Cubs Quick Hits: Kris Bryant’s Absurdly Impressive Contact Rate Improvement

Scouts and fans alike questioned whether Kris Bryant could make enough contact to survive MLB pitching. Wonder no more, folks, because Bryant’s improvement in contact rate is historically unprecedented.

Bryant Contact Rate (%) Year
66.3 2015
73 2016
77.4 2017
81.3 2018

Most hitters only improve their ability to make contact by 1-2 percent at Bryant’s age. The former Rookie of the Year and MVP, however, has improved by 15 percentage points since debuting in blue pinstripes during the 2015 season. That’s about 15 times greater than what we could’ve expected from an average hitter. Incredible.

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6 Comments

    1. He’s in the top 40 in MLB; Trout is a few points higher, Machado is a few points lower, and Harper is about 12 points lower. Still early and Harper is way below his career numbers right now, but even his career best is lower than what Bryant’s doing now.

  1. It’s not by accident either. I saw an interview of Bryant recently, where he talked about working on swinging through the zone on the same plane as the ball. This creates a contact zone/intersection that can be up to 2 feet instead of 2-4 inches. Quite a different approach than “maximizing launch angle”.

    1. He talked about with A-Rod on Sunday Night Baseball, but it’s far from a new concept or even something he pioneered. That all comes from his dad, who picked it up from Ted Williams. In fact, it’s a very prominent teaching of Williams’ book, The Science of Hitting. Mike Bryant discussed that in his interview with CI’s Brendan Miller prior to last season (teaser: I’m interviewing him tomorrow for more launch angle discussion) and he explained how they worked on lowering KB’s attack angle to eliminate holes in his swing while maintaining the ideal lift to create high line drives.

      1. Oh yeah, it’s definitely an “old school” approach. I was rather attempting to make the contrast to so many swings/players of the last few seasons whose focus was to hit up on the ball, or always come through the zone with an ascending plane.

        I’ll look forward to your interview!

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