Kody Clawson | June 27th, 2019
The launch angle revolution has changed the way many hitters approach the game. Fly balls are more important than ever, and hitters are trying to drive those fly balls with more force. To accomplish this, many hitters are pulling the ball more than before. Because of this, I decided to peruse the pull percentage leaderboard to try to find some interesting names, and honestly, all the top names are interesting in their own right. I kept to the top three names this time around.
Renfroe currently leads the majors in pull percentage at 57.0%(!) and is also eighth in hard-hit rate, according to Fangraphs. As such, he already has nearly as many home runs this season (23) as he has each of the last two seasons (26). It’s also affected his BABIP, and therefore his batting average. Assuming he can’t maintain this kind of power production, he’s going to need those non-home runs to start falling in for hits, or else the floor is going to fall out from his overall production. Still, you can’t argue with that power tool, as it has always been his calling card, and it has come to play this year.
Kepler has gotten more aggressive this season, swinging at 49.5% of pitches seen this season compared to 42.5% last season. This, combined with his pull percentage of 56.0% and a 43.1% hard-hit rate, seems to be working to his advantage, as his 19 home runs this season has already nearly beaten his career-best 20 from last year. Usually a patient hitter, he still owns a 10.4% walk rate and a 15.2% strikeout rate. With his new selectively aggressive nature, he may be rounding out to be a more complete hitter and a perfect leadoff man for this super-powered Twins lineup.
I was surprised to see that, while Pujols’ 55.4% pull rate is the highest of his career, he’s always been a bit of a dead-pull hitter, having his opposite-field percentage below 20% each season since 2009. This year, he’s really fallen into his pull-happy ways, and while his ISO is up from .166 last year to .208 this year, his BABIP has cratered from .247 last year to .215 this year, leaving his batting average at .237. It’s been rough watching the end of this legendary slugger’s career, but we got to see him eclipse 2,000 career RBI this season, and he’s only four home runs away from 650 career bombs, adding to his hall of fame credentials. This may be the swan song, but he’s making every effort to make his end a powerful one.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images