ATLANTA -- Ender Inciarte will always be best recognized for what he provides with his glove and as a catalyst at the top of the Braves' lineup. But as the All-Star outfielder has matured offensively this year, he has also proven he has the potential to provide some occasional power.Inciarte
ATLANTA -- Ender Inciarte will always be best recognized for what he provides with his glove and as a catalyst at the top of the Braves' lineup. But as the All-Star outfielder has matured offensively this year, he has also proven he has the potential to provide some occasional power.
Inciarte set a career high when he launched his seventh homer -- a two-run shot -- into the right-field seats during the game-tying four-run fifth inning of Wednesday night's 10-4 loss to the Astros at SunTrust Park. The towering shot had a 39-degree launch angle -- the second-highest mark he has recorded with any of his 16 homers since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015.
"After I swung at the changeup in the second at-bat, I told myself that I am going to sit on the changeup in the third at-bat," Inciarte said. "On the home run, I am not trying to do too much but pick my spots every now and then."
According to Statcast™, Inciarte entered Wednesday having increased his average launch angle from 7.1 degrees in 2016 to 10.6 degrees this season.
The three highest launch angles he has generated on homers in his career have been recorded this year. His highest, which registered at 40 degrees, was produced when he hit the first homer in SunTrust Park history on April 14.
"I think with time you develop more power and you are smarter at the plate with swinging at some pitches, and that is what I have been trying to do," Inciarte said.
Inciarte's power has been on display all season. He has hit four of his seven home runs at SunTrust Park, and he has taken advantage of the dimensions.
Those four home runs have either tied the game or given the Braves a lead. With his 108 hits, Inciarte trails only fellow All-Star outfielder Charlie Blackmon for the MLB lead. He is looking to become the first Braves player since Martin Prado in 2010 to lead the Majors in hits at the All-Star break.
"I try to not think about what I am doing or what I am going to do," Inciarte said. "I am hoping to get a long career and I am not trying to think about what is happening right now. … I am already thinking about tomorrow."
Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta.