Statistical anomaly? 2017 quirky for Schimpf

Thirteen of 24 hits going for homers just one of Padres infielder's array of distinct numbers

Statistical anomaly? 2017 quirky for Schimpf

SAN DIEGO -- Ryan Schimpf is more than a third of the way to one of the most unique qualifying seasons in Major League history.

Through 177 plate appearances entering play Monday, the Padres infielder is on course for some of the most distinct numbers you'll ever see on the back of a baseball card.

Here's a look at some of his biggest historic anomalies and the driving factors behind them.

Home runs and singles

Schimpf homered again on Sunday, his second in three games and his 13th of the season. Yet he's managed just 24 hits all year.

In Major League history, no player has finished with at least 13 dingers, while hitting more home runs than singles, doubles and triples combined.

"I wish it was as easy as just to take a single," said Schimpf, whose nine singles are the fewest among all qualifying hitters. "I'm not Tony Gwynn. I'm not a magician with the bat who can just take a single here and there. But really, I'm up there trying to drive the ball every time I swing. Whatever happens after that, I don't think you can really control."

Fly-ball rate

Schimpf's ground-ball sightings are like unicorns. Nobody hits the ball in the air more frequently -- and it's not even close. His 65.6 percent fly-ball rate is not just tops in the Majors, it's the highest this century. (In 2006, Frank Thomas posted a 57.3 percent mark, the highest since FanGraphs began recording batted-ball data in 2002.)

Of course, that mostly stems from Schimpf's 32-degree average launch angle, also the highest in baseball.

"It's definitely not something I try to do," Schimpf said. "It's just kind of how my swing is built from when I was little. Really, I'm just up there trying to hit hard line drives. In BP, I try and hit low line drives."

Schimpf's solo jack to right


Schimpf's uppercut-heavy swing certainly has its benefits. When he hits the ball hard, it tends to leave the ballpark. It has a downside too, however. His infield fly-ball rate is up to 20 percent this season, which means easy outs.

In that sense, Schimpf's batting average on balls in play has reached an historic low. His BABIP -- which removes strikeouts and homers from the batting-average equation -- is .143. It's the lowest this century, 53 points south of Aaron Hill's 2010 campaign.

"It should even out more, but if he keeps hitting popups, it won't," said Padres manager Andy Green. "When he squares up baseballs, he hits them out of the park. That's a productive thing. The more we can get that line-drive stroke, that's what he wants, that's what we want as well."


During his 73-homer season in 2001, Barry Bonds drove in 137 runs, meaning he plated himself for 53 percent of his RBIs. In baseball history, no one has matched that mark. (Curtis Granderson and Jedd Gyorko came closest at 51 percent last season.)

Schimpf has only 24 RBIs this year. It's premature to extrapolate those numbers. But there's reason to believe his pace is somewhat sustainable, given his penchant toward walks and strikeouts.


Schimpf's statistical anomalies don't end there. But perhaps the most interesting thing is that Schimpf has never made an attempt to be remarkable in the way his numbers say he is.

"Every player thinks they're unique in some way," Schimpf said. "I don't try to do anything differently. But I just go out there and try to be me, do what I do best."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.