What is your “fast average” ?
If a batter with no speed bats .300 and a batter who can fly hits the same .300, who is the better hitter? My answer would be the batter with no speed. That’s because virtually none of his hits are going to be a result of running speed. He must hit his way on base. A fast runner will turn swinging bunts and weak grounders into base hits so a number of his hits are due to his feet and not his hitting ability.
I think there should be a stat called “fast average.” Basically, how many hits can you attribute to running speed? If a batter gets 10 hits over 100 at-bats that are earned through running speed alone then their “fast average” would be .100.
Like all stats, numbers like this can have multiple interpretations.
Interpretation #1: A scout or college coach may look at that number and think, “Wow, this kid can fly. If he learns to hit, he’ll be even better! I want him!” Personally, I think this is how too many coaches and scouts think. They go on the belief that running fast is not something you can teach so draft/scout for that.
Interpretation #2: If 100 points are a result of running speed then the .300 average really shows a .200 hitter. When that kid gets to the next level (whatever that level is) defenses will improve and less of those “running hits” will be hits.
This is why what Miguel Cabrera has been able to accomplish is just incredible. Virtually none of his hits are a result of foot speed. His career .321 batting average is just about all bat.
You can’t teach speed but sometimes I think we place too much of an importance on it.
Tomorrow’s post: The 20 yard dash