Top MLB Players With the Highest Social Interactions Among Fans
The first full month of the Major League Baseball season provided a shakeup of our top ten. We have a new number one as Joc Pederson jumps to first while making his third consecutive top ten. There are seven new names making the list, the only holdovers from March being Pederson, Marcus Stroman, and Masahiro Tanaka.
Note: All data from Hookit Engagement rankings on May 6th, 2019. Data is updated consistently to reflect live rankings on the Hookit Rankings website.
Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox Shortstop, Jumps to Second
Tim Anderson has had a strong start to the 2019 season, finishing April with a .375 batting average along with 6 home runs and 10 stolen bases en route to winning American League Player of the Month. However, what pushed Anderson into the national spotlight was the April 17th matchup between the White Sox and Kansas City Royals. In the fourth inning, he hit a home run which was punctuated by a celebratory bat toss. The Royals took exception to the celebration and hit Anderson with a pitch in his next plate appearance. The plunking led to an on-field altercation between the two teams, ultimately leading to Anderson’s ejection from the game and a one-game suspension.
The public reaction to the incident was wide-ranging, but many baseball fans came to Anderson’s defense. One of the avenues they showed their support was through social media. On April 17th, Anderson had 42.5k followers on Instagram. Three days later he was crossing the 53k threshold and he ended April with over 62k followers. Prior to the 17th, Anderson never had an Instagram post with more than 8k interactions. Every post since has had at least 9k interactions, peaking with nearly 30k on his April 17th video of the bat toss.
Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians Starting Pitcher, Lands at Fifth
Trevor Bauer is a co-founder of Momentum, a player oriented media venture to give athletes more direct control over media content. Through Momentum, Bauer hosts a video series titled Bauer Bytes where he interviews fellow MLB players. In April, he released the first two episodes in that series which feature Colorado Rockies Third Baseman Nolan Arenado and Kansas City Royals Second Baseman Whit Merrifield.
At the beginning of April, Bauer announced he’s bringing back his 69 Days of Giving charity donation campaign, but with a twist. Rather than donating a fixed amount as he did in 2018, this year he’s tying his donation amount to his on-field performance. He has pledged to donate $10 to 69 different charities for each strikeout he has this season. Bauer is using Twitter to poll his followers for which charities to add to his campaign and announce his donations.
Jordan Hicks, St. Louis Cardinals Relief Pitcher, Rounds Out the Top Ten
Jordan Hicks is unquestionably the hardest throwing pitcher in Major League Baseball this season. His average fastball velocity is 100.7 MPH, more than 2 MPH faster than second place Tayron Guerrero. His skill on the field is beginning to carry over to his social media presence as he finds himself 10th in April MLB interactions. This month, Hicks gained 10.8k new followers across his social media channels, pushing him over 80k total followers. Hicks’ most popular post, captioned “Who’s Next?”, came on Instagram April 24th after the Cardinals won their fifth game in a row to sweep the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Wrap Up
April brought many changes and a couple of surprises to our top 10. Look for that to continue into May as the MLB season progresses. Breakout players, like Tim Anderson and Jordan Hicks this month, can quickly see a big impact on social media as fans follow their new favorite players.
Note: All data is from official Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram Business accounts. Any personal Instagram account data is not included in these rankings.
Written by David Shevlin
David currently works as a Technical Product Expert with Hookit. He previously worked in the baseball industry, spending a year with Baseball Info Solutions and two years with the Chicago White Sox. He spends his free time playing and coaching volleyball, playing board games, discovering new music, and watching baseball, basketball, and golf.
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