First, there is the fact of this Monday home run:
That is a very good home run, hit against a very bad pitch. Every hitter deserves credit for every home run, but some home runs come easier than others do. Anyway.
Using Baseball Savant, I’ve created the following plot, showing Manny Machado’s rolling 50-batted-ball averages since 2015. As usual, you can see average exit velocities, and average launch angles.
Machado is at an exit velocity career high. The last time he was particularly close to this, he was hitting the ball with less loft. Home runs come from power and loft.
Machado ranks third in all of baseball in 2017 in average exit velocity. He’s behind only Miguel Sano and Khris Davis. If you prefer, he’s fifth in hard-hit rate, north of 50%. He’s in the upper sixth of all players in average launch angle. If you prefer, he has a very low ground-ball rate, about tied with Chris Davis.
Machado, in April, had the highest walk rate he’s ever had in a single month. He had just two more strikeouts than walks. Compared to last year, his swing rate is down seven points, and his out-of-zone swing rate is down nine points. His plate-discipline numbers look similar to where they were in 2015, except now Machado is swinging through a few more pitches, but giving his batted balls more loft. Machado is trying to kill everything, 118 wRC+ be damned. It’s a 118 wRC+, but it comes with the appearance of upside.
Interpret everything how you will. There’s nothing for us to know for certain yet — there are only some promising signs.
Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.
Last night was one of the most manny machado games ever, featuring a super slow-mo stroll around the bases.