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I’ve Lied To You For 5-Years Now About The Best Hitters Baseball Bat Path…

Breaking down Khris Davis

Khris Davis is 5'10" with a ton of power. How does he generate it?Sean Casey shows how his back elbow and bat path help him get it done.

Posted by Diamond Demos on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

 

…And I’m sorry.  But I will say this, most are being misled on the best hitters baseball bat path.  The principle you’ll discover shortly also apply to fast-pitch and slow-pitch softball.

In this best hitters baseball barrel path post, we’ll look at:

  • How the best hitters are using the Catapult Loading System,
  • WHY current one-size-fits-all SUPER deep barrel path approaches are losing, and
  • Hitting different “catcher’s glove” examples of inner, middle, and outer third of the plate pitches…

 

How the Best Hitters are Using the Catapult Loading System

…according to Diamond Demo video above: “Breaking down Khris Davis”.

We published last week’s Khris Davis swing analysis post because of the Diamond Demo “Breaking down Khris Davis” video.  The overwhelming response I received from readers sharing this video with me truly validates the Catapult Loading System seen in the best hitters.  Don’t think so?  Take a look at the following split screen snapshots from the above video (recognize ANY of the hitters??)

Best Hitters Baseball Swings: JD Martinez, Aaron Judge, & Jose Altuve

Observe stride landing positions of JD Martinez, Aaron Judge, & Jose Altuve – ‘showing numbers’, ‘downhill shoulders’, & ‘hiding hands’. Photo courtesy: Diamond Demo video “Breaking down Khris Davis”

And,

Check out stride landing positions of Mookie Betts, Nolan Arenado, & Mike Trout – ‘showing numbers’, ‘downhill shoulders’, & ‘hiding hands’. Photo courtesy: Diamond Demo video “Breaking down Khris Davis”

We won’t spend a lot of time rehashing last week’s post, BUT I do want to bring up an important point that was talked about in the above Diamond Demo segment.  And it has to do with best hitters baseball barrel path…

Starting at about the 2-min, 15-second video mark, and continuing to the end, they talk about this idea of Khris Davis getting his barrel in the zone early, and keeping barrel in the zone late.  And this is where I’ve lied to you for the last 5-years!  I used to teach my hitters this same one-size-fits-all SUPER deep barrel path.  But what I found was this IS NOT true of the best hitters baseball bat paths…

 

WHY Current One-Size-Fits-All SUPER Deep Barrel Path Approaches are Losing

Let me tell you a story of how I stumbled onto this principle…

In January of 2018, I was working with one of my hitters, who has been working with me since he was 7 years old.  He’s 15 years old now, in the 8th grade, and consistently hits with a low to mid 80’s Ball Exit Speed off the Backspin Tee, using a wood bat.

His mechanics are pretty clean compared to my other hitters.  At the time, I was teaching my hitters the same one-size-fits-all SUPER deep barrel acceleration path, as many of you are now.  One day, we were working on hunting pitch zones, inner third pitches specifically, and he responded,

“Coach, I don’t feel like I can get to that inside pitch effectively.  Am I showing my numbers too much?”

This got me thinking, so I jumped on Twitter to look at the best hitters baseball bat paths.  Specifically, I was looking for hitters, like the ones on the split screen images above, crushing 94-mph+ on the inner third of the plate, and guess what I saw??

The ones who demonstrated the Catapult Loading System principles well (namely ‘showing numbers’), still did so at stride landing on inside heat! Did you catch that?!  ‘Showing numbers’ was irrelevant to crushing the inside pitch.  CLICK HERE for a post I did debunking that.  So what were they doing different on the inner third?

It had to do with what we call hitting a different “catcher’s glove”.  I won’t go into the details of that here because I already did at the following post titled: “Accelerate Barrel Rearward Like Mike Trout”.  The best hitters baseball barrel path isn’t about a one-size-fits-all approach to all pitches and timing.

Here’s the DANGER for hitters using a one-size-fits-all SUPER deep barrel acceleration approach…

Signs that pitcher’s are smartening up to countering this seemingly effective low in the zone barrel approach?  Pitchers are now using this, which Perry Husband calls Effective Velocity (EV), to exploit hitters with longer barrel paths.

In short, 2018 homers are down, in addition to having a few months in the season where overall offensive strikeouts outweigh hits in the Big Leagues.  This is troubling.  To give a clue, check out Perry’s video explaining why Chris Davis (Orioles) is having issues with this one-size-fits-all barrel path…

 

If hitting coaches don’t smarten up to this soon, then they’ll be rendered obsolete, irrelevant to the hitting community, and ultimately out of a job.  That’s not an exaggeration, and is where the puck is going, believe me.  Now, let’s look at the behavior of different “catcher’s glove” approaches on inner, middle, and outer third of the plate pitches…

Hitting Different “Catcher’s Glove” Examples of Inner, Middle, & Outer Third of the Plate Pitches

Inner 1/3 Pitch Barrel Path (“Belly Button” Catcher’s Glove)

Mike Trout Homer #38 – 88.1-mph Front View

Chest View

Mitch Haniger Homer #26 – 95.9-mph FF Front View

Chest View

Trevor Story Homer #34 – 93-mph in Front View

Chest View

Middle 1/3 Pitch Barrel Path (“Back Foot” Catcher’s Glove)

Matt Carpenter Homers #36 – 84.9-mph Change-up Front View

Chest View

Javier Baez Homer #33 – 87.4-mph SL Front View

Chest View

Khris Davis Homer #42 – 93.9-mph FF Front View

Chest View

Outer 1/3 Pitch Barrel Path (“Real” Catcher’s Glove)

Mookie Betts Homer #31 Front View

Chest View

Christian Yelich Homer #32 – 88.7-mph Slider Front View

Chest View

Michael Conforto Homer #27 – 94.4-mph FF Front View

Chest View

Now, how do we train this?  I’m going to give you two complimentary drills we use to sync the optimal “catcher’s glove” with the proper direction of force (See – aren’t you glad you read my post to the bitter end!?):

  1. “Shorten Swing” Like An Elite Hitter (Not What You Think), and
  2. How To Optimize Directional Force Using The “Pounding Nail” Drill.
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Joey Myers

I’m a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), the International Youth and Conditioning Association (IYCA), and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).I’m also a HUGE supporter of the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA).

I’ve spent 11+ years in the corrective fitness industry, and have too many alphabet-soup certifications to bore you with.I also played four years of Division One baseball at Fresno State from 2000-2003.

It’s NOT how you study, but what you study that counts.I apply human movement principles (or rules), validated by science, to hitting a baseball and softball.
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11 replies
  1. Jack Squat
    Jack Squat says:

    I’d like to see the Diamond Demo guys use the chairs and tape props to explain how to hit a pitch on the outside corner at the knees. Keep that bat flat along those tape lines and see how that works out. How do you get the bat “long through the zone” on a low pitch? Swing on your knees? Look at the Trout and Davis clips from chest view. They do not flatten out their bat path – it is (virtually) a circle. Tilt the circle, hit the pitch on the outside corner at the knees. When keeping the hands in tight to your body, like Joey teaches us, the ballerina or ice skater goes faster. The tighter the hands are in to the torso, the better the swing, as opposed to “push disconnection”, or hands/knob to the ball. You would have to somehow push your hands during the swing to get a flat bat bath like these guys are saying. Just my opinion; I could be wrong. They are right about the catapult loading system, though. Great post, Joey! Thanks.

    Reply
  2. James Rivera
    James Rivera says:

    Great information. The clips show it all. Thank you for your hard work. It’s hard to get coach to change. My sons JV coach told a player to hit ground balls in cage.

    Reply
    • Joey Myers
      Joey Myers says:

      Thank you James. I know that’s frustrating. The only time telling a hitter to hit ground-balls, is if they’re hitting non-productive fly-balls. Keep your chin up my friend.

      Reply
  3. Joe
    Joe says:

    Joey,

    It seems all very simple, or maybe it doesn’t. A hitter has to have a different swing for different pitch heights. Who would swing at a high pitch like it is a low one? Why would someone teach a hitter to swing the same way at all pitches? Isn’t it obvious? Maybe it isn’t to the Orioles Chris Davis.

    Great analysis by Perry Husband but it’s not all percentages. Chris Davis’ hitch and early arm bar are not conducive to matching his swing to all pitch planes, particularly high fastballs.

    You are not advocating a different hand path to match varying pitch planes, are you? (That clip of Andrew McCutcheon I sent you in which his hands go downward, diagonally across the front of his rear shoulder) Just the barrel path, correct?

    Reply
    • Joey Myers
      Joey Myers says:

      Joe,

      This post isn’t about adjusting to pitch height. In that regard, the barrel angle should match shoulder angle. Pitch is low, then shoulder angle and barrel are steep. If pitch is high, then shoulder and barrel angle will be more flat.

      This post addresses differing pitch depths – inner, middle, and outer third of the plate. Inner 1/3 = hitting “belly button” catcher’s glove. Middle 1/3 = hitting “back foot” catcher’s glove. Outer 1/3 = hitting “real” catcher’s glove.

      Rearward barrel acceleration depends on pitch depth, and MUST not be taught as a one-size-fits-all barrel path. Interestingly enough, in regards to which “catcher’s glove” to hit, the approach on higher pitches seems to be the same as inner 1/3. And the approach on lower pitches seems to be the same as outer 1/3.

      Please check out that Mike Trout post I linked to in this post for more on this…

      Reply
  4. Djura
    Djura says:

    Catchers glove is looking at it externally…its NOT what a batter should think about especially as a reference….I’ve actually mentioned what the batter’s approach should be before…Once size fits all…Of course we have the same approach for all pitches…and we let our body and spinal engine figure out the rest…for example, the angles, the bat speed, the power…..but we do have one approach if we guessed and anticipated correctly…Said another way, where the knob points is a product of our approach…we don’t point our knob….Our knob GETS POINTED. I guess if you never had your knob pointing that direction that my being mindful of that that one can have the right connections reveled to them..so I don’t want to say its a no teach especially if its been working for instruction.. Hope all is well…

    ~DM

    Reply