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).
It’s barely August, but Yuli Gurriel has already set new single-season career highs in both home runs (20) and fWAR (2.2). As you can see, this was made possible because of what he’s done over the past month. In fact, the 12 homers and 1.9 fWAR he produced in July was on par with what he did in 573 plate appearances last year (13 homers and 1.2 fWAR).
He’s currently on the injured list and typically gets more attention for his defense than his offense, but Ramon Laureano had been white-hot for the Oakland Athletics. After hitting five homers in 179 plate appearances last year, he’s already slugged 21 in 419 trips to the plate this year. His season-long hard-hit rate (39.8%) is identical to 2018, but Laureano has decreased his ground-ball rate (43.5% to 36.1%) in favor of amping up his fly-ball rate (31.5% to 38.7%).
Mike Trout is one of the league’s best hitters in July? Tell us something we didn’t know. He slugged a ridiculous .821 over the last four weeks, and those 13 homers came off the strength of a 53.7% fly-ball rate and a 44.8% hard-hit rate (along with just an 11.1% infield-fly rate). Believe it or not, he’s increased his monthly wRC+ each month since May (171 to 183 to 204). Dude is good.
Travis d’Arnaud has been a revelation for the Tampa Bay Rays, mostly because of what he’s done this month. Prior to accomplishing what he did in the above table, he had just a 66 wRC+ with five home runs and 19 RBI through 138 plate appearances. Of course, this hot July also included a three-homer game at Yankee Stadium.
Danny Santana has been one of a few minor-league signings that’s worked out well for the Texas Rangers. A huge key has been a career-high hard-hit rate (43.8%) to go along with a career-high 27.1% line-drive rate. His 436 wRC+ on line drives in 2019 is on track to be the highest it’s been in a full season since he was a rookie in 2014 (438 wRC+).