Season after season Mike Trout is up for the American League MVP award. The past few seasons, we’ve seen a bright spot from the Chicago Cubs in Kris Bryant. The next decade could see both players continually compete for their respective league’s most prestigious award. What makes them special? Both players fell just short of 162 games played. Trout was featured in 159 while Bryant in 155. Trout finished the season slashing .315/.441/.550 with 29 HR, 100 RBI, and 30 SB. In the National League, Bryant finished 2016 slashing .292/.385/.554 with 39 HR and 102 RBI.
Is it their durability? Is it the fact they can hit any pitch out of the ball park? Is it they’re hitting mechanics? What about pitch recognition? All of these can be taken into consideration when calculating what makes these hitters special. This week’s article, I want to focus on plate discipline in “That’s Amore!” Trout & Bryant 2016: Plate Discipline.
Through Trout’s first few seasons we’ve seen a patient hitter beyond his years. He keeps getting better and better and he’s on his way toward a historic career. If you look at his stats compared to the other top-10 AL MVP vote-getters you may question why he’s not leading in every category. His overall contact percentage (Contact%) ranks him seventh amongst AL MVP vote getters. The number that is mind-boggling is his outside the zone swing percentage (O-Swing%). Trout sits at 22.3%. Only Josh Donaldson (24.6%) and Mookie Betts (25.5%) were close to Trout. This means, out of all the pitches Trout sees that are outside of the zone, only 22.3% of the time is he taking a hack. His patience, and approach, is apparent in his 116 bases on balls (1st in MLB) and .441 OBP (1st in OBP). There’s no question the Angels were bad last season, but that didn’t stop teams from taking the bat out of Trout’s hands leading to 12 intentional walks. Only Bryce Harper (20), Freddie Freeman (18), Joey Votto (15), Paul Goldschmidt (15), David Ortiz (15), and Miguel Cabrera (15) had more. In 2017, Trout will be aiming to win three MVP awards out of the past four seasons. Entering this season, Trout is the clear front-runner.
2016 was a historic run for Kris Bryant. Coming off his 2015 Rookie of the Year campaign, Bryant finished first in the 2016 MVP voting, and went on to become a World Champion. Similar to Trout, Bryant was top-4 in O-Swing% (29.6%) only trailing Justin Turner (24.4%), Paul Goldschmidt (23.0%), and Joey Votto (20.8%) in the National League. This lead to Bryant finishing the season with 39 HR and 102 RBI. It’s safe to say Bryant has managed, early in his career, to lay off pitches outside of the zone. Byrant’s phenomenal season saw him finish top-10 in HR throughout all of MLB. His sophomore season was no slouch compared to his rookie season.
Both players paid huge dividends for their fantasy owners, and each player was a top-5 target in 2017 fantasy baseball drafts. If you’re looking for all-around hitters with high upside in home runs, RBI, runs scored, and total bases it’s hard to argue over any other hitters. While other players may have higher ranks at each category, no other players have better top-25 finishes at each category, including total bases. Mike Trout and Kris Bryant are power hitters with some of the best plate discipline in the game. Next week, I will be breaking down the top-10 players in terms of WAR (Wins Above Replacement). In case you were wondering, Trout and Bryant finished 1st and 2nd in 2016 WAR at 9.4 and 8.4 respectively.
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Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday April 9th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #82 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will be previewing the coming week’s key matchups and discussing key fantasy information.
Our guests this week are Craig Mish, and Professor Mark Rush. Mark is the Chief Editor for MLFS, a writer, and occasional guest on our shows. Craig Mish is the host of a fantasy baseball show on Sirius Satelitte Radio along with Jim Bowden from 9-11am EST Monday through Friday. Craig is also the host for a show on Sirius every Sunday morning with FSWA Hall of Famer Lenny Melnick from 7-10am EST.
You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”