Inside Matt Holliday's hot start

Matt Holliday

HollidayWith a 2-for-4 day at the plate Thursday, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday continued his torrid start to the season, upping his batting average to an MLB-leading .417.

It’s almost hard to believe that this is the same Holliday who underwent an appendectomy at the beginning of the season, which forced him to miss seven games.

But he’s been locked in ever since his return on April 10. His current average is 25 points higher than the next closest player -- teammate Lance Berkman.

And while his hot start may be absent power (just four home runs in 25 games), it’s been ground balls that have helped him bat at such a high clip.

So far this season, Holliday is hitting 44.7 percent of batted balls on the ground –- not far off his career percentage of 45 percent.

But it’s his average in those instances that have been the difference. Holliday is batting a whopping .441 on ground balls, compared to a .279 BA on ground balls last season.

Another area where Holliday has improved, from this season to last, has been against left-handed pitchers.

Matt Holliday vs LHP
First 25 Games, Last 2 Seasons

Entering 2011, Holliday had a career .307 BA with a .509 slugging percentage against left-handed pitchers. To begin this season he is batting .429 and slugging .857 against lefties.

Overall, he’s continued to be a model of consistency. The lowest Holliday’s average has dipped this season was .333 on April 13.

But 12 multi-hit games in the 20 games since helped him keep his batting average above .400 through April into early May.

While it’s difficult to imagine Holliday continuing at such a rate, his career averages from May through July might suggest he’s just getting started.

His averages progress upward from May (.315 BA) to July, with a .327 BA in June and a .331 BA in July (his best of any month).