After all, there were 100 different players who hit 20-plus homers in 2018. The hitters we’re about to discuss each got to that number with one thing in common: they produced a ton of ground balls.
On average, big leaguers posted a 43.2% ground-ball rate and 35.3% fly-ball rate this past regular season. Each of the following eight hitters boasted a ground-ball rate above 50.0%, yet were still able to slug at least 20 homers.
Ian Desmond, Colorado Rockies
Ground-Ball Rate: 62.0%
Fly-Ball Rate: 21.5%
Ian Desmond had himself a weird 2018. In the second season of a five-year, $80 million deal with Colorado, he posted yet another below-average wRC+ (69 in ’17, 81 in ’18) and negative fWAR (-0.8 in’17, -0.7 in ’18), but he at least found his power again.
After hitting just seven dingers and posting a meager .100 ISO during his first season with the Rockies, those numbers increased to 22 and .186 this past year, respectively. Desmond has always been a reliant on ground balls, but it’s gone up a notch recently — this is also the second straight year his ground-ball rate has settled in above 60.0%.
Among hitters that qualified for the batting title, he not only had the highest ground-ball rate, but also managed to post the fourth-lowest fly-ball rate. It’s impressive when a hitter can finish with a homer number that’s higher than his fly-ball rate.
View the original article on The Sports Daily: Eight MLB hitters who racked up home runs despite a ton of ground balls