Fly balls alone won’t turn Jose Reyes into a hitter like Aaron Judge. Judge simply hits the ball a lot harder than Reyes. In fact, Judge hits it harder than anyone. His fly balls end up over the wall about 40 percent of the time, Reyes’s only 7 percent. So players like Reyes need to find the right launch angle to match how hard they hit the ball.
Reyes, by many measures, is having an awful year. Of the 164 players who qualify for the batting title, only two have a lower batting average on balls hit in play than Reyes does. And the Cubs briefly demoted one of those two players, Kyle Schwarber, to the minor leagues to work on his hitting. So why has Reyes been so bad when he makes contact? Examining the angle at which the ball leaves his bat identifies weaknesses in his approach.