14.9 miles per hour
Ever wonder how fast a catcher can run? Last night, Geovany Soto answered that question, circling the bases in just 16.5 seconds on an inside-the-park home run:
Doesn’t 14.9 mph sound pretty fast for a guy who has been crouching behind the plate for 41 of the team’s 45 games? That’s probably a conservative estimate, too, as I didn’t have a way to add distance for taking wide turns around the bases.
It’s a pretty impressive speed even compared to world-class paces in the 100-meter dash: American sprinter Maurice Green averaged 22.8 mph on June 16, 1999, with his then-record time of 9.79 seconds. Consider that Green got to start off racing blocks, run straight ahead and sprint at least 10 meters less than Geovany did.
Of course, Ryan Dempster was there to congratulate Geovany in the dugout by asking, “Do you need oxygen?”
Though skeptics doubt the range Jim Edmonds has left in centerfield, he apparently still does have an incredible ability to track a ball, particularly over the last half-second of its flight.
Last night, he broke straight back for a ball hit deep over his head, then readjusted at the last second to turn and catch the flyball on his glove side. Check out the video if you missed it:
That makes a trifecta for phenomenal plays by Cubs’ centerfielders this season: Reed Johnson made the full-extension, diving catch into the left-center wall, and Felix Pie perfectly timed a leaping catch to rob Ken Griffey Jr. of his 598th home run. You can find videos of both of those catches by searching “Reed Johnson” and “Felix Pie” on MLB Video through the links above.
— Sean Ahmed