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Just how fast is Billy Hamilton?

Is he faster than a boat? Is he faster than a goat? Does he like green eggs and ham?

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, the Royals signed outfielder Billy Hamilton to a one-year deal. It’s a low-risk signing for a rebuilding team, and Hamilton should lock down center field at Kauffman for 2019. But he’s blocking some younger guys who the Royals might be better off developing at the position instead. Like Matt LaMar pointed out, he doesn’t really fit with—

Excuse me, sorry to bother you, but I’ve heard Billy Hamilton is really fast. How fast is he?

Yep, according to Statcast, his sprint speed is 30.1 feet per second.

Is that fast?

That’s pretty fast! Statcast only recorded three players with higher sprint speeds — Byron Buxton, Roman Quinn, Magneuris Sierra — and we’re only talking about a few inches’ difference per second.

30.1 ft/s is about 20.5 miles per hour. Billy Hamilton cannot legally run in some school zones.

So will he be the fastest player on the Royals?

Yep, probably. Adalberto Mondesi is also very fast — Statcast clocked him at 20.4 miles per hour, and he’s just getting into his prime, so it’s not out of the question that Mondesi could leapfrog Hamilton soon. But based on the current data, Hamilton is the fastest Royal.

Whit Merrifield and Brett Phillips are both in the top 50 fastest MLB players, too. They each hover just below 20 mph.

Would he be the fastest royal?

Like, actual monarch royals? Statcast doesn’t track that. But we can make some guesses. Let’s start with Queen Elizabeth herself. In 2016, a 100-year-old woman ran the 100m at the Penn Relays at a speed of about 3.3 mph. Her Majesty is only 92, but probably doesn’t train for running like the centenarian did, so a top speed of around 3 mph sounds about right.

Billy Hamilton is faster than that. But, I’m sure, so are a lot of other royals. Prince Harry is 34 and spent time in the military. He might top out around 15 mph. So I’d be comfortable saying Hamilton is faster than all the British royals. But there are a lot of royals around the world.

Is Billy Hamilton the fastest person in the world?

No. He — no, we already said he’s not even the fastest player in baseball. The fastest person in the world is probably still Usain Bolt, but I can’t say I’ve kept up on my track and field outside of the Olympics.

Back in 2009, Bolt set the current 100m world record, topping out around 28 mph. That’s much faster than Hamilton.

But you could make the argument that Hamilton might be able to outrun Bolt from home to first. Bolt reaches his top speed in 100m races later, within the final 30 meters. In the first 30 meters of his world record run, Bolt averaged 18.5 mph. He’d get from home to first 3.46 seconds at that speed.

Back in 2016, Hamilton got from home to first in 3.61 seconds. That’s the fastest I can find for him. So Bolt would probably still have the edge, but it’s closer than you might think.

Is Billy Hamilton the fastest person in Kansas City?

We both know this question is really about Chiefs speedster Tyreek Hill, and it looks like Hill would outrun Hamilton pretty easily. Back in 2016, Next Gen Stats (or “NFL Statcast”) clocked Hill at 23.2 mph on a kick return. That’s a full Queen Elizabeth faster than Hamilton with pads on.

This seems pretty open-and-shut, but if there is any good in this world, there will be a race arranged between the two at some point next year. Probably in the doldrums of August, when the Royals are out of it and the Chiefs are hitting training camp.

Hill’s Twitter handle is @cheetah. Is Billy Hamilton faster than an actual cheetah?

I – what? No. Cheetahs sprint up to 75 miles per hour. Billy Hamilton is not faster than a cheetah.

What about my cat? Is Billy Hamilton faster than my average house cat?

Depends on what you feed it. The average house cat can still sprint at speeds close to 30 mph, so Hamilton would only be able to keep it close if you’re loading down your cat with unhealthy meals.

Is Billy Hamilton faster than the bulls in Pamplona?

Yes! Those bulls run at about 15 miles per hour. The running of the bulls would be a relative walk in the park for Hamilton.

Is Billy Hamilton faster than the musical Hamilton?

Hamilton, in print, is about 288 pages long. If we print that out on 8.5”x11” paper and place it end to end, that only gets us about 88 feet. The runtime of Hamilton is 2 hours, 23 minutes. Therefore, the speed of Hamilton is about 0.02 mph.

Billy Hamilton is faster than Hamilton.

Is Billy Hamilton faster than a speeding bullet?

The fastest rifles can fire more than 4,000 feet per second. That’s about 2,700 miles per hour. Billy Hamilton is not faster than a speeding bullet.

Can Billy Hamilton leap over tall buildings?

There’s not a lot of Statcast data out there on this, but given the limits of human anatomy, it seems unlikely that Billy Hamilton can leap over tall buildings.


I see where this is going, and before you ask, no, Billy Hamilton is not Superman. Superman would have a career OPS+ much higher than 70.