Jim Thome had the quietest 600-homer career of all time. We know this because people keep forgetting Jim Thome is in the 600 Home Run Club.
It was 612 home runs, actually, and Thome is one of eight players to reach the hallowed milestone. Albert Pujols will be the ninth, and it’s the Pujols Watch that has brought Thome’s name back into the baseball conscience. That seems odd to say given that he was active as recently as 2012, but here we are.
It’s not quite Jim Thome, forgotten slugger. But it sure seems close.
Earlier in the season, Travis induced weak contact on inside pitches or was missing altogether. Now, Travis takes pitches over the plate and barrels them to the outfield.
Throughout April, the bulk of his swings and misses were on pitches in the inner half of the strike zone. Like many right-handed hitters, Travis found that location to be his Kryptonite. But now with his new position in the box, he predominantly whiffs on offerings down and away.
In April, Travis had three measly extra-base hits, while in May he collected 20 extra-base hits and now has the most doubles of any hitter in MLB with 18.
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What’s the reason for his dramatic turnaround? The answer may be a simple step backward in the batter’s box.
Game Womens Jimmy Graham Jersey Earlier in the season, Travis was standing much closer to home plate. In essence, that also pushed the barrel of his bat even farther away from the plate and was causing him to chase pitches outside the strike zone or induce weak contact.
But a small shift backward in the batter’s box has lined the barrel of his bat back into the strike zone. It’s rejuvenated his swing and Travis has enjoyed a tremendous spike in extra-base hits throughout May.