Tuesday, February 10, 2009

TPC Video Break: Matt Wieters

Here's a nice look at Matt Wieters' swing from the left side of the plate. I don't have a lot to say about his swing, but it's relatively simple without much noise or wasted motion. His bat speed will pick up as he gets older, and he'll either learn to lay off pitches that jam him inside, or learn to come around quicker and hit them down the line. Overall, a nice look at the top prospect in the game.


Jeremy said...

Do you think his leg kick is slightly high, and a bit of a wasted motion? When he does it, he tends to drop his right elbow more than would be ideal. Watch the swing at around 1:56 in the video to see what I'm talking about. I'm not denying that he is a tremendous talent, but the way he seems to ride into the pitch (watch his back foot at around 2:20 and see how high he lifts it into the air) rather than wait on it and attack, almost lunging slightly at the end of his swing, seems to deny him some of his natural power. Your thought?

Adam G said...

Hey Jeremy, thanks for the comment.

Exaggerated leg kicks can be a fickle thing, helping some, and working against others. I think you are right in pointing out that Wieters' leg kick effects the rest of his swing, particularly his trailing arm. As anyone who has done various ab workouts knows, as soon as you raise your leg up against the force of gravity, your body compensates the motion by pulling your upper body down. The big question is does it detract from Wieters' swing at the plate?

A lot of hitter's seem to tone down their front leg motion as they progress through their careers, ultimately using it as simply a timing mechanism (like Chipper Jones). Other hitters retain an exaggerated motion, and use it to generate torque from their legs, up through abdomen, and into their shoulders and arms (Alex Rodriguez). But as a rule, I tend to think that if a hitter has shown an ability to perform at a certain level with a high leg kick (or any other abnormal motion), why try to fix it if it isn't broken? In Wieters' case, he posted some of the most impressive minor league stats of any catcher in history, so he's obviously not being held back by the mechanics of his swing. Could he change his leg kick and perform better? Maybe. But how much can you really expect to improve on a .365 average and .625 slugging percentage at AA?

In short, the leg kick may not absolutely be necessary, but right now it's hard to argue that it's holding Wieters back.

Jeremy said...

I agree with you fully. I'm merely suggesting that perhaps toning down the kick might allow him to bring more momentum to the dish, and possibly achieve 45+ hr power. On a side note, I will be in Florida this march to watch the Orioles and the Rays, and I'd happily take some film of Wieters and others for you. Let me know. Thanks-

Adam G said...

Thanks Jeremy, I'm going to try and find some video of Wieters from the right side to see if his leg kick is any different.

Also, any videos you get would be great, especially of some of the younger players like Price, Wietera, Beckham, etc. My own personal request would be Nick Barnese in the Rays system, if you get a chance. Whenever you want to post a clip, just let me know, or if you have it posted somewhere else on-line, just send me the link and I can post it here (same goes for anyone else who has a video they'd like to share).

Once again, thanks for posting and have a great time in Florida!

-Adam G.