George Springer Hit a Ball Out of the Stadium Tuesday Night
You know the phrase, "What goes up must come down?"
Well, I'm not sure it applies to the home run Houston Astros outfielder George Springer hit Tuesday night.
Take a gander for yourself.
George Springer aporta un #Jonronazo de 2CI a la causa de @LosAstros. Jugada por Jugada: https://t.co/R0f2J70IYIhttps://t.co/ySRb7sQATo
— Astros de Houston (@LosAstros) May 4, 2016
If it wasn't obvious in the video, that ball left Minute Maid Park, as in it went out of the stadium. Hopefully the bat flip was subtle enough for Goose Goosage.
Surprisingly, Springer's home run -- which was his sixth of the season -- went "only" 412 feet. It was the third-longest home run he's hit in 2016, but it doesn't even crack the top-100 for farthest home runs hit this season. Perhaps the short porch in left field skewed our perception of distance, as it is just 315 feet down the line.
While the distance of Springer's moonshot wasn't impressively far, the exit velocity was. Hit at a speed of 111.8 miles per hour, according to Baseball Savant, it was the second-hardest home run Springer has hit this season.
His hardest tater came against Justin Verlander on April 16th.
The exit velocity on this shot was 115.9 miles per hour, which is tied for the eighth-hardest hit ball this season, and is understandable considering how quickly it got out.
Springer doesn't always hit the ball hard -- his 34.6 hard-hit rate is outside of the top-60 this season -- but he does tend to when he hits fly balls or line drives.
His 97.4 average exit velocity on fly balls/line drives ranks 25th-best this season and has helped put him on a 36-home run pace (if he's able to play a full season), which would easily be a career high.
Springer came out of the gate hot in 2014 -- his first season in the big leagues. He hit 20 home runs in 78 games (345 plate appearances), which equates to roughly 42 home runs over the course of a full season, but that's not to say he didn't have his flaws. Springer hit just .231 -- his Isolated Power of .237 was actually higher -- and his strikeout rate was 33.0 percent, which would have tied for worst if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.
Despite the flaws, Springer posted a .352 wOBA, which was fourth-best among all rookies, and his played improved in 2015 as well.
Springer was limited to 102 games (451 plate appearances) last season after fracturing his wrist, but he improved his batting average to .276 and his wOBA to .360. He lowered his strikeout rate to 24.2 percent while hitting 16 home runs.
Through 27 games (118 plate appearances) in 2016, Springer is hitting .274 with a .367 wOBA and a 23.7 percent strikeout rate, although an area of concern is his ability to draw walks. It's still early in the season, but his walk rate has fallen from 11.1 percent to 8.5 percent, something to keep an eye on.
Our models currently project Springer to finish 2016 with a .263 batting average, a .345 wOBA, and 21 home runs. Considering he has 6 home runs already this season, I wouldn't be surprised if he's able to surpass 21. He also has a 1.0 fWAR, which puts him on pace to post a 6.0 fWAR, something only 11 hitters did in 2015.
There's plenty of season left for Springer's pace to cool, but if nothing else, I'm sure we'll see a few more impressive long balls from the former first-round pick. Anyone who hits their first home run of the season in Yankee Stadium for a grand slam seems to have a flair for the dramatic.
George Springer adds a #PapaSlam to this Yankee Stadium slugfest: https://t.co/EgZYISpTVEhttps://t.co/2UWD4J8mpi
— MLB (@MLB) April 7, 2016