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So HOT, they call him JALA-Piña

Taking a look at Yuli’s shot at Player of the Month

**all stats are from prior to last nights game**

Yuli Gurriel, la Piña himself, is having himself a hell of a season. He’s now hitting .299/.333/.524- good for a 126 wRC+ and 2.2 WAR so far this season.

But Yuli didn’t start the season on nearly the same pace, here was the breakout by months:

April/May: 104 AB - .240/.292/.375

May: 103 AB - .291/.311/.447

June: 100 AB - .270/.306/.450

Resulting in a .267/.303/.423 triple slash at the end of June, with many fans calling for his replacement via trade. Then July happened

In July, Yuli has been hitting an absurd .404/.434/.851 for a 238 wRC+!!! Here’s an excellent compilation of his July by Highlight Fanatics (@HighlightFanat) :

You know who had the highest batting average in all of baseball in July? Yuli

You know who had the highest Slugging percentage in all of baseball in July? Yuli

You know who had the highest wRC+ in July? Yuli

You know who produced the highest WAR in July? Yuli

You know who had the most home runs? Yuli

I admit to being biased, I’m a big enough Astros fan to write about the team, but this seems like a slam dunk ... wait.. wrong sport. AJ Hinch agrees in his interview saying that Gurriel should be player of the month:

At CrawfishBoxes, we put together an article before the season started titled Reasons for Optimism for Yuli in 2019. Which predicted a rebound from Yuli’s down 2018 largely due to the recovery from his broken hamate he suffered in the previous year and the year to year and a half recovery time with a prediction of .295/.340/.490 for 2+ WAR in the season. Obviously the WAR is a lay-up and his .299/.333/.524 has exceeded our expectations particularly from a power front.

From a sustainability standpoint, Yuli is an interesting case, obviously he won’t continue his July pace, but his overall season BABIP of .294 is actually a few points below his career average and doesn’t scream regression. If you do a macro level view at wOBA vs xwOBA, he’s outperforming expectations with a .360 wOBA vs .322 xwOBA, but pulling his month by month xwOBA trend shows an interesting result.

The trend is encouraging, and he’s actually hitting at a .392 xwOBA clip so far in July.

He’s currently riding a 17 game hitting streak, and I’m hopeful it never ends!