Pitchers are hitting .125 with 11 homers and 83 RBIs in just over 1,700 plate appearances this season.
While those numbers may not look like much, the league’s pitchers are on pace to hit 30 bombs for the first time since 2006.
If you look at the Isolated Power (ISO) metric, this is the pitchers’ most powerful season of collective hitting since 2011.
Who is leading this charge? Which pitchers are feared at the dish?
It is time to learn about one of my favorite baseball scenarios – the pitcher batting.
Pitchers Are Having a Good Year at the Dish
2019 pitchers are on pace for an exceptional year hitting-wise. Take a look.
* through just shy of one-third of the 2019 season
Allow me to throw a couple of other stats at you, too. Pitchers are walking in 3.2% of their plate appearances this year, the highest mark since 2016.
Pitchers are striking out in an astounding 42.6% of their plate appearances in 2019, their highest mark in history!
Hitting Pitchers’ Golden Boys
Sorting our 2019 pitchers by Offensive Runs Above Average (Off), we see that Zack Greinke is a stud with the bat in his hands and has been for years.
There are only 2 pitchers with a higher batting average than Greinke this year and no pitcher with more home runs or runs scored than Greinke. Here are his 2019 numbers along with his career hitting marks.
2013 was when Greinke first broke out at the plate, hitting .328 for the year with a 9.7% BB% and a 13.9% K%. Since 2013, Zack Greinke holds both the 2nd-highest batting average for pitchers and the 2nd-lowest strikeout rate (at the plate).
Thor Syndergaard Provides the Pop
One of the more powerful pitcher bats in baseball is Noah Syndergaard of the Mets. Since 2016, only Michael Lorenzen and Madison Bumgarner have hit more pitcher home runs than Thor.
Syndergaard is tied with Greinke at 2 home runs this year, but his astronomical K rate prevents his average from looking impressive. Hitting just .125 in 2019, Syndergaard has struck out in 59.3% of his plate appearances. This is the highest strikeout rate (from the plate) of any pitcher above 20 plate appearances this season.
Brandon Woodruff is the King of Hard Contact
The Brewers’ 26-year-old righty Brandon Woodruff has hit 53.3% of his balls hard this season, the highest percentage of any pitcher.
Woodruff is also 5th this year in line drive rate for pitchers with 42.9% of his batted balls being liners. Totaling 10 hits in 27 at bats, Woodruff is hitting an eye-opening .370.
The power is nearly nonexistent for Woodruff, who has managed 7 singles and 3 doubles in 2019.
Woodruff is aided by an unbelievably high BABIP of .667. Given how unsustainable this number is, do not look for the 3-year-vet to win any Silver Sluggers.
Pitchers often break the game open when they contribute to the offense. Knowing who the good hitting pitchers are can go a long way in handicapping a team’s chances to put up a big number.