In the world of baseball, there are times when you see something just click with players—a proverbial switch flipping—and Triston Casas seems to be in one of those moments. And as usual, my mind randomly equates flipping with flipping bats and with flipping houses. Triston could totally pass as one of the Property Brothers, right? Anyway, as the young sensation of the Boston Red Sox continues to set the plate on fire this month, let’s rewind to Saturday night’s clash at Fenway Park against the New York Mets. Picture this—The Red Sox were on the verge of another bullpen blunder coughing up 3 runs of a 5-run lead. But, the lead was held, and you know why? Triston Casas, the rookie, delivered not one, but TWO home runs off of Max Scherzer.
And that really illuminates the story here. We’ve been waiting for the beautiful sound of power contact to appear with him all season. When you look at Casas’ prospect report two things stand out. A disciplined eye for the ball in the zone, and plus-plus power thanks to his length and frame. The major question has been whether he would be able to fully weaponize it in the big leagues to take advantage of Fenway as his home park. Would he be able to knock down that old kitchen wall to make way for an OPEN CONCEPT? Sorry, getting off-topic. Casas Bonita might finally be here.
Now it’s only been 9 games past the break, so the numbers are a bit skewed. This chart is not as powerful as it could be because it hides the improvements behind the power surge. If we break apart this chart by months, you begin to see things a bit clearer.
Since June, a transformation has been unfolding. After his early season peak in walk rate, he dropped his strikeout rate showing that zone recognition skill he previously displayed in the minors. This also pairs with a steadily increasing AVG and SLG as the season has accumulated. Which each step along the way you can see he’s making improvements in his plate discipline and contact. None more fascinating than his contact distribution.
Through May and June, he conducted a siege on wormdom by hitting the ball into the dirt 42% of the time, despite a refocused effort to get around on pitches he liked sooner, leading to a boost in his pull rate. He was making “better” contact but not with the desired results. But now, in the month of July he has turned those grounders into line drives and is now hitting them to center field. Casas is hitting 50% of his balls in play to center—a sign that his adjustments are finally bearing fruit.
Triston Casas made two crucial adjustments that have contributed to his improved performance. The first involved his mastery against fastballs. In the early part of the season, Casas struggled with a .191 batting average on fastballs (4-seamers, cutters, or sinkers). Since June, something clicked and he’s hit .333 against speedballs. This season Casas has hit 11 of his 14 home runs against fastballs with a total SLG against of .519; lightyears away from where he was in his short sample last year when looked a bit overmatched and struggled with .388 SLG against velocity. The rate of adaptation is different for every rookie player, and for Casas it all seems to be coming together now.
So, my friends, let this serve as a reminder—baseball is a realm of constant evolution and adaptation. Every at-bat brings new challenges, sticking to his process and standing tall in the face of any challenge that comes his way! Triston Casas has repainted his nails and the house in this latest remodel show on HDTV, I mean MLBTV. Triston is making this Casas, Bonita!
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