It’s a slow period for baseball news, so this article from Fangraphs is something to hold you over while we wait for the first bit of news from 2015. Tony Blengino takes a look at the leaders and the worst hitters on balls in play in the National League. The four categories he takes a look at are pop ups, line drives, fly balls and grounders.
It might be a bit surprising to see Andrew McCutchen listed among the players with the lowest percentage of line drives when they put the ball in play. Jordy Mercer was also in the bottom ten. On the flip side, when he did hit a line drive in 2014, McCutchen was one of the most productive hitters, ranking seventh among NL hitters. Travis Snider and Pedro Alvarez were also among the most productive line drive hitters in the game. Alvarez might be a surprise since he had a poor season, but he had a high strikeout rate and wasn’t among the best at hitting line drives, plus he only had 398 at-bats on the season, so the production is based on a limited total. Snider’s production ranked sixth best in the league, while Alvarez was eighth.
Finally, Starling Marte was among the best at not popping the ball up. That is significant because as Blengino points out, batters had an .015 average and .019 slugging percentage when hitting pop ups this year. Marte popped up 2.84% of the time he put the ball in play.