5 Hitters Who Have Been Successful Despite Their Free-Swinging Ways
Patience is a virtue, and while it's a quality that many people can't develop in everyday life, it's something that can be developed in the batter's box.
Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is a prime example of this. He was already a great hitter by the time 2015 rolled around, but it was also the beginning of a trend we usually see as young hitters mature. He produced a 52.1% swing rate that season, which was not only a career high since he became an every-day player in 2012, but it was the second consecutive season that number finished higher than 50.0%.
He then made a change in 2016, knocking that number down to 49.1%, and it not only yielded a career-high number of homers (24), but also the best single-season walk rate of his career (8.4%). His swing rate has continued dropping in 2017, and he's once again in the American League MVP conversation.
Being more selective at the plate is typically a good strategy, but it doesn't always work for everyone. Sometimes, a hitter benefits from being a free-swinger and has a successful year, which is what we're going to touch upon here. Heading into action on Friday, the league-average swing rate is 46.5%, and the following five hitters have all produced one higher than 50.0%, while they've also produced a chase rate well above the league's 29.8% average.