training game last week, an event that was digitally recorded, uploaded onto the internet, and then embedded here:

The triple was encouraging because it came off big-league pitcher Tyler Chatwood, and also because it showed off some of Margot’s occasionally absent power. It also displayed his speed. By my hand-timed estimate*, Margot got from home to third in about 10.90 seconds, which is . . . fast. How fast, though?

For some context, let’s check out some home-to-third times from a group of noted speedsters, to see where Margot stands. I’ve included a tenth of a second penalty to left-handed hitters for their proximity to first base and added in top speed in parenthesis where available (via Statcast).

Billy Hamilton: 10.55, 10.40
Byron Buxton: 10.71 (21.4), 10.83 (21.2)
Mike Trout11.01 (21.3), 10.75
Trea Turner: 11.15 (22.7), 11.00 (22.4)
Delino DeShields: 10.94, 10.93
Travis Jankowski**: 11.17, 10.60

Okay, so Margot fits squarely into this group; a touch slower than Hamilton but comparable to everyone else.

We also have this video of Margot, from last year, with a Statcast-timed 10.85 seconds and, more intriguingly, a 23.7 mph top speed. That’s one mph faster than any of the times tracked above, and faster than any I’ve seen. Since Statcast data isn’t available in bulk (*grrrr*), there’s a certain amount of guesswork here.

Either way, in the big picture, one thing is obvious: So long as the recent knee injury isn’t serious, there’s a good chance Margot will soon be discussed as one of the game’s fastest players.


*Strangely, the hand-times estimated are almost always around 0.2 seconds faster than the Statcast-timed ones. I have some theories, but I’m not sure—and we’ll avoid getting into the weeds here. It messes with some of the above numbers, but only slightly.

**Oh yeah, Jankowski is fast too. Really fast; like common octopus-fast. For all of their potential faults, at some point in 2017, the Padres should have one of the league’s best defensive outfields.

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