First Base wRC+ Leader Jesus Aguilar Took the Best Pitcher in Baseball Deep

Photo via MLB.com

A coronavirus outbreak failed to stop the Jesus Aguilar Revenge Season. Now a showdown with the best pitcher in the sport has also failed to cool the slugger’s hot bat.

While Gerrit Cole is also in the discussion, Jacob deGrom has established himself as baseball’s best pitcher. Since the start of the 2018 season, the veteran righty leads all MLB starters with a 2.05 ERA, 2.29 FIP, and 16.7 fWAR.

deGrom averaged 97 miles-per-hour on his fastball in 2019, but this year, he’s come out of the gates throwing harder than ever before. Entering Sunday, the Mets ace had averaged 98.7 miles-per-hour on his heater, the highest among all MLB starters. Opponents had recorded just one hit against it — a single.

It should also be noted that it’s very difficult to hit home runs against deGrom. Over the last two years, he has the lowest HR/9 in baseball at a miniscule 0.62.

That was not enough to stop Jesus Aguilar. When deGrom gave him a 97 mile-per-hour fastball up-and-in, the big man took a mighty hack and launched a high fly ball that bounced off of the left field seats. It was only the second home run allowed by deGrom this season.

Hitting a home run on deGrom fastball in that location is incredibly difficult to do. A look through Statcast’s database reveals that the last time a right-handed hitter took deGrom deep on a similar pitch was over three years ago when former Cardinals outfielder Randal Grichuk slugged one into deep center.

Out of Aguilar’s four home runs on the season, this is the second one that has come on an inside fastball, evidence that his power to his pull side has returned. In 2019, Aguilar only hit one home run on an inside pitch; he has already surpassed that just 10 games into the 2020 campaign. In his All-Star season, he left the yard 14 times on inside pitches, including six times on offerings that were up-and-in.

One final note: while the leaderboard is guaranteed to change on a daily basis, let the record show that from the start of the season through August 9th, Jesus Aguilar led all qualified MLB first baseman in wRC+.

FanGraphs

Baseball writer and analyst for Brew Crew Ball and Pitcher List, Director of Baseball Analytics for Wisconsin Lutheran College, and chocolate milk connoisseur.

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