In order that we might enjoy all of yesterday’s three home runs, each of which was notable in its own regard, I thought I’d share Kris Bryant’s bomb here today.
But Bryant’s was unique in its own respect, arcing much higher than either of the other two blasts – it actually looked like an old school (i.e., 2015) Bryant shot – and landing squarely on Waveland before bouncing high in the air:
The homer was also unique in that it spurred on that fight among fans for the ball. With the new signage in left field, and with the wind blowing in so frequently at Wrigley Field so far this year, there haven’t been too many opportunities for the ballhawks to rumble over a ball.
Bryant’s blast was also the hardest hit homer on the day according to Statcast (ESPN actually had Soler’s and Ross’s as harder – odd), and was one of the most lofty homers of the season in all of baseball:
#Cubs Kris Bryant's HR had the 2nd highest launch angle this year at 43.9 degrees. Exit velocity of 109.3 MPH.
— Daren Willman (@darenw) May 27, 2016
That was also just a really impressive blast, as the pitch bore down and in on Bryant, but he was still able to get his hands in, down, and through quickly enough to put good wood on the ball. That was ultimately what created the high trajectory of the blast, but it was Bryant’s bat speed and hard contact that actually put it out.
The homer was Bryant’s 11th of the year, and pushed his season line up to .280/.370/.516, with a 140 wRC+. That’s better than last year, despite a BABIP (.305) that is very likely lower than Bryant’s true talent ability, and is 73(!) points below where he was last season. How’s he doing it? Well, Bryant’s power remains, even though he’s cut his strikeout rate to an incredibly low 19.2%.
I keep shaking my head when I think about what he’s done so far this year to improve his contact ability without sacrificing the rest of his production.