Swisher’s new stance leads to Game Three breakout

Yanks outslug Phillies for 8-5 Game 3 win
Open Thread: Football!

After a dreadful three-plus weeks, Nick Swisher finally showed signs of life offensively last night, when he doubled down the line to start a rally in the fifth and tacked on another run with a solo job an inning later. Astute observers noticed that Swish had changed up his stance since we last saw him, and here’s the visual evidence to prove it:

Swish's stances
The clip on the left is from the homer at-bat in the 6th last night, the clip on the right is from his 8th inning at-bat against Scott Kazmir in Game 6 of the ALCS. You can’t see it from the still photos, but there’s less movement in his hands. You can see that he’s closed up however, which in theory gives him a better chance on pitches away.

Kenny Rosenthal notes that hitting coach Kevin Long said this is just the first step of a “major overhaul” that will continue into the offseason.

The idea, Long said, is “to eliminate movement, put yourself in better position to react to the baseball.

“Everyone knows he is a great fastball hitter,” Long continued. “They’ve been trying to off-speed him to death. When you have a lot of motion — he has a toe tap and also a long stride — pitches are tough to see, tough to react to.”

Of course, the pitch Swish hit last night for the double was a curveball down and on the inner half, but the homer came on a fastball away. Did his new closed stance allow him to reach out and tag that pitch? Maybe. Either way, let’s hope Swish keeps hitting for the next five days.

Yanks outslug Phillies for 8-5 Game 3 win
Open Thread: Football!
  • pete

    “next five days”…uhh why do we care if swisher keeps hitting 3 days into the offseason?

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

      Hahahahaha! Stole my line, you bastard!

  • CB

    Eliminating movement is exactly what Long did with Alex mid-season this year and it was afterward that Alex really took off. Long worked with him to minimize that timing mechanism front toe lift/tap and to widen his base.

    It’s remarkable to see how much less movement Alex has in his base now and that helps him keep his swing from getting long. For the past 3 months its been something to see how short Alex has stayed and how he’s put one good swing on the ball after another.

    Of course you have to give tons of credit to Alex for being open to Long’s suggestions and to be willing to put the work in to change his mechanics.

    In that same vein it is very good to hear that Long wants to do something similar with Swisher and that Nick is going to be hopefully be open to listening and chaning.

    Swisher has a great eye at the plate and when he squared up the ball – like he did last night – it goes a long way. But he’s also prone to long dry spells and that’s because he doesn’t square the ball up consistently enough. His swing gets very, very long.

    If Swisher is able to improve his bat skills and square the ball up more frequently his game would take a major step forward. Combined with his plate discipline he would be a very dangerous player.

    Kevin Long is just a terrific coach. He knows hitting and just as important his able to build relationships with the players where they trust him and are willing to listen.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Also Cano late last season.

      • CB

        Very good point. He’s helped Cano a ton.

        It’s hard to get over how many fans last year wanted Long fired because the offense was getting old and riddled with injury.

        It’s one thing to get bad to mediocre players to buy in to what your saying as a hitting coach. Very different thing to get good to great players to keep their minds open.

        • steve (different one)

          that’s b/c most fans are stupid

      • BklynJT

        He needs to get back on that horse and possibly fix Cano for the remaining games. If Cano gets back on fire, it would be extremely tough for the Phillies.

    • Bonos

      Excellent post

      Swisher is a second generation Major Leaguer. So he had access to good instruction. I can’t get over how many moving parts he has as he’s setting up for the pitch. All this bobbing and weaving makes my eyes hurt. And that max effort swing. Oy.

  • http://fmylife.com JobaJr

    “Baseball is 90% mental.”

  • http://www.fackyouk.blogspot.com Jay

    On thing that’s worth noting is that the camera angle at Citizens Bank Park is slightly more off-center (towards LF) than the one at Yankee Stadium, hence that side-by-side shot is probably a bit exaggerated. I’m sure Swish has altered his stance, but I’m guessing it’s not by 30-40 degrees of alignment as it appears above.

    Sorry for the nitpick, this was a really excellent post, just wanted to point that out.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      Look again.

    • Smelly pack

      Sorry, his stance is clearly very different in those pictures regardless of the camera angles.

      • http://www.fackyouk.blogspot.com Jay

        I know, that’s why I said “I’m sure Swish has altered his stance…”

        I’m just saying it’s probably not as drastic as it looks in the pictures because of the different camera angles. What would it say about Kevin Long if he let Swish go through a horrible slump all throughout the postseason and then finally said, “Oh by the way, you might want to close your stance 40 degrees…” three games into the World Series?

        Camera angles can skew the perspective pretty drastically as was discussed here not too long ago.


        • ShuutoHeat

          Camera angles can indeed change the way things look, but take a look at Swish’s new stance. His feet are parallel to each other and his new stance is more balanced as opposed to his old stance where he is open with his left feet pulled out from behind. Plus the picture doesn’t show one of his many changes and it’s the amount of movement that he has dropped from his old stance.

          From whatever baseball experience (few years of playing) I draw from, that’s pretty drastic going from a closed/open/balanced stance and switching to one of the others.

        • steve (different one)

          What would it say about Kevin Long if he let Swish go through a horrible slump all throughout the postseason and then finally said, “Oh by the way, you might want to close your stance 40 degrees…” three games into the World Series?

          probably not much. remember, it’s still only been 12 games. at what point do you pull the trigger on the new stance? 5 games? 7 games?

  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

    Don’t give me dis gahbage. Everybody knows that Swisher’s not an everyday playah. He can’t hit dah good pitchahs in dah post season.


    • Free Mike Vick

      whoa now…lets not go overboard here. Those 2 ABs last night doesn’t change the fact that swisher has had his woes with good pitching.

      • BklynJT

        Yeah, but so does everyone else. At least Swisha is showing signs of being able to hit decent pitching, with supporting evidence from his new batting stance. This way we have reason to believe it can be sustained for the next couple of games.

        Whats great is that he predicted he would break out this game. And that wasnt one of those cocky predictions the Phillies like to make. I swear, i have lost a lot of respect for the Philly players.

        • Tom Zig

          you had respect for them?

  • dkidd

    that “major overhaul” quote makes me excited for swisher in 2010. someone with his eye at the plate, taking full advantage of the pitches he chooses to swing at, could be deadly. just think: if it were 1985, kevin long would’ve been fired in may

  • D M

    Swisher was due

  • Voice of Reason

    Is it just me, or does anyone else genuinely want Swisher to do good simply because he’s a good guy, not just because we’re trying to win a title? Swisher has such a huge heart, I really hope these changes can really make a difference.

    PS: Kevin Long is a really good hitting coach?

    • DreDog

      My wife who is not into baseball at all was ecstatic that Swisher had a big game last night. She loves the guy because he is real and seems like a good guy. You are not the only one that wants him to succeed just because he is a good guy.

    • steve (different one)

      Kevin Long is a really good hitting coach?

      sure, why not?

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  • larryf

    We’ll see what Swisher does from the left side tonight against a righty. I am not willing to give Long big-time credit yet. Even a guess hitter is due every 35-40 at bats. I hope I am wrong…

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