Usually I use Monday as a “Game/Series Breakdown” day, but I look at it more as “scouting Monday” in my head and noticed some things when looking at the video I shot last week of Yorman Rodriguez and decided to do a little article on it.

Rodriguez began the season in Bakersfield where he absolutely struggled to get going. He got 90 at bats before being sent back to Arizona to work on his swing. In those 90 at bats he struck out 39 times. Unfortunately, I don’t have any video of him from that time frame to look at. But I do have a video from last July while he was in Dayton and another from last week in Dayton to look at and compare the two swings. The differences aren’t big, but there are a few of them that may be working in his favor.

Here we can see a few different things.

  • He is set up deeper in the batters box.
  • He is more spread out, making him a little lower and shrinking his strikezone just a little.
  • His hands are both lower and further back.

In this frame comparison things looks pretty similar, but one thing that I see is that his front foot seems to be in the same place (just ahead of home plate), but given that he is set up further back in the batters box, it appears that he has added a little bit of length to his stride.

What does it all mean? Well, I am far from a hitting coach and I try not to even pretend to be one, but the changes seem to me that he gets his hands in position for his swing sooner than last year and being back in the box gives him ever so slightly more time to react to the pitch than he had before. While he only has 56% of the playing time with Dayton this year as he did last year, his strikeout rate is considerably down and now finds itself into the acceptable range, where as it was quite high in 2011.

How these changes play out long term is yet to be seen, but they seemed to have accomplished one thing so far and that is to cut down on the strikeouts. If he can in turn draw some more walks moving forward that would really help his game out as he is bordering on the Juan Francisco line of strikeout-to-walk ratio, and that is not a good thing.

8 Responses

  1. The Duke

    He only turns 20 next week, we’ll see if he can mature and make adjustments.

  2. jim t

    Doug, I know you don’t like to post unsubstantiated rumors but it was hinted by some publications that Y-rod may have been experiencing some growing pains. This could have attributed to his regression. It was also hinted he may have had trouble accepting coaching.Any truth to such rumors? I hope the kid gets it together he certainly has a ton of natural talent. He is a legit 5 tool player that if he developes will be a huge booast to the system.

    • Doug Gray

      In the past, I had heard those rumors too, but they all seemed to have stopped last year when he got to instructional league from what I had heard.

  3. Greg

    If there is one area the Reds need to improve on when it comes to Player Development it has to be international players. Right now they have only 2 players on the team that they have signed and developed currently on the team if you count Chapman. Not sure how many guys they have which are legit prospects. Im probably wrong and they may be about avaerage when compared to other teams. Would lke to hear other opinions on the subject.

  4. MK

    Seeing Yorman play all his home games I will say that batting stance can change from at bat to at bat.

    The biggest thing I have seen comparing this to last was that he has a little spring to his step and hustle.

    I understand that in Bakersfield earlier in the year he pretty much shut down mentally. During fielding practice he was bouncing the ball into second base, and in his last game there a ball hit a few feet ahead of him and he didn’t move. I guess one of the roving coordinators was there, called Freddie Benivides from the dugout and he was sent back to Arizona the next day.

    Maybe it was like the old mule, the 2 x 4 between the eyes worked. Since he has come back to Dayton I haven’t noticed any of that.

  5. CoachD178

    There are some other positives that come from this stance. If you look at his hips. In the new stance he is able to keep his hips a bit more closed, which prevents him from flying way out in front of breaking stuff. It should also help him generate more power with his speed and in many cases will help speed up his swing, as now it won’t be an “all hands” swing. The broader initial stance also prevents him from changing his head level, which from the shots above seems to be significant. He still moves his head from his original position, but it’s not nearly as drastic as it previously was based on these photos. From my limited experience the more stable you can keep your head the better your ability to stay focused on the baseball.

  6. Slim

    I watched y-rod in Bakersfield for all his games. He did shut down. Two simple fly balls one after the other, easy to get… DROPPED. He even call off other players. The fans were extremely frustrated with him. Many of us thought he was REALLY in a depressed state. Juan Duran, the other international player is not performing for the money. Fans are extremely frustrated with him too. Maybe the club feels that these two can manage a break out, who know!

    • Ryan the Red

      I was really hoping for better results from Y-Rod and Duran but i still look at both as prospects. Both are still very young.