All stats are as of 4/26 and provided by Fangraphs and Baseball Savant
It’s been about 6 months since Christian Yelich accepted his MVP Award. Almost immediately after, Twitter swarmed with one question, How bad will he regress? When you look at what Yelich was able to accomplish in the second half of last season, your mouth is left open. Super human, is a better way to describe it. Throughout the offseason Yelich made his MVP rounds and was constantly asked, how do you top last year? The answer always seems to be implied as you can’t. That’s saying that a player was so good there is no way he could get better, right? However so far this year, Yelich is proving that theory all wrong.
Everybody seems to only focus on the power aspect of Yelich, when in reality is such a minuscule part of his play. Sure the homeruns are fun and cute, but they are only the end result of a well rounded batter. What goes into it is, the pitches per at bat, hard hit%, and wOBA, to list a few. All of these numbers were incredible for Christian last year, and they seem to be identical or getting better so far this season.
|Year||Pitches per at-bat||Hard Hit%||wOBA|
Just when you think you would see some sort of downfall, you don’t. It’s crazy to think that a player can be on a hot streak for so long. Or maybe he is just really that good, which seems more like it, at the rate this is going. The only stat that hasn’t gone up since the brink of this young season is the pitches per at-bat. However, it is a very small difference around .04, it is still a difference in the scheme of the season. For kicks, in a 650 PA season, it translates to around a 25 pitch difference, which isn’t much in the long run. The ability to kill pitchers from hitting out of your socks, is insanity itself. Then adding in the fact he can have quality at-bats, will drive them up a wall (get it homeruns go over the wall). It will also result in many more hits. The longer the hitter sits and fouls off pitches he can’t do much with, the better a chance he has to catch a mistake. The moral of the story here, is that he will continue to drive pitchers crazy.
Another stat to look at is Yelich’s hard hit%. Yeah making contact is great and all, however, being able to hit the ball hard is even more deadly. Also, to add on the fact that he is doing it over 50% of the time, thats stupid good. His percentage from last year landed him in the top 2% of the league. Then, to bring that number up just under 5% (top 3% of the league), is insane. Throughout his career he has always hit the ball very well, from the beginning of his career he has improved just over 10%. To add to that, it has never gotten worse in his career it has always gotten better. The kid doesn’t even have any history of regression.
The last thing to look at is wOBA (weighted on base average, aka my favorite stat). If you have read anything I have wrote before, you know that wOBA makes an appearance in almost every article. It is the perfect all around offensive stat. To sum it up, it takes everything into account, HBP, BB, extra base hits, and more. Throughout Christian’s career he has always held a pretty high wOBA number, however it jumped in 2018. His number was incredible last season, putting him above the excellent category according to Fangraphs. Just when you think it couldn’t get better, his number this year has skyrocketed to nearly .07 more than last year. That puts him exponentially over the excellent category, and the top 1% of the league.
Have I convinced you yet that there is no slowing down for Christian Yelich? The numbers really do speak for themselves. Yelich is a special player and one that will be very impactful for years to come. Even if he does slow down a bit to the player we saw in the first half of last season, he was still an All-Star. I think it is safe to say that regression isn’t even in Yelich’s vocabulary.