You know it’s the offseason because some player’s girlfriend tweeted something interesting and I’m running with it. From the Twitter feed of Mike Trout’s girlfriend, Jessica Cox:
From a USA Today story describing the fish:
Trout, his girlfriend and his brother scored big this weekend in Key West, Fla., reeling in a grouper they claim is 500 or 550 pounds, depending on who’s describing the massive catch.
When old school baseball writers are describing the fish Mike Trout caught they claim it was only 30 pounds and that Miguel Cabrera caught a bigger one. In contrast, sabermetric writers describe it as a “great Leviathan,” and that “one of the wild suggestings linked with the Great Grouper was the unearthly conceit that it was ubiquitous; that he had actually been encountered in opposite latitudes at one and the same instant of time.”
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.