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Thread: Article: Looking at Byron Buxton's Swing

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    Owner All-Star Parker Hageman's Avatar
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    Article: Looking at Byron Buxton's Swing


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    Willihammer (01-31-2014)

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    Good stuff Parker.

    Yeah, when I heard Law say that about his foot, I was like "whaaaaa?" as I saw Buxton highlights from Ft. Myers and 2 games in the AFL, and he still seemed to pull the back leg off the ground before contact.

    Harper's swing shows a great 'coil' and weight transfer, as you eluded to, he's not loosing power. Watch his BP and you'll see 430-480 ft shots with regularity. But his weight is fully uncoiling.

    The shoulder facing the pitcher tucks towards the back hip, and then the straightening of that leg and uncoiling (opening up) that shoulder away from that back hip, and the hands following through uncoils the power and lift.

    I don't quite see that for Buxton yet, what he has is tremendously quick hands/wrists. If (when?) he gets his base...and, in my humble and unprofessional opinion, that front leg straightens to allow the weight transfer to go through the ball - he'l add a lot more power.

    The only problem with Harper's swing (weight transfer is fine)...is I see it more limiting in that it commits his power to a 'shorter range' of pitch timing. Once he's committed, the stars have to align so to speak...and when they do, he hits it a ton. If he can keep a longer (better?) balance...would seem he would increase the likelihood of his power impacting more balls through the zone as the power trigger of his swing can 'wait' longer.

    The 'great hitters' seem to have the barrel of their bat in the swing zone for longer than others...and are able to still keep some 'weight transfer' back for almost any ball they hit even if they're 'late' on the ball...and it just flies over the opposite field wall.

    I think this was more of an emphasis in hitters pre 1990's. Better contact ratios...perhaps more line drives (don't have the stats to prove that). But the difference is in the Vlad Guerrero and Henry Aaron types to the more prominent fly ball (lift/pull) hitters we see today.

    Another curiosity, and there's likely a great many factors affecting this (pitch velocity, fence distance on the LF/RF porches on classic stadiums, etc), but on home runs...is there a trend towards more pull home runs vs opposite field home runs?

    Here's Hank Aaron bringing his foot up just after contact.
    http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/Hank%20Aaron%20Batting%20Practice.jpg

    You can also see Ted Williams lifting his back foot a little as well (swing starts at 1:05), but, much like Harper, you can also see that leg straight and torque through the contact of the ball. But he's able to stay back much longer than Harper

    So...again...not a professional batting instructor...I'd say that front leg is maybe a little bit more indicative of the power transferred or lost on a swing than the back leg.

    Frank Thomas is a lot like Bryce Harper, but his weight isn't shifting forward as quick, and then he straightens out that leg/quad and the torque/whips through the hips.

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    Willihammer (01-31-2014)

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    Nice article

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    Owner All-Star Parker Hageman's Avatar
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    The only problem with Harper's swing (weight transfer is fine)...is I see it more limiting in that it commits his power to a 'shorter range' of pitch timing. Once he's committed, the stars have to align so to speak
    Great thoughts overall.

    One thing I will point out is that Harper has a different approach in certain counts. Hitting instructor Bobby Tewksbary did an excellent breakdown on Harper and showed that during a two-strike approach, Harper switches to a toe-tap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Parker Hageman View Post
    Great thoughts overall.

    One thing I will point out is that Harper has a different approach in certain counts. Hitting instructor Bobby Tewksbary did an excellent breakdown on Harper and showed that during a two-strike approach, Harper switches to a toe-tap.
    I didn't know that! Good stuff. Guess I need to watch more Nationals games vs. Harper's ESPN highlights

  8. #6
    The swing from the AFL appears to be a hit and run, which might explain a more conservative swing. Do other swings from that short stint to confirm this new approach?

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    Owner All-Star Parker Hageman's Avatar
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    The swing from the AFL appears to be a hit and run, which might explain a more conservative swing.
    No, I do not thing the swing was change just because of the potential for a hit-and-run. If anything, the pitch selection may have been influenced but it does not appear to be a bad pitch to swing at (from this angle any way). You can review his other swings from that game here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=va5A2ECNBTU

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    Senior Member All-Star 70charger's Avatar
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    The only problem with your articles is that I have nothing to add to the discussion.

    Great reads, though.

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    I am curious about how much torque is on the front knee--or does the foot "slip" in the dirt on the follow-through?

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jimbo92107's Avatar
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    Harper's swing is far more powerful than Buxton's. His hip turn brings the inside of his back knee much closer to the inside of his front knee. If you look at powerful hitters, from Ruth to Williams, the power transfer flows from the back foot, then in sequence up the body, like a twisted spring uncoiling around the axis of the front leg, whose foot must be closed to make the bat head flip through the zone. The most powerful swings appear to start with the bat head pointing almost at the pitcher.

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    Senior Member Triple-A h2oface's Avatar
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    Very interesting! Thanks for the great work and gifs.

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    snepp (02-03-2014)

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    Thanks, really nice work.

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