David Vidal had a strong 2011 season with the Dayton Dragons and carried that success over to Bakersfield in 2012 before having some struggles after a quick promotion to Double-A Pensacola. Over the last two seasons there have been some swing mechanic changes made. The two videos that I looked at here were from April of 2011 with Dayton and from August of 2012 with Pensacola.
Here in the first frame, pre-swing we can see a few different things going on.
Two things jump out immediately here. First is the position of the elbow. On the left, in 2011, Vidal had a bit of a flap that he did with his elbow. That in turn caused his hands to also be set up a little bit lower in his pre-swing set up (this was eliminated at some point during the 2011 season while with Dayton). As he began his swing, his elbow got into a matching position to the 2012 position, though his hands were slightly lower than they were in 2012.
In this comparison we see the big changes made in what Vidal did with his front foot. In 2011, he employed a big leg kick and then transferred his weight forward. In the 2012 season he had gotten rid of the large leg kick and replaced it with a slight step backward, plant, then step forward as he transferred his weight forward system. Once his foot landed in each set up, things remained the same. His feet are the same distance apart, same rotation, hand position and swing plane.
The numbers between Dayton and Bakersfield were similar and they declined in Pensacola, so we can’t exactly attribute any numerical benefits to his changes. As I have said before in this series, I am not a hitting coach but I do know what I like. Vidal is more quiet in his set up than he used to be, and his step back then step forward weight transfer looks more traditional than his high leg kick he was using in 2011. I like seeing those things.
2011 with the Dayton Dragons
2012 with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos