With the non-waiver trade deadline officially in the rearview mirror, we’ve made it through one of the craziest times of the year, you guys. Now we can focus on the teams in the thick of playoff chases and the players that’ll impact them the most.
Baseball is a game defined by peaks and valleys, with the goal always being to maximize the peaks while minimizing the valleys as much as humanly possible. Plenty had an opportunity to make an impact in July, but some took more advantage of it than others. The following 10 players — five hitters and five starting pitchers — have managed to separate themselves from the pack in the best way possible over the last month.
July’s Five Best Hitters
With wRC+ as our measuring stick, these five hitters have risen above the rest in the leaderboards (we’ve included a few other statistics for good measure).
Yasmani Grandal‘s 2.6 fWAR heading into Wednesday’s action is already better than his 2017 performance (2.5), and he’ll probably set a new career high in the coming weeks (current high-water mark is 2.9 in 2016). Two things that are helping him bring the pain include an improved pull rate (45.5%) and hard-hit rate (41.4%).
Matt Carpenter is literally hitting the snot out of the baseball. After posting a 65 wRC+ and 36.7% hard-hit rate in April, those numbers haven’t dropped below 150 or 54.0%, respectively, in each of the following three months.
Jose Ramirez is having an equally ridiculous season, too. If he keeps his current 40.8% hard-hit rate in that general vicinity, the number in this category would improve for the fifth consecutive year. And after never posting a walk rate higher than 9.0% in a full season, he entered Wednesday’s games with that up at 15.0%, while his strikeout rate is still down at 10.9%.
It’s been a tale of two seasons for Kole Calhoun. Through May 31st (185 plate appearances), the dude owned a 3 wRC+, .172 wOBA, and had just three extra-base hits. Since June 18th when he came back from injury (140 plate appearances), he’s posted a 173 wRC+, .419 wOBA, and has collected 21 extra-base hits.
Christian Yelich is on his way to a career year in multiple categories with the bat during his first season with the Milwaukee Brewers. He’s always been a ground-ball hitter, and that hasn’t changed this year (55.8% grounder rate). Although his fly-ball rate is 19.9%, the outfielder’s 24.3% line-drive rate is on pace to be a personal best, as is his 45.3% hard-hit rate.