Apparently Brendan Tobin, who’s a radio host in Miami, said that he’d eat crow if Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich could hit 20 home runs during the 2016 season. Like, an actual crow. The bird. I guess I can kinda see why he’d bet against this, given that Yelich had never hit more than 9 home runs in a season prior to this past year. But if you dig deeper, the signs were right there that Yelich would start popping dingers pretty soon.
First of all, he’s only 25 years old, so last year was his age-24 season. If you look at his contact rate in 2014 (89.9 %) and 2015 (86.9 %), you know that he puts the bat on the ball at a high rate. And then you look at the fact that he hit 30 doubles in each of those two seasons, so you know that he has some pop. If you have doubles power, and you make contact at a high rate, sooner or later, those balls are gonna start clearing the fence, especially when you’re that young.
Yelich hit 9 home runs in 2014, and 7 homers in 2015, but he took a giant leap forward in 2016 when he hit 21 bombs. It was similar to the path that Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts took. Fans and media in Boston were bugging out over his power numbers, or lack thereof, but if you looked at his numbers in 2014 and 2015, it was the same thing. High contact rate, and he averaged 32 doubles over those two seasons, despite averaging just 10 homers. 2016 rolls around, and Bogaerts hammers 21 bombs of his own. These trends are actually pretty easy to forecast, which could save you from ingesting a fucking crow.