Ben Zobrist Displaying ‘Perfect’ Plate Approach

Newly minted NL Player of the Week Ben Zobrist leads the majors in slugging (1.045), wOBA (.661), wRC+ (316), and fWAR (0.9) over the last seven days. So that’s kinda good. The numbers aren’t quite as eye-popping when we zoom out to view the season as a whole, but his impact is quite apparent.

Whoa, there, Sahadev. Perfect?


In his last 28 plate appearances, Zobrist hit 4 home runs, scored 9 runs and drove in 14. He also walked 6 times. Know how many times he struck out? Anyone? Okay, fine, I’ll tell you: Zero. Zobrist didn’t strike out once, despite putting up some really solid power numbers. That’s not just an aberration either, as you see from the tweet above.

That 17.3% walk rate puts Zobrist 7th in MLB and the 9.8% strikeout rate ranks him 11th (both would be career-best marks). If that doesn’t sound very impressive, think about the tendencies of most high-walk-rate players. Most of them tend to swing a miss a lot, right? Exactly. In fact, of the 35 qualified batters with the highest walk rates in the game, only Zobrist strikes out less than 10% of the time. Only 5 among the top 115 best walk rates strike out at a single-digit clip.

No qualified hitter has a bigger difference between his walk and strikeout rates than does Zobrist. Having a guy like that who can both set and clear the table in the middle of the order has been huge to this point in the season. We’re probably not going to see too many more monster weeks from the soon-to-be 35-year-old, but that rock solid approach will continue to play a big role over the next several months.

Whether he leads off or hits third, fifth or sixth; whether he’s facing righties or lefties; and whether he plays second base or right field, Zobrist just goes out and goes about his business. And in most cases, particularly on a team filled with so many exciting players, his exploits sort of fly under the radar. Then you pull up the stats and go, “Huh, that’s actually pretty amazing.”

In a sport in which perfection isn’t even realistic enough to be called a myth, Ben Zobrist is proving to be nothing less than a perfect fit in Chicago.

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