With the winds howling in today at Wrigley Field at 20+ miles per hour, it didn’t seem too likely that we’d see a repeat of yesterday’s Cubs homer barrage.
Heck, it didn’t seem likely we’d see even a single homer.
But, then, Kris Bryant cares not for your “likelihoods” or your “wind.” He just crushes the ball and lets the rest take care of itself:
That ball went 423 feet into the wind. It was absolutely destroyed.
Interestingly, that homer presents an opportunity to note two things: (1) because of where it went out, it’s fair to wonder whether the video board had an impact on cutting down the wind impact as the ball approached the stands; and (2) one of the reasons Bryant cited in the offseason for leveling his swing a bit was not only to increase contact, but was also because he wanted to still be able to drive the ball out on days when the wind was blowing in at Wrigley (his tall, majestic shots are more likely to get hung up).
The homer was Bryant’s fifth on the year, and improved his line to .288/.378/.495, with a 133 wRC+.
We’ll dig into it more in the coming week, but Bryant’s overall production in 2016 has held steady from 2015 despite a 32-point drop in BABIP and a 26-point drop in ISO because his walk rate has held steady (11.0%, after 11.8% last year) and his strikeout rate has plummeted (22.0%, after 30.6% last year). More balls in play means more production, and it doesn’t look like Bryant has sacrificed that much of his patience or power to make it happen.