Manny Machado's 2024 batted ball profile is big reason for Padres' struggles

What's been wrong with Manny?
San Diego Padres designated hitter Manny Machado
San Diego Padres designated hitter Manny Machado / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
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The San Diego Padres are struggling to keep themselves above .500 this season. Every time Pads fans think that Mike Shildt's ball club is turning a corner, they come crashing back to earth. The Padres are somehow able to win series against both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves, but manage to sandwich a sweep at the hands of the Colorado Rockies right in the middle. What gives?

Well, if we're being honest, one of the biggest culprits has been Manny Machado. As surprisingly good as Jurickson Profar has been this season, Machado has been equally as bad. Machado is being outperformed by Eguy Roasrio, Donovan Solano, and even rookie outfielder Jackson Merrill.

While Manny's offseason surgery could undoubtedly be part of the problem, that's not the only thing holding him back this season. Taking a quick look at Machado's batted ball profile will give the Friar faithful a really good indication of why their All-Star third baseman is struggling so mightily.

Manny Machado's 2024 ground ball rate is the highest of his career.

It's easy to look at a player's slash line — batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage — in order to gauge how well or how poorly they're performing. But when you're talking about an established player like Machado, it does well to dig a little deeper into the advanced metrics.

When you look at Machado's batted ball profile, most of his numbers are relatively close to career norms for the 31-year-old. But there's one stat sticks out like a sore thumb, and that's Machado's ground ball rate. According to FanGraphs, 50% of Machado's batted balls are grounders. Yikes!

For his career, that number is almost 10 points lower at 41.7%. So what does that mean? Simply put — more ground balls means a higher frequency of infielders making routine plays, which results in a greater likelihood of outs and fewer chances for the Padres to score runs. With Machado consistently finding himself in the heart of the Padres order, it's no wonder that Manny leads the team with nine occasions in which he's grounded into a double play.

In his previous five seasons in San Diego, Machado has never had a ground ball rate higher than 41.8% and his average ground ball rate since signing with the Padres is 39.5%. Once Machado begins to get ball off the turf and into the air, his season may begin to turnaround. Until then, Padres fans are going to continue to see paltry numbers put up by six-time All-Star.

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