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BASEBALL

Three-peat: Auburn's Tim Locastro ties for fastest MLB player crown

Yankees Astros Baseball

New York Yankees' Tim Locastro, right, shakes hands with third base coach Phil Nevin after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Sunday, July 11, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

For the third year in a row, Auburn native Tim Locastro is the fastest player in Major League Baseball. 

This time, though, he is sharing the crown. 

After finishing with the top sprint speed in the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Locastro tied with Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Trea Turner for the fastest player honors. Locastro and Turner each recorded average sprint speeds of 30.7 feet per second, according to MLB's Statcast. 

Statcast defines sprint speed as "feet per second in a player's fastest one-second window." To make the calculation, two types of plays are used: Runs of two bases or more on non-home runs or running from home to first on "topped" or "weakly hit" balls." 

The average sprint speed is 27 feet per second. Sprint speed of 30 feet per second is considered elite. 

Turner had more "competitive runs" than Locastro (240 to 44), meaning he had more plays that fit Statcast's criteria for calculating sprint speed. Turner was the starting shortstop with the Washington Nationals before being traded to the Dodgers. He had more opportunities than Locastro, who played for the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees primarily in a reserve outfielder role. 

Turner also topped Locastro in "bolts," or runs above 30 feet per second (136 to 36). But Locastro had the edge in time from home to first. He covered 90 feet in 4.07 seconds — the third-best time in the majors. Minnesota Twins outfielder Byron Buxton led the league in that category. He ran from home to first in four seconds. 

Locastro claimed at least a share of a third consecutive sprint speed title despite missing the final two-and-a-half months of the season after tearing a knee ligament in July. He had surgery to repair the damaged anterior cruciate ligament and is planning to be ready for spring training

In 64 games, Locastro batted .180 with two home runs, seven runs batted in, five stolen bases and 15 runs. One highlight was setting a major league record for most consecutive stolen bases without being caught to start a career. The spikes he wore to achieve the feat are now on display at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown. 

Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.

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