Originally posted August 30, 2013
Watching ESPN I keep hearing how Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers was benched by the Manager. Puig is a very emotional player. You could tell after striking out on a bad pitch and slamming his bat on the ground he was very frustrated. In the outfield he was still irritated when he caught the two fly balls and then flipped the last one into the stands. I have noticed in the last month Puig seems to have changed the way he steps which will affect how he swings the bat and his production.
When I first watched him hit in June he used his body as good as any hitter in baseball today. At 6 foot 3 inches and 245 pounds it would be crazy for him not to use his body. He was taking a five to six inch stride then going forward to his front leg allowing him to generate tremendous force with his body. This allowed his timing to be consistent, he looked so effortless and hit the ball so hard because he used his 245 pound body, this made him an elite hitter. He is very impressive when he swings this way.
The last few weeks I noticed he goes up on his front toe more and then takes a smaller step. Instead of then going forward he is now rotating more. Puig is not using near the body weight that he was using before. He is becoming more frustrated because he is not hitting the ball as hard as before. He is rotating faster to get his power back but this is not helping and will not help. This will only make his timing more inconsistent. He doesn't look as effortless because he is also using his arms trying to create more power. This causes his swing to be more jerky resulting in him hitting less line drives and more pulled grounders and weaker fly balls. Below are his stats before and after the all star game.
Line Fly Home run
G Avg HR RBI Drive% Ball% per fly ball %
Before all star game 38 .391 8 19 23.9% 24.8 % 28.6%
After all star game 38 .297 5 11 14.7% 36.3% 13.5%
You can see since the all star game Puig's production has come down. His line drives are down almost 40%. He is hitting more fly balls but they are being hit weaker, less than half of the time they are a home run as before.
Just taking a shorter step is causing Puig to now use less of his body. He is swinging so much faster with his arms. His swing has gone from effortless power to powerless effort. This has made a significant impact in his hitting. It doesn't matter how good of a batter he is, if he starts stepping shorter and swinging faster his production will keep going down. This is true for everyone. Any batter in baseball or fastpitch softball that swings more with their arms will not hit at their best.
I see this everyday with my students. When batters come in they have been told things that make them swing mainly with their arms like don't take a step, squish the bug, twist their hips, fast hands, swing down, stay back, etc. They look more jerky in their swing, their timing is inconsistent, they hit fewer line drives with much less power than they should and they get frustrated. The harder they swing the worse it gets.
When my students learn how to use their body correctly they see an immediate difference. Many parents say it is a night and day difference. They can't believe how much harder the ball comes off the bat and how it sounds completely different.
All Puig needs to do is take his original longer step so he has more room to go forward allowing him to use his 245 pound body much better like he did before. This will provide an immediate positive impact making his timing better. This will help him to hit the ball much harder with many more line drives. He will again look effortless and be very productive.
Anyone that would like to learn how to use his or her body to become a much better hitter call Mike Sedberry at 304-722-6393 for more information.