Boesch’s Mechanical Changes From 2011 To 2012

Yesterday, I discussed why I felt that Brennan Boesch was a good buy-low move for the Yankees. To quickly summarize, Boesch was a quality hitter from 2009 through 2011, but it all fell apart in 2012. Batted ball rates and batting averages show that the outfielder was far off from his 2011 style. A thumb injury, bad luck, and perhaps a change in his hitting mechanics hurt him. Now with the Yankees, Boesch can overcome his bad luck, he can hit in a much more hitter friendly ballpark, and he has the opportunity to correct his mechanics with one of the best hitting coaches in the business.

Boesch stated that the thumb injury, which led to surgery, subconsciously changed his hitting mechanics and I assume his grip. Finding the mechanics that gave him an .800 OPS in 2011 could mean big things in Yankee Stadium, so there’s no doubt that the left-handed hitter will be working to reclaim his old methods. It’ll be hard to see his grip, but why not take a look and see if anything else changed.

boesch1112

Sure enough, there are two major difference I can spot. The first is the position that he keeps his bat and his hands. In 2011, Boesch keeps his hands further back and in a more upright position. Comparatively, in 2012, Boesch keeps the bat just slightly above his shoulder, and his hands closer to the hitting zone. This may take away some of the power he had in 2011, since he’s swinging the bat for a shorter period of time before making contact.

The second change is in his back foot. The goal of this step is to add power at the end of his hip rotation right at impact with ball. Watching these two at bats, you’ll see that Boesch’s step in 2011 comes off the ground and lands hard on a very stable back leg. In 2012, he keeps the front of his foot on the ground, and slightly bends his ankle when he steps down on his heel. Despite what looks like a minute difference, Boesch’s step in 2012 could be one major issue. There’s an overall decrease in the power of his 2012 step, since he’s keeping his front toe on the ground, and he’s also bending his ankle, which won’t properly transfer power. In 2012, Albert Pujols made the same mistake, and Chris O’Leary does a great job of outlining the initial problem and how he fixed it in May.

boesch111213

Above, I’ve added an at bat from Saturday’s game. Boesch still keeps his hands slightly forward and the bat close to his back shoulder, as well as keeping the front of his back foot on the ground. I suspect that Kevin Long will change this in the coming weeks.

Mike is the co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money. Outside of blogging baseball, Mike is also a musician, a runner, and a beer lover.

6 thoughts on “Boesch’s Mechanical Changes From 2011 To 2012

  1. Rick Kanner

    I am not sure about this, but it seems in 2011 and 2013 he keeps both hands on the bat longer. He may have released his hand earlier in 2012 because of his thumb. Not a hitting coach, but just looked like it to me.

    • Mike Eder

      Yea, he's now keeping both hands on the bat. Going to wait a week or so and see what else he changes before I do a write up on his current stance.

  2. Michael

    I have a feeling he could be a real nice power patience guy to settle in nicely in right field. Hes not as good defensively as Ichiro so until Granderson returns I think he should be given serious consideration to be the starting right fielder. I would much rather see him make the team over Juan Rivera. He is also under team control for 3 more years and has minor league options. Could be the Yankees version of Lucas Duda of the Mets. Hes only 27 so hes entering into his prime years too

    • Andrew

      Saying Boesch is "not as good defensively as Ichiro" is comic understatement; Boesch had a -18.2 UZR/150 in RF last year. That makes him one of the very worst defensive outfielders of all time. I don't know why people keep ignoring this while straining to come up with reasons why Boesch's one outlier season with the bat represents his true talent level.

      Next up, I guess, is "Boesch says he's in the best shape of his life!"

      • Michael

        UZR also says Tex isnt good defensively. Defense needs to be watched, numbers dont do it justice. I havent seen enough of Boesch in the field to know how bad he is. And as for that one outlier season you can very easily say that his one bad season is the outlier. The guy hasnt played enough seasons to rule him out as being useful. Now instead of Boesch who do you think currently on the team offers more upside? Ben Francisco? Please enough of the retreads.

  3. HIM

    …following through with your top hand on the bat creates more of a roll of the bat tending towards hooking the ball. The top hand release tends to cause you to slap the ball (Gardner) or under-rotation, unless you are George Brett (but that was also his famous hitting coach of that era) or just have a strong wrist.

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