With the most violent swing this side of Bryce Harper, Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre takes cuts so hard that he'll occasionally end up on one knee at home plate. Beltre didn't end up kneeling after any of his base knocks while hitting for the cycle against the Twins last night, but he brought Twins pitchers Samuel Dedundo and Kyle Waldrop to their knees by doing what he does best: bludgeoning pitches thrown below the belt.
All four of Beltre's hits came on pitches thrown in the lower half of the strike zone. Beltre tripled off the left-center field wall on a middle-of-the-plate curveball from Dedundo in the first inning and lined a low Dedundo fastball to left field in the second. He then homered on a low curve from Dedundo in the fifth, nearly losing his balance as the ball screamed into the left field stands, and finally singled on a low Waldrop fastball in the seventh:
Location of Beltre's hits, 8/24/12
Lashing lower-half pitches is nothing new for Beltre. Check out his slugging percentage by pitch location against pitches thrown at or below the belt:
Among qualified hitters, only Boy Wonder Mike Trout, Edwin Encarnacion, A.J. Pierzynski, Austin Jackson and now-suspended Melky Cabrera have a higher slugging percentage against lower-half pitches this season. :
Highest slugging percentage vs. lower-half pitches, 2012
|A. J. Pierzynski||.573|