When he wasn’t getting plunked, David Bote was hitting the snot out of the ball last night. His two homers were the two hardest hit balls in the game last night (113.8 and 110.5 mph exit velocities), and traveled a combined 886 feet. Holy smokes. That’s a lot of feet.
Let’s enjoy the first multi-homer game of Bote’s career:
The recently-extended, recently-third-time-fathered Bote now has a .296/.397/.556 slash line on the season, good for a whopping 151 wRC+. His contact rates are comical – 42.9% hard contact, 16.7% soft contact – and his discipline numbers are currently vastly improved from his rookie campaign. Bote’s walk rate is up from 9.0% to 11.1%, and his strikeout rate is down from 28.6% to just 19.0%.
I tend to think pitchers are trying to figure out what to do with this improved version of Bote, whose contact rates are just obscenely better than last year. It was a big concern after his debut season in 2018, as Bote’s contact rates were far below league average:
69.2% contact rate (76.9% league average)
80.9% zone contact rate (85.5% league average)
49.3% out-of-zone contact rate (62.8% league average)
This year, his contact rate is up to 79.4%, including an enormous 91.3% in the strike zone! His swinging strike rate is down from a scary 14.3% last year to a oh-wow-good 8.3% this year.
You don’t even need numbers. You can SEE the improvement. Look at his contact rates by zone last year, and then see this year: