Kris Bryant Literally Trending Up

Look out, folks, because Kris Bryant is hitting baseballs really hard right now. Going into a big series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Bryant’s hard-hit rate is at its highest since 2016 (ya know, when he was named NL MVP the Cubs won the World Series). And most of that hard-hit contact has come in his last 50 plate appearances.

Bryant’s hard-hit percentage per 25 batted balls (i.e., rolling average) shows that the Cubs slugger is trending up. Yet, despite the noticeable improvement in hard-hit rate, many of those hard batted balls haven’t fallen for base hits. We can represent Bryant’s misfortune by plotting his rolling batting average. Specifically, in his last 15-20 plate appearances, his hard-hit balls have gone mostly for outs.

But here’s my favorite graph. While we see above that Bryant’s batting average doesn’t match his hard-hit rate, we can best capture his misfortune by looking at his rolling expected weighted on-base average below. Now I’m not going to tell you how to fan, but you should really be excited by this: Bryant has a .450 xwOBA in his last 50 plate appearances.

So if you’re even a little bit concerned about KB, I hope this eases your anxiety. Seeing this data certainly perked me up. Granted, Bryant doesn’t have the base hits to show for his hard contact, but it’s only a matter of time until his numbers start to normalize.

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