More pop ups, less line drives
Even though Bryant is hitting more balls in the air (45.8 percent in 2016 compared to 48.6 percent this season), his hard contract percentage has dropped. According to Fangraphs, Bryant is making hard contract only 30.3 percent of the time. As a comparison, Bryant made hard contact 40.3 percent of the time in 2016, and 37.5 percent of the time in 2015.
What these numbers suggest is that Bryant is producing more pop-ups and lazy fly balls this season than ever before. Yes, Bryant is hitting the ball in the air, which was his goal, but instead of producing home runs and doubles, Bryant is consistently making easy outs in the air.
Power numbers down, walk rate up
Yes, Bryant currently has 15 home runs, and is on pace to hit 35, but the 25-year-old’s slugging percentage has taken a hit this season. After posting a .554 mark in 2016, Bryant’s slugging percentage is more than thirty points lower this season.
That drop could tie in with the contact numbers mentioned earlier. Despite this, Bryant is on pace to walk 112 times this season, compared to 75 times in 2016, and 77 times a year before that.
Having already walked 47 times, Bryant has a walk rate of 16.3 percent, the highest of his career. Even with his slugging percentage down, Bryant still owns a .396 OBP.