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.