Thanks to the best fans in baseball, Mike Moustakas is an All-Star again.
He also subsequently became the first American League player to ever win the Final Vote twice after doing it in 2015 as well.
I actually think we should revisit how much we missed Duffy being on Twitter, but that is for another day.
Today, we celebrate Michael, who has hit more home runs than any player in baseball not named Aaron Judge.
If 2015 was his breakout season, this 2017 is his season of vengeance for the bummer 2016 turned out to be.
Craig Brown of Baseball Prospectus Kansas City talked about Moustakas’ seemingly never ending cycle of reinvention back in June. Brown hit on Moose’s opposite field approach of 2015, followed by his power blending with that opposite field approach in 2016 and eventually, his power consuming what was left of that opposite field approach in 2017.
In other words, Moustakas’ career needed a kickstart and going the other way in 2015 did just that. But he wasn’t done evolving.
Which leads us to 2017. Mike has 25 home runs and is on pace to crab walk past Steve Balboni’s 36 home run mark that is still etched in the Royals’ record books.
My inclination woud be to say that Moustakas has been knocking the crap out of the ball. After all, he trails Judge by just four home runs for the league lead and we all know the pain that man inflicts on baseballs.
But after further evaluation, Moose actually isn’t knocking the crap out of the ball. As a matter of fact, his exit velocity numbers are actually below league average (87.37 MPH v. 87.73 MPH).
That number would have been a lot more baffling just a few years ago. But then we had the fly ball revolution, and it makes just a little bit more sense.
Moustakas isn’t knocking the crap out of the ball, but he is accomplishing what he wants to accomplish with his swings. His average launch angle for this season sits at 19 degrees. That is seven degrees higher than league average.
That also explains why he is hitting the ball over 16 feet further than than the average major leaguer in his at-bats and has an average apex of almost 13 full feet more than the average major leaguer.
It’s a pretty interesting dynamic. Growing up playing baseball, the goal was to hit the ball as hard as you could each at-bat.
I’m sure that Michael wouldn’t have any quarrels with that goal. No hitter wants an at-bat to end in soft contact. But his numbers this season suggest that he cares more about where the ball goes rather than how fast it’s moving.
And given the results, I’m not going to argue with him.