DENVER -- Nolan Arenado has added a new trick to his power arsenal. Widely acknowledged as ranking among the game's strongest right-handed pull hitters, the Rockies' third baseman this year is pushing to the opposite field at a substantially higher rate than ever before.Arenado launched a career-high three doubles in
DENVER -- Nolan Arenado has added a new trick to his power arsenal. Widely acknowledged as ranking among the game's strongest right-handed pull hitters, the Rockies' third baseman this year is pushing to the opposite field at a substantially higher rate than ever before.
Arenado launched a career-high three doubles in Colorado's 10-9 win over the Giants on Thursday, including two to the deepest point of right-center, to finish with a season-high four RBIs. According to Statcast™, Arenado is lifting 34.1 percent of his total batted balls to the right of straightaway center -- a significant uptick from the 27.0 and 25.3 percent on such balls in 2016 and 2015, respectively.
Among hitters with at least 50 batted balls on away pitches, Arenado ranks 12th with an average exit velocity of 89.2 mph, per Stacast, yet the two-time All-Star maintains his burgeoning opposite-field ability isn't necessarily intentional.
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"I really try to hit the ball hard and I just react," said Arenado, who's looking for his third straight All-Star selection. "It's just reaction, just putting the barrel there. When I'm going good, I feel like I can stay inside the ball well and do those things, but yeah, I think it's just a matter of instincts taking over."
While pacing the National League in homers each of the last two years with a combined 83, Arenado also led the Majors with 27 homers on pitches Statcast™ perceived outside the strike zone -- and nearly all were on the hands. This year, he's seeing just 10.3 percent of pitches on the inside, his lowest rate since Statcast™ pitch tracking was implemented in 2015.
"I'm just taking what the pitchers are giving me," he said. "I think the pitchers know that I like to pull the ball and they're going to try not to throw me inside anymore. But I'm going to be ready because I do my damage left-to-left-center, so I'm looking to drive the ball. But at the end of the day, I'm just trying to hit wherever the pitch is at."
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.