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Elephant Rumblings: Jonah Bride’s first week in the bigs

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Oakland Athletics v Boston Red Sox Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

It’s Thursday, Athletics Nation!

Last Tuesday, Jonah Bride took his first steps on major league grass as the A’s took on the Red Sox at Fenway Park. While his first game was quiet at the plate, since then Bride has been a much needed fresh face in the lineup. Across the next six games, Jonah earned at least one hit per game, staying above a .300 average for the following week.

Things are still a bit uneven after a week in the bigs, as Bride has nearly exclusively hit singles so far. One double in the weekend series against the Royals was the only extra-base knock. In fact, despite a fairly constant rate of hitting his way to first, Jonah has yet to earn an RBI, nor to be pushed around score. But that is a lot more emblematic of the A’s overall poor hitting and inability to fill the bases than it is of Bride’s talents.

What is also peculiar when looking though Bride’s game stats is how unpopulated the strikeout and walks columns are. Bride swung through his second strikeout last night, and so far he has only drawn one base on balls. Digging into Jonah’s Statcast data on Baseball Savant, the game logs show that he overwhelmingly puts the ball in play. Of his 25 plate appearances before last night’s game, over half ended as outs on the field.

This means two things are true: Bride is making a lot of contact, and that contact isn’t often quality. Bride’s batted ball profile so far confirms this — while he has a high contact percentage that’s nearly triple the MLB average at 13%, Jonah also has topped over half the pitches he’s made contact with. That leads to a lot of batted balls getting hit sharply into the ground in front of home plate, and a lot less making it out of the infield. If Bride can adjust his swing to turn those spiked balls into barrels, we could start seeing numbers closer to Jonah’s performance in Midland and Vegas.

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