Albert Almora hasn't been the same since the foul ball

On August 31st, it was announced that Albert Almora would be sent down to South Bend. On May 29th of last year, Almora struck a fan in the stands with a foul ball. She was rushed out of the stadium for medical attention, and Almora was visibly affected by the event, crying on the field and being led off by his teammates. During the offseason, news broke that the girl has permanent brain damage and may suffer from seizures for the rest of her life. It's a horrible situation that MLB could have easily avoided if they weren't busy trying to please whiny adult infants who didn't want a tiny net ruining their baseball experience. But that's not what I'm here to talk about, it's the aftermath as it affects Almora's baseball ability.

Albert Almora was crying on security guard's shoulder after foul ball hits  child

Almora career wRC+ before the foul ball: 95.
Almora career wRC+ after the foul ball: 40.

Even the stats just during that season reflect these numbers.

2016: 101
2017: 104
2018: 89
2019: 88 (before foul ball)
2019: 41 (after foul ball)
2020: 35

My hypothesis going in was that Almora has changed his swing. Now I'm not personally able to look at his swing and see mechanical issues, but what I do have is batted ball stats. Pull/Center/Oppo percentages before and after:

Before: 39.3%/33.3%/27.4%
After: 26.4%/44.3%/29.3%

That's 1.9% more balls batted to the opposite field, 11.0% more to center, and 12.9% less pulled balls. Whether this is a conscious thing or not, Almora seems to have changed his swing to pull less balls foul. My guess is that it's not conscious since, well, there aren't any fans present this year. I've actually had this theory as early as last summer, so I was hoping that in a weird way, this season would be good for him, as he could work back to normal without worrying about whether a fan would be in the path of his ball. Sadly, from here this doesn't look like something he'll ever get past. Sending him down was just about all you can do at this point. Thanks a lot, net babies. You ruined Almora.

Thanks for reading.

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