HOLLY SEYMOUR

A different take on the Kareem Hunt situation

Kareem Hunt will no longer be a Chief. Jamie Squire/Getty Images

I am a victim of rape. I have a family member who is a victim of domestic violence. I also have a very close friend who was kicked out of the NFL and his name forever shamed for being accused of beating his girlfriend. With that being said…

This has been a touchy subject and I always try to remain open minded. 

There are two sides to every story; however, when a video is leaked for the public to see, it makes people feel a certain way. When we hear accusations of domestic violence, our first reaction is to be disgusted. Then we give ourselves a moment to relax and listen to the alleged offender. For example, Reuben Foster. In the earlier incident this year, we had to give him the benefit of the doubt because the case was thrown out and we had no solid proof. 

The video release of Kareem Hunt will not need a second story. Am I taking the woman’s side? Not exactly. If it IS true and she did use racial slurs, I judge her as I would anyone who does that. A disgusting human, racism will NEVER be tolerated in my eyes. We all witnessed her slap Hunt in the face. She is out of line and obviously started the incident. BUT. Watching Hunt not only shove her, but kick her while she was on the ground makes him the (excuse my language) POS. He could have easily walked away, called security. Why? Because unless a man TRULY fears for his life, it is NEVER acceptable to put your hands on a woman. EVER. 

Let me jump to the other side here for a moment. Some women are bullies. They know a man’s hot spot (and I don’t mean the good one). These women like to “poke the bear.” In my friend’s case, he told her multiple times “please leave.” She instead insisted on harassing him, throwing things at his face, adding fuel to the fire. Is it still OK to touch her? NO. I just wanted to give light to the other picture. The picture we’re not supposed to see.  

For anyone who sides with Kareem Hunt, Reuben Foster, Ray Rice… The list goes on… I ask you to do me one favor. Open your mind. Put yourself in the position the woman was in. Do you know what it’s like to feel scared for your life? To be in a room or a car with someone who has full power over you? Personally, it takes a lot to put fear inside of me but I have been there. I have even been there, surrounded by his family and friends while they stood there and did nothing to help me. And I can tell you, it is an awful feeling to know that you can’t grab your phone or ask anyone for help. To know that you have to be silent or apologize repeatedly for something you didn’t even do. Because at any second, your life can end. If not end, an ass beating from hell may as well make you feel like dying. 

One last side, the NFL’s side. Shame on them for only “handling” the matter when it was exposed. For giving fans the notion that it is OK unless you are caught. This league only cares about money. Kareem Hunt is a special player. His talent is immaculate and exciting to watch. His TALENT brings in ratings and sells jerseys. Unfortunately, this will not change. This is a money-influenced world. Do we ban the sport? No. Do we stop buying sports gear? No. We just hope that the players in those locker rooms influence their teammates in positive ways. We hope that men learn to walk away, be grateful for the opportunity to do what they love and play the sport they worked their entire lives to play at this level. 

 

Being a part of the sports media, I will always remain open minded and view every assault/abuse case fairly. I will always listen to both sides. However, I will NEVER side with video footage showing any form of abuse towards a woman.

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Here's what the data tells us about Bregman. Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Alex Bregman had a rough season in 2020 by his standards. He slashed .242/.350/.451 in 42 regular season games. His regular season included a trip to the 10-day IL for a hamstring strain he suffered in mid-August. His surface-level struggles continued in the postseason, where he slashed .220/.316/.300 in 13 games. However, that postseason sample size does include a tough luck game against the Tampa Bay Rays where he went 0-for-5 with five hard hit balls.

All-in-all, 2020 felt like a lost season for Bregman. He never really got going. He got off to a slow start, but he's always been a slow starter. Once he started to pick it up, he strained his hamstring, and he played poorly after returning from the hamstring strain. Then, he started to turn his batted ball quality around in the playoffs, but he hit into a lot of tough luck outs.

Hard Hit % - 33.6%

Barrel % - 3.9%

K% - 14.4%

BB% - 13.3%

Chase % - 18.1%

Bregman comes from the Michael Brantley school of hitters. He has elite plate discipline and elite bat-to-ball skills. This makes Bregman a fairly consistent hitter. That may sound odd considering his 2020 "struggles" but even an extended period of poor performance for him resulted in a .801 OPS and a 122 wRC+. If his valleys are still 22% better than the league average hitter, then that's a pretty reliable producer.

There aren't any alarming trends in Bregman's statistics. Yes, his K% was slightly up, his BB% is slightly down, but it isn't a massive difference in either category. His Chase % was up, but again, 18.1% is elite discipline. The biggest drop was in his Hard Hit%, where he fell from 38% to 33.6%. Even so, his average exit velocity only dropped .4 MPH, so there's not really a catastrophic trend here.

His .254 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) was low, but he's never put up really high BABIP numbers. In fact, his BABIP has gotten worse every year of his career, from .317 to .311 to .289 to .281 to .254. While his BABIP will likely spike back up next year, it isn't enough to be the difference between the 2019 and 2020 versions of himself. His xBA and xSLG weren't out of whack either. His .256 xBA isn't much better than his .240 AVG, and his .400 xSLG is actually worse than his .451 SLG.

Bregman is as forthcoming with his hitting mechanics, approach, and mental cues as any big leaguer out there. Here is what he had to say about his swing this year. This was a Zoom press conference with the media following the Astros game on September 25th against the Rangers.

Bregman says he wants to hit balls in the air to the pull side and on a line to the opposite field, but in reality, he was hitting flares to the opposite field and hitting them on the ground to the pull side.

The data mostly backs up that claim. In 2019, on balls hit to the pull side, Bregman had an average exit velocity of 90.7 MPH at an average launch angle of 16°, a 40% Hard Hit %, and a 16% HR%. Since Bregman has elite bat-to-ball skills, most of those metrics didn't change. In 2020, his average exit velocity was 90.6, essentially the same as 2019. His Hard Hit % was 42%, a touch better than in 2019. However, his average launch angle dipped from 16° to 11°, which contributed to his HR% dropping all the way to 9%. Bregman hit 47% of his pull side swings on the ground. In 2019, that number was 40%. He absolutely had less production to the pull side in 2020.

The data gets a little hazier going the opposite way when comparing 2019 to 2020, as Bregman actually performed slightly better to the opposite field in 2020 than 2019, but he also only had 20 batted balls to the opposite field all season. Considering the small sample size, it isn't worth diving too deep into the data.

He's right that most of the balls he hit that way were flares. He had an average exit velocity of 83.4 MPH with an average launch angle of 32°, but that's about the same as what he did in 2019. A lot of the statistical drop off comes from balls that were backspun rockets to the pull side in 2019 becoming top spinners or roll overs in 2020.

Bregman also performed horribly against breaking balls in 2020. He batted .150 with a .250 SLG against them in 2020. He had an 84 MPH Average Exit Velocity against them and whiffed 26.5% of the time against them.

It was a far cry from 2019, when he hit .265 with a .588 SLG, 87 MPH average exit velo, and whiffed 18% of the time.

Those numbers lend credence to his statement on his mechanics. It's tough for a hitter to have adjustability against breaking balls if he's blowing out his front side and pulling off of the baseball.

Bregman will spend the offseason working on these mechanical fixes and getting back to the hitter he used to be. If he's consistently hitting the ball in the air to the pull side next year, and he's performing better against breaking balls, then he should be right back in the mix for AL MVP.

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