MLB Directions: Guardians’ Jose Ramirez flirts with 162 RBI; Luis Araz is the best contact hitter in the league

The 2022 MLB regular season is over two months old and the contestants are separating themselves from the contestants. Many teams that started hot have returned to Earth (such as Angels) and others slowly started climbing up the rankings (such as brave). However, there is still a lot – a lot – of the season to play.

With that in mind, our weekly series continues to analyze various trends across the league on Wednesday with a look at extreme contact hitters in historic strides, and the strike rate at the league level. Last week, we looked at Sandy Alcantara’s dominant run, Ian Hub’s improved communication ability, and the Yankees’ closing of a running match..

Unrivaled Ramirez

head portrait

guardians Third baseball player Jose Ramirez has been one of the best all-round baseball players for the better part of a decade now, and he might have his best season in 2022. Still only 29, Ramirez has a .303/.393/. 636 hitting streak as he leads 62 times in 63 games for Cleveland. He has a chance of becoming only the sixth player in the last 75 years (and only the third in the last 72) to finish the season with an RBI more than the team’s matches. The last five to do this:

  • Manny Ramirez, Cleveland 1999: 165 RBI in 162 team matches
  • Jeff Bagwell, 1994 Astros: 116 RBI in 115 collegiate matches (short strike season)
  • Fern Stevens, 1949 red socks: 159 RBI in 155 team matches
  • Ted Williams, 1949 Red Sox: 159 RBI in 155 team matches
  • Joe Dimaggio, 1948 Yankees: 155 RBI in 154 team matches

“They are completely different,” Guards manager Terry Francona told Gazet City When asked to compare Jose Ramirez with Manny RamirezOne of his former players. “I was laughing, because Mane’s in the hitting box, boy, pay attention. But when he left the hitting box, pay attention. Josie is a key player everywhere on the field. He affects the game everywhere. If you’re talking about Josie in those comparisons, That’s a very big compliment, perhaps to both men.”

Ramírez combines the production of a power hitter, contact bats and the ability to connect. He’s only managed 7.5 percent of his board appearances, the second lowest in baseball among qualified hitters (teammate Stephen Cowan is 7.0 percent), and his 4.8 percent swing rate is the fifth lowest in baseball. Few players swing and miss this infrequently, and even fewer do it while hitting for that much power. This is a rare combination of skills.

My favorite fun fact of the season: Ramirez has more home kicks (12) than swings and notifications (8) on fast balls in the strike zone. Rafael Devers, another power hitter with a better-than-average hit rate (17.1 percent), has 11 home players in the area’s fast balls, but has swung and missed 65 times. Ramirez’s blend of connectivity and strength is truly in a class of his own.

The Guardians have won 16 of their last 20 matches, including an 11th inning 6-5 victory over the host twins On Tuesday which then placed in a virtual game with Minnesota at AL Central. (The two teams will play five matches at Progressive Field next week.) Cleveland is in a very big mix of division, and if that doesn’t work out, they are both in a position to compete for a place like no other. Ramirez is more than just a MVP candidate. It’s a unicorn, the rare player that offers modern power at early old-school calling rates.

Araz chases the mysterious history

head portrait

Similar to Ramirez, twins player Luis Ariz is one of the biggest contact hitters in baseball today. His strike rates (8.3 percent) and swing strike (3.3 percent) are right there with Ramirez, although Ares doesn’t hit as hard. Ramirez has 16 matches. Arraez has a total of 12 additional base strokes (eight pairs and four crawlers).

There is nothing wrong with the lack of power, of course. Arraez owns a .362/.442/.457 batting streak and leads baseball in batting rate and base percentage. He and Ramirez are two of the seven qualified hitters with the most attacking hits walked this season:

Arraez’s high-contact/low-energy style gives him a chance to finish the year with a higher percentage on base than a slower percentage. In fact, before going 2 for 5 with a double and Hummer on Tuesday, Arraez had .443 OBP and .439 SLG. Roughly three months into the season and he still had a higher percentage of sluggishness.

An OBP>SLG season is rarely unprecedented, although it does not happen nearly as well as it did before, and it rarely does when a player crosses the .400. Only five times since he was taken down the hill in 1969 has his hitter with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title has been an OBP>SLG season while swinging at least the .400. the list:

Nick Johnson, 2009 Nationals and Marlins

.426

.405

Mike Hargrove, 1981 Cleveland

.424

.401

Mike Hargrove, Cleveland 1980

.415

.404

Willie Randolph, 1980 Yankees

.427

.407

Jane Tenas, 1977 Padres

.415

.410

No player has had an OBP>SLG season with at least 0.420 lags since Albie Pearson hit .288/.420/.400 with the Angels expansion in 1961. No player has done so with at least 0.430 lags since That’s 1955, when Richie Ashburn hit .338 / .449/ .448 with Phyllis. There is still a lot of season to play, but Arraez is within walking distance.

In the end, the OBP>SLG season is more of an elegant statistical whim than a historical one. It’s a testament to a unique skill set and nothing more. For the Twins, the most important thing is that Arraez is triggering one of the highest scoring offenses in the game with his intense connection and core profile. The twins actually have a lot of power thanks to Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa, among others. Arraez has to set the table for these guys, and he’s done an amazing job so far.

MLB strike rate stable

Major League Baseball is on track to do something this season that hasn’t happened since 2005: The league’s strike rate will drop from season to season. The MLB strike rate went from 16.9 percent in 2004 to 16.4 percent in 2005, and it’s increased in every 162-game season since (we’ll ignore the short and unusually pandemic season in 2020).

Last season’s MLB hitters made 23.2 percent of their backs in the plates. This year it fell a full percentage point to 22.2 percent. This decrease is almost entirely attributable to global DH. pitchers hitters are the terrible hitters and made 44.2 percent of their backs in 2021. The rest of the league — the actual hitters — made 22.6 percent of the time.

Here are the league-wide batting and swing strike rates for non-shooters over the last 10 full seasons (so ignore 2020):

2012

19.2%

9.1%

2013

19.3%

9.3%

2014

19.9%

9.4%

2015

19.9%

9.7%

2016

20.6%

10.0%

2017

21.2%

10.3%

2018

21.7%

10.6%

2019

22.4%

11.1%

2021

22.6%

11.2%

2022

22.2%

11.1%

Even after shooters have been removed, there has been a steady increase in strike rate and swing strike rate over the past decade. But this year, it stopped, and both rates stabilized somewhat. Strikes and swings are about the same level this season as 2019. Strike rate is no longer exploding. It seems to have reached its limit, even if only temporarily.

The MLB wants to reduce hits – the logic behind ball executions makes strikes to the ground more difficult and forces hitters to focus on contact, although this adjustment won’t happen overnight – and the first step in reducing hits is to stop them from increasing. This appears to have happened. Now that the write-off rate has been stopped increasing, the MLB can act to reverse the trend.

There are certainly times when a strike is exciting. The lover of your favorite team is close to hitting the best hitter of the other team with the guys at the base to win, etc. This kind of thing. The problem is that those dramatic hits are outweighed by the “eight of the last 12 hitters who hit” extensions in low leverage situations. There are a lot of long stretches without a ball in play and they are negative for the sport, and MLB kudos for trying to fix them. Global DH is one step closer. Cracking down on foreign matter is another thing. There is still work to be done, but at least we are now seeing signs of progress.