Bad Hitting Is Beating Good Pitching

As I write this, the Indians lead the Red Sox 4-0, thanks primarily to a three-run homer from Lonnie Chisenhall. The home run from Chisenhall, off David Price, was his first home run off a left-hander this season. That would be notable, except that the first few days of this postseason have been filled with home runs from guys you don’t expect home runs from.

At this point, 15 different players have hit a home run in the postseason, Wild Card games included. Here are those 15 players, along with their regular season HR and wRC+ numbers.

Little Guys Going Yard
Player Regular Season HR Regular Season wRC+
Mark Trumbo 47 123
Edwin Encarnacion 42 134
Troy Tulowitzki 24 102
Jason Kipnis 23 117
Jose Bautista 22 122
Melvin Upton Jr. 20 84
Francisco Lindor 15 112
Lonnie Chisenhall 8 103
Sandy Leon 7 123
Brock Holt 7 86
Kevin Pillar 7 80
Conor Gillaspie 6 98
Ezequiel Carrera 6 85
Roberto Perez 3 58
Andrew Benintendi 2 120

Eight of the 15 players to hit one out so far this year had single-digit home run totals on the season; seven of the 15 had a wRC+ below 100. Besides Trumbo, Encarnacion, and Bautista, this is just not a group that you think of as big time sluggers. But facing some of the best pitchers in baseball, these are the guys muscling up and hitting the ball over the wall.

Of course, we’re talking about a half dozen games, so this isn’t really meaningful data. But it is a bit of a continuation of the trend we saw this year, where low-power guys started hitting for more power, and a reminder that the home run spike of 2016 has been led by the middle class of hitters.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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Interesting observation. Probably only 5 of the 15 are ‘bad’ hitters though?