Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Renato Nunez is hitting the ball extremely hard.
Very few hitters in Major League Baseball are hitting the ball harder than Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Renato Nunez. Appearing in all but one game this season, Nunez is slashing .250/.318/.350 with just one home run and one double to his name. There’s a breakout sitting at the tip of his bat, as soon as the ball starts falling his way.
Nunez has rocketed 59% of his batted balls at 95+ mph which is considered a “hard-hit” ball, per Statcast. Only 13 players in the big leagues have hit a higher percentage of hard-hit balls. His 93.8 mph average exit velocity on balls in play places him among the top 30 hitters in baseball. A little luck has to come his way, right?
His expected batting average (.291) is 41 points higher than his actual batting average, while his expected slugging percentage is 151 points higher (.501). This means that based on his exit velocity and launch angle, Nunez should be producing at a much higher clip.
Just like Mancini, Nunez is waiting for his pitch and not trying to do too much at the plate. He’s swinging the bat less, at pitches both inside and outside the strike zone, yet making contact at an 8% higher rate at pitches in the zone and 9% higher on pitches out of the zone. His whiff rate has also dropped from 31% to 23%, through the first two-plus weeks of the season.
These are the types of numbers that show the impact of all the new information these Orioles players are seeing in 2019. We need to give it a few weeks to see where all of the numbers settle in at, but the early results are positive. It’s all about baby steps. This is a very long rebuild, after all.