June 5, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward (22) bats in the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Heyward’s Swing His Problem?


 

Let me start off by saying that I’ve had little coaching experience and other than teammates and little leaguers, I’ve never given lessons.  I did play college baseball and have always been around great talented ball players.  Also, I do watch a lot of baseball especially the Atlanta Braves.

Jason Heyward has been a favorite of mine since I saw him play in the minor leagues and have cheered for him every step of the way.  After watching the start of the 2013 season and seeing Heyward’s swing, I tried to mimic Heyward’s batting approach/swing (I still play in an adult baseball league).  I began bending my knees, keeping the hands in, bat tight, shoulder up and closed stance.  But, I struggled and couldn’t stay consistent at the plate…so I was able to admit that I had a problem and made a change.

I’ve been watching Heyward’s swing now for a while (as I’m sure many have) but I believe I’ve picked up on something from his 2012 swing to his 2013 swing.

Let’s take a look at his swing…here is Heyward before the pitcher has gone in his wideup.  He’s standing with his front foot cocked out a little, hands are up and looks like a good stance.

Here is as the pitcher is getting ready to throw…same position without much movement (still has some but not a lot)

Now, as the pitcher is in his delivery, Heyward has rocked back, his hands are still away from his body and he’s still open wide a little.

When the ball is being delivered, Heyward’s got a kick up to the plate, his hands are still away from his body but drifting back to get power.  And yes, he hits a bomb on this shot…swing looks great!  Now let’s look at 2013

Here is Heyward in 2013, he’s got a closed stance now with his hands a bit lower and his back looks stiffer and straight up.

Now into the pitch, he’s started to bring his hands closer to his chest with lots of movement with his hands

Here you can see how closed he is with his front foot and his hands are real tight to his body

After the pitch his throw, he’s lunging to the pitch with his front foot almost touching the plate.  His hands look like they are far back and will drag across as he hits a ground ball out.

 

I could give more examples of this but you can just watch the games to see.  Below is a link for a few 2012 highlights so that you can reference his 2012 season.

Jason Heyward 2012

 

Let me know your thoughts on this and if I’ve picked up on something…he does have four hits in the past two days so maybe he found something as well, I guess all we can do is hope!

 

 

 

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  • Caleb

    There may have been some minor problems with his swing, but I do not believe that was the problem. Prior to going on the DL, his appendix may have had a unnoticeable affect on his hitting. Also, his BABIP is ridiculously low, well below the league average which if I remember correctly is .296, his is .196 and that is after having three consecutive multi-hit games. So he has had a fair amount of bad luck thus far. This will average out and has already started doing so, he should be hitting in the .230′s by the end of the month, if not better. That average will only continue to increase from there.

  • Paul Bordon

    I agree with just about everything you said man….he cuts himself off with the direction of his front foot step, which is almost straight towards 3b. I’ve noticed that all year. That’s one of the main reasons why pitchers are pounding him on the inner half. And his hands…the placement of them is fine. But he’s loading them back way too late. They don’t get back till the pitch is halfway to the plate, again, allowing pitchers to bust him in. Broadcasters keep saying he’s getting hot cuz he’s using the left side of the field…totally wrong. You’ll know when he’s hot by when he starts consistently pulling inside pitch with some authority

  • Bobby

    Notice how far he is away from the plate in 2013 as opposed to a few years ago. He has always dived into the plate on his swing, so I guess it was the recommendation of Walker and Fletcher to move him off the plate to keep him from getting jammed so much.

    I think his problem is in his load in that it’s actually a tad too long. He generates an immense amount of leverage but it’s also costing him precious hundreths of seconds of actual swing time, hence why he’s getting beat on 92-94 mph fastballs or just missing them fouling them off. Combine that with what looks to be a timing issue on getting the front foot down (similar to BJ) and you have the struggle that he’s having right now.

    I honestly think that if he stood a bit closer to the plate, opened up his stance a bit, crouch just a touch, it’d keep him on line a bit more.

    • Jeff Schafer

      I just don’t understand all the pre pitch movement with his hands. It seems so unnecessary and just looks like it could be a problem. He’s never had this much movement prior to the pitch