David Bote Isn’t Whiffing Against High Fastballs Like Last Year

When David Bote wasn’t blasting walk-offs in 2018, he was struggling mightily against high fastballs. The versatile slugger knew high heat was his Kryptonite and worked diligently over the offseason to limit whiffs. The early results show Bote’s hard work is paying off.

Not only is he hitting .279 with a .380 wOBA, he’s not missing as many fastballs up in the zone. The figure below compares Bote’s whiff rate against high four-seamers over the last two seasons. Warm colors mean high whiff probability, cold colors mean high contact probability.

Bote has essentially cut his whiff rate against high fastballs in half. In 2018, chances were greater than 50 percent that he would through a four-seamer up in the zone. Early in 2019, encouragingly, those chances have dropped to under 10 percent.

There is, however, a caveat. While Bote isn’t whiffing as much as last year, he’s not necessarily getting good results with those pitches. In fact, he has yet to record a base hit against a high fastball this season. But just by not getting flat-out beat by those pitches, he’s able to extend at-bats and find better pitches to hit.

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