Juan Perez got off to a slow start to the season. He hit .219/.322/.343 between April and May with Dayton. He did show good plate discipline, drawing 24 walks and striking out just 24 times. Things picked up in June and he hit .270/.341/.428 from June through the end of the year with Dayton.
I had a chance to see Perez in April and in August and have video from both time frames. That of course doesn’t pinpoint any change made, so I went to Milb.tv to watch games from each week until I spotted the change that I saw in my video clips. At some point between the end of May and the end of the first week of June, Perez did make a change at the plate mechanically. It coincides very well with the change in production.
Let’s first take a look at his approach from April. There are three frames here. The set up seconds before the pitch. The set up as he begins to lift his front foot. And finally the set up as his front foot gets back down to the ground.
Now let’s look at the same set up from the time in August.
Now, the biggest things we can see here is the back elbow change. In April he began with his elbow much higher earlier in his set up and kept it higher throughout the entire set up until he drops his hands to swing. With his elbow being lower, his hands are also staying a little bit lower. In April his hands are a little bit higher than his shoulder, while in August they are a little bit lower and about even with the shoulder. The changes seem to lead to less distance for his hands and arms to travel to get to the point of swinging. One thing that we don’t see in this set up, but will below in the side-by-side video is the leg kick that was virtually eliminated from his swing.
While the angles are different, you can really see the differences between the two swings. The changes coincide quite well with the improvements after May was over. The plate discipline wasn’t quite the same before and after the swing changes, but it was still solid after the swing change and the hitting numbers were vastly different.