Riddle me this: Why are pitchers still trying to throw inside fastballs to Kris Bryant?
The third baseman’s father and hitting coach, Mike, expressed that the two were anticipating more outside pitches in 2017 because Kris demolished inside hard stuff en route to an MVP award. Certainly, they thought, pitchers wouldn’t dare try their luck again by throwing to Bryant’s hands. But apparently, pitchers are stupidly hitting on 17 in an attempt to get blackjack.
The below heat map illustrates the zones in which pitchers are throwing fastballs to Bryant thus far in the young season. As you see, most of the hot zones appear inside.
The “attack inside” scouting report hasn’t changed much either, as the profile below looks very similar to Bryant’s MVP campaign.
Attacking Bryant inside would make sense if he sucked against those pitches, but he hasn’t. In fact, he was one of the league’s best inside fastball hitters last year, according to the “runs above average” zone profile.
Maybe the scouting report will change as the year progresses, but I don’t have an answer to the riddle at this point. Neither, it seems, do opposing pitchers.