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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.

Here Is A Formula That Is Helping Corey Seager Or Trevor Story Win NL Rookie Of The Year

 

Corey Seager & Trevor Story Hitting Anlysis

Corey Seager getting great knee action here, being slightly out front of the pitch. Photo by Jon SooHoo/© Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2016

I've been watching quite a bit of the Los Angeles Dodgers lately (because of my fanatic mother-in-law),

And am really impressed with Corey Seager's swing, who's 6'4″, 215-lbs (according to FanGraphs.com).

So I decided to do a comparison between a couple leading 2016 NL Rookie of the Year candidates, Seager and Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies, who's 6'1″, 175-lbs (according to FanGraphs.com).

Granted, at the time of this writing (8/23), Story has cooled down a bit, and is sitting on the Disabled List with a torn ligament in his thumb.

So, here's what we cover in the Corey Seager v. Trevor Story hitting analysis video:

  • Talking metrics,
  • Catapult Loading System swing elements,
  • Pitch-Plane Domination swing elements,
  • Reaction Time Mastery swing elements, and
  • Adjustments to off-speed or breaking stuff.

 

Talking Metrics

First let me define a couple of the metrics we'll be looking at:

  • ISO – Isolated Slug%, basically raw power, and
  • BABIP – Batting Average on Balls In Play, a loose measure of how consistently a hitter hits the ball hard.

Okay, so now let's compare their lines according to Fangraphs.com…

Corey Seager

Corey Seager Metrics

Compliments of Fangraphs.com

And…

Trevor Story

Trevor Story Metrics

Compliments of Fangraphs.com

In comparing Corey Seager to Trevor Story's metrics, you can see Seager has a bit more consistency baked into his swing, but Story has a bit more power…possibly due to the thin air in Colorado, I dunno, just sayin'. lol

And if you look at the percentages of:

  • Ground-balls (GB%, league average is 44%),
  • Line Drives (LD%, league average is 20%),
  • Fly-balls (FB%, league average is 36%), and
  • Homers to Fly-Balls (HR/FB, league average is 9.5%)…

…Between the two hitters, you can see there's no secret to what Trevor Story is trying to do with his swing…get the ball in the air!!  The thin air!

Corey Seager

corey-seager-gb-ld-fb-metrics

And…

Trevor Story

trevor-story-gb-ld-fb-metrics

 

NOTES about Video Analysis

Trevor Story & Corey Seager Hitting Analysis

Trevor Story getting a significant positive attack angle, one of the reasons he gets the ball in the air so well. Photo courtesy: Deadspin.com

The Corey Seager homers analyzed…

Game footage was from 8/8/2016 – 2 homers:

  • 91-mph FB, down-middle
  • 75-mph CB, down-middle

The Trevor Story homer analyzed…

Game footage was from 7/24/2016 – 1 homer:

  • 81-mph CU, down-inner 1/3

The rest of the video, after discussing metrics, was looking at how well Corey Seager and Trevor Story used the following HPL formula:

  • Catapult Loading System,
  • Pitch-Plane Domination, and
  • Reaction Time Mastery.

What's interesting to note on adjustments to off-speed or breaking balls…both hitters “get shorter” and “stay shorter” to buy themselves some time, while also trying to “stay underneath” the ball.

Both Corey Seager and Trevor Story are great examples of the formula we use at HPL to help hitters triple their body-weight in batted ball distance…

They don't have to hit all the ‘musical notes', but definitely a majority.

It's a great formula for winning NL Rookie of the Year 😉