Honorable Mention: KC Royals who weren’t quite fast enough for the Top 5.
Lorenzo Cain (2011-2017)
A key member of the KC Royals’ 2014-2015 World Series teams, Lorenzo Cain was the American League Championship Series MVP in 2014, and especially shined in 2015, making the All-Star Game in Cincinnati, finishing third in MVP voting to Josh Donaldson and Mike Trout, and helping the Royals end their 30-year World Series drought.
Cain was a beast on the base paths. His Royal top base stealing performances peaked with 28 bags in both 2014 and 2015, and he nabbed 120 total stolen bases during his KC tenure. Although Cain didn’t quite crack our Top 5 list, he still walks with an unrivaled swagger.
Bo Jackson (1986-1990)
This two-sport player was the ultimate athlete of his time, playing in both the majors and NFL. He terrorized the Royals’ stadium complex neighbor Kansas City Chiefs as a member of the Los Angeles Raiders from 1987-1990, but his first love seemed to be baseball when he signed with the Royals in 1986.
So, it’s no surprise Jackson’s running back speed may have paid off on the base paths—he stole 81 bags while being caught 29 times. His peak base stealing performance was 28 in 1988, not to mention that he recorded a 4.13 in the 40-yard dash during a pro day at the University of Auburn in 1986.
With only four years of major league playing time under his belt, fans can only wonder what further damage Jackson could have inflicted on the opposition if his career hadn’t been cut short by a hip injury.
Carlos Beltran (1998-2004)
Though he was known more for his power later in his career, Beltran started out as a speedster in the five and a half years he spent in KC.
Beltran nabbed more than half (164) of his 312 career steals with the Royals. Being caught only 23 times during that span gave Beltran an 85% stolen base success rate.
While he didn’t make our Top 5, it should be known that Beltran had serious legs early in his career.
Alcides Escobar (2011-2018)
Escobar’s 160 stolen bases with KC was impressive, especially because he was only caught 38 times—a success rate of 76%. But as quick as he was, there were simply other players in club history who made more of an impact when running.
But we’ll always remember his 2015 inside the park home run to open the Royals’ half of the first inning of World Series Game One against the Mets, a play truly evident of the havoc he wreaked on the base paths.
Whit Merrifield (2016-Present)
Merrifield’s not making our Top 5 has nothing to do with the fact he’s on the current roster. In fact, he leads the majors with 17 stolen bases (and led with 45 in 2018).
Though his 136 total stolen bases are quite impressive, he barely missed the cut and was hard to rank above other notable KC Royals speedsters. Even his sprint speed barely misses Mr. Zoombiya, clocking in at 28.8 feet per second when compared to Dyson’s 28.9.
With plenty more games ahead in Merrifield’s Kansas City future, it seems like this is only the beginning of what he has to offer as a speedster.
Adalberto Mondesi (2015-Present)
The same explanation doesn’t need to be given for Mondesi. He’s definitely a speedster, but injuries have bogged him down. His 113 career steals, including a major league-leading 24 in 2020, is something that could foretell future success if he can stay healthy once he returns to the lineup from his current hamstring injury.
That’s it for our Honorable Mentions. On to our Top 5.