A former MVP winner, the way his power evaporated is baffling and disconcerting.
He has 18 home runs combined between 2021 and 2022.
That’s odd and disappointing, considering he hit 36 in 2018 and 44 in 2019.
Where did his power go?
Chronic back issues can help explain his power dip, but he hits the ball hard anyway.
MLB analyst Danny Vietti posted some of his Statcast metrics in categories such as hard-hit rate, average, and max exit velocity.
They are all elite.
Not so much.
“Christian Yelich continues to not make sense. Elite metrics. Below standard results,” Vietti tweeted.
Christian Yelich continues to not make sense. Elite metrics. Below standard results. pic.twitter.com/TlkLCwvev4
— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) August 17, 2022
The Metrics Don’t Go With The Results
Yelich has an average exit velocity of 91.2 mph, which is very good.
He also hits the ball hard frequently, more often than the vast majority of the league.
One of the biggest issues, however, is that most of that hard contact is on the ground.
We don’t know if you have tried, but hitting a home run on a ground ball is very, very hard to do.
Yelich, before Thursday’s games, hits 2.39 ground balls for every fly ball, and that’s not going to cut it for a power hitter.
His 19.1% line-drive rate and 23.8% fly ball rate pale in comparison with his awful 57.0% ground ball rate.
If Yelich could increase his launch angle, at least subtly, his power performance could take off.
That’s much easier said than done, however, otherwise he would have achieved it by now.
For now, Yelich continues to be a frustrating player: the Brewers need to find a way to help him unlock his vast potential again.
His problematic back doesn’t help, though.