Five free-swinging MLB hitters who’ve been successful this season

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds

Patience is a virtue, but it’s also the kind of skill a big league ballplayer can hone with enough effort and attention.

Being selective — along with being selectively aggressive in the right situations — is typically a sound strategy to take in the batter’s box. It doesn’t work for everyone, though. There are hitters out there that thrive by being a free-swinger, which is what we’ll be focusing on today. The league-average swing rate is 46.5%, but the following five hitters are all well above 50.0% and are among the top 25 most swing-happy players in the game.

However, that hasn’t stopped any of them from putting together a big year.

Corey Dickerson, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

One constant throughout Corey Dickerson’s big-league career has been his propensity for offering at plenty of pitches. He’s never finished a year with a swing rate below 50.0%, and that won’t be changing in 2018 — he’s entering Thursday’s action with a 58.2% mark in that department.

What has changed drastically is his strikeout rate (24.2% in ’17, 13.2% in ’18) and swinging-strike rate (15.4% in ’17, 10.3% in ’18). His current 2.5 fWAR is closing on in a new career high, and it can be attributed to a slight change in approach — Dickerson’s 26.1% line-drive rate is on pace to be the highest it’s been since 2015 (29.8% in 234 plate appearances).

The 29-year-old’s quality of contact hasn’t changed all that much, but he’s making a ton more contact. His 82.3% overall contact rate and 87.2% contact rate on strikes are both on pace to be new career highs. This new approach has come at the expense of his power (11 home runs in 386 plate appearances), but his current 127 wRC+ is tracking to be his second highest ever.

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