The White Sox are playing good baseball lately, with a 15-13 record over their last 28 games. What stands out most is their recent run of better starting pitching – they have had five quality starts over their last seven games (opposed to nine over the first 32 games this season). But tucked away on the stats page is something that’s really promising. The Sox are hitting the ball hard this season; they currently rank second in MLB in hard-hit percentage, according to Statcast data. By definition, a hard hit ball is a batted ball with exit velocity of at least 95 MPH.
Hard Hit percentage
MLB leaders this season (according to Statcast)
|White Sox||41.3 percent|
|Red Sox||39.9 percent|
Among individual players on the White Sox, José Abreu leads the way with 57 percent, which is fifth out of 364 players in MLB with at least 25 batted ball events this season. Aaron Judge is No. 1 with 66.7 percent, though he has missed most of the season with an oblique strain and has only 48 batted ball events to Abreu’s 114. If you set the cutoff at minimum 100 batted ball events, Abreu’s 57 percent ranks first out of 115 players.
Hard Hit percentage
MLB individual leaders this season (min. 100 batted ball events), according to Statcast
|José Abreu||57 percent|
|Josh Bell||55.7 percent|
|Christian Yelich||54.4 percent|
|George Springer||53.3 percent|
|Javier Báez||53.1 percent|
|Trevor Story||52.9 percent|
|Cody Bellinger||52.8 percent|
Not far behind Abreu are Yonder Alonso (50 percent), James McCann (46.3 percent) and Yoán Moncada (45.5 percent). To anyone who has watched the 2019 White Sox regularly, seeing those names on a hard-hit rate leaderboard shouldn’t be much of a surprise, perhaps with the exception of Alonso, who has yet to find his rhythm this season. But hitting the ball hard usually brings success, so it may be a matter of time before Alonso puts it all together. He has certainly showed a good eye at the plate early on.
With continued success from the starting moundsmen, if the White Sox can continue their trend of hard hitting, we might see a nice improvement on their win total from last season.