The Braves received plenty of accolades at Saturday night's All MLB Show. In addition to Ronald Acuña Jr. taking home the National League Hank Aaron Award, the Braves had three players named to All MLB First Team and two players named to All MLB Second Team.
However, the most interesting part of the night might have come from the host of the show, comedian Roy Wood Jr., who spilled the beans on how the fastest players in the league manage to swipe so many bags.
The secret to steals? It's all about the gold
During one of his monologues, the comedian observed that there seemed to be a correlation between the speedsters in MLB and what they wore. But it wasn't special shoes, socks, or arm braces, it was gold chains.
Wood Jr. pointed out that Ronald Acuña Jr., Esteury Ruiz, Elly De La Cruz, Jazz Chisholm, and Rickey Henderson are all gold chain wearers. Acuña Jr. and Ruiz lead all of MLB in steals with a combined 140 steals, while Henderson, of course, is the greatest base stealer of all time.
"A gold chain makes you 11% more aerodynamic," Wood Jr. pointed out.
Then he noted that if the Braves star 3B, Austin Riley broke out the chains in 2024, it would be game over for MLB.
That got a nice laugh from the crowd, including Riley, however, Riley certainly knew a secret that Roy Wood Jr. must have not known.
Is Austin Riley faster than Ronald Acuña Jr? (Spoiler: technically)
Even though Acuña stole 70 more bags than Riley did in 2023 (and has 175 more career swipes), Austin Riley was technically faster than the 2023 NL MVP, according to Baseball Savant.
Yes, you read that right. Austin Riley had a higher average sprint speed than Ronald Acuña Jr.
At 28.1 feet per second, Riley just narrowly edged out Acuña's 28.0 feet per second for fifth-fastest Brave in 2023.
Of course, there's a catch with sprint speed. Sprint speed uses the best two-thirds of players sprints and averages it to produce sprint speed.
In theory, this would make sure that a player's slow jog on a grounder back to the pitcher isn't included with their 32.0 feet per second bursts.
However, if a player, perhaps one still being cautious about a knee injury, has been instructed to take it easy on sure outs, the top two-thirds of runs might include a few groundouts into the sprint speed occasion.
And that is in fact what looks like happened. Riley's home-to-first time was .15 seconds slower than Acuña's, and Acuña had 18 "bolts" (any run faster than 30 feet per second) to Riley's zero. So, while Riley was technically faster, Acuña would almost certainly win a race against Riley.
That being said, however, Braves fans shouldn't sleep on Austin Riley's speed. Young Thick is quicker than you think, and watch out if he dons a gold chain.