What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
I've been wondering about Nellie's swing, and whether the problem is with the movement of his head and his body.
When you have an open stance like Nellie does the head action has to be very different than when you have a normal stance. My understanding is that the open stance lets him see the ball better and was crucial for his jump from AAAA ball to the show. Think about it. When you swing with a normal stance if you are a RHB your chin should end up touching your right shoulder, and this mechanical mechanism allows you to make sure you watch the ball all the way to the bat. With an open stance your head is almost facing straight out toward the mound and it feels less natural to end with your chin on your right shoulder. It seems like Nellie isn't ending that way, and I think that might be because in order to end that way he actually has to move his head more while he is swinging than the normal batter. He has to move his head more back toward his right shoulder because he starts out facing the pitcher significantly more than the average batter. The timing between head movement and the swing comes very naturally to the batter with the normal stance because the arms swing around while the head stays basically still with a slight turn of the neck towards the plate in order to follow the ball all the way to the bat. To the batter with the very open stance head movement might become a problem because in order to watch the ball all the way to the bat and end with your chin on your right shoulder you have to move your head quite a bit more than the average batter. Furthermore, the more directly the batter is facing the pitcher the more they have to turn their neck to watch the ball to the bat, and the more their neck movement goes against the movement of their swing. For the batter with a normal stance the neck moves back against the swing so INsignificantly that it feels totally natural because the right shoulder is coming around to meet it. This timing comes very naturally to the trained hitter who doesn't take his eye off the ball or swing his head away from the plate in an undisciplined way. For the batter with an open stance my suggestion is that perhaps the timing of the swing of the shoulders with the movement of the head back toward the plate does not come as naturally simply because the head is turned far enough toward the pitcher (just enough more than the batter with the normal stance) that the movement of the head back toward the plate to follow the pitch causes confusion because this movement goes against the movement of the shoulders toward the pitch/er. So it is not that Nellie is pulling off the ball but rather that he is not moving his head quickly enough back toward his right shoulder to compensate for the greater distance his stance creates between his head and the swing of his shoulders. In other words, it is not that he is pulling his head off the ball, but rather that he is not moving his head back toward his right shoulder fast enough to coordinate his eyes with his hand, arm, and shoulder movement. And perhaps he doesn't realize this because he used to hit with a normal stance and is not fully aware of the difficulties introduced with the new stance. The result is that he sees the ball well and puts a good swing on it as well, but because he is not moving his head back toward his right shoulder fast enough there is a fragment of a second where the hand eye coordination lapses and he whiffs, grounds out, or flies out on a pitch we have seen him hit with authority time and time again last year.
So normally, when we say a batter is pulling off the ball it is because his head is turning with his swing as opposed to moving back toward the shoulder. But with Nellie that is not it. Nellie is not pulling his head off the ball. His head is stationary watching the ball all the way in. But that is not enough because in order to compensate for his head being turned toward the pitcher he needs to move his head back toward the plate very intentionally and with greater speed. This does not feel natural because in a normal stance all you have to do is concentrate on not pulling your head of the ball, if you follow the ball all the way to the plate your chin easily lands on your right shoulder and it feels totally natural because your neck has to turn very little in order to allow your eye to follow the ball. Not so with Nellie's stance: in order to coordinate hand arm and shoulder movement with eye movement Nellie needs to focus on moving his head back toward his right shoulder with greater intentionality and speed. This way his swing will be directed to where his eye says the ball is instead of having a fragmentary time difference between his eye and his swing. In short, he is not pulling off the ball with his head or his swing, but the mechanical oddity created by his head movement or lack thereof is causing a disconnect between his eye and his hand, arm, and shoulder movement.
Nellie looked a little frustrated out there today and I think it is because he knows something is wrong with his swing but can't figure it out. Hopefully this helps. I think the open stance allows Nellie to see the ball better out of the pitcher's hand but after seeing the ball there he needs to get his head back in position so that his eye can follow the ball to the point of contact, and this way his swing will be commanded by his eye rather than the eye and the swing being slightly off. The swing needs to follow the eye and totally dominated by the eye. The swing can't be alone or by itself, it has to be totally 100 percent directed by the eye. In other words, the eye must recognize the ball and command the swing ever ever so slightly before and then during the swing, and because Nellie's head is turning fast enough toward the pitch this is not happening as it should, as we have seen it happen last year.
Hopefully this makes sense. I realize I repeated myself but it wasn't an easy point to make and I wanted to make sure I got it across.
What do y'all think?
What do I think? I think I scrolled thru a very long post and knew it was you before I saw 'Joe'.
My thoughts exactly Adam
Ditto Adam, Skeletor and Scooby Dude...
What I think is that Nelson's open stance as it relates eye/swing coordination was the same last year when he put up 5.2 WAR over only 108 games with this line:
Nelson Cruz 2010: .318/.374/.576
I also think that your assertions have not hampered his ability to hit 21 HR’s in 78 games so far this year.
I guess I fail to see how someone with hand/eye coordination issues hits a dingy once every 4 games at the ML level...
i agree with caleb, nellie will figure it out. although, it was bad to strike out against that kid lastnight after he hadn't got a swinging strike all game.
Chatwood kinda reminded me of Rich Harden circa 2010 lastnight, that must have been awfully frustrating to watch for halo's fans.
The reason people who are right handed open there stance is because usually they are right eye dominant. They can see the ball longer and better. Shoulder to shoulder is correct but I think Nellie is just swinging and missing more because his swing is a little choppy right now and he is being pitched very different than last year. I think thats why he has driven the ball the other way fairly well this year. Sometimes I have noticed when I give lessons that if a kid is open and able to drive thw ball the other way they at times get tied up with the fastball in. I mean when I call pitches for a kid I always say hard in and soft away. I imagine that is kinda what is happening. I am also not near the level where I can say that I could correct him by changing anything. I think he will be fine, and its kinda like the whole arguement to fire Wash. If you think you can disect decisions or stances for Mlb club then you probably would be working for them.
He has also played several games with Norbit 'protecting' him.
I think Nellie's approach is the problem. He has been driving the ball the other way well this year, but he's not approaching the plate looking to do so. He pulls off the ball quite a bit, leaving himself vulnerable to multiple pitches including the low/away breaking ball, middle/in fastball. If he went to the plate every time and looked to drive the opposite gap, he'd be hitting 40 points higher.
he's hit 21 home runs because he has the power to do so. that doesn't mean he's good. he misses a lot of pitches he should be hitting and swings at pitches that he shouldn't be swinging at. he needs to take some time off.
I realize that Nelson definitely needs to make some adjustments - however I would argue they are more along the lines of a mental/approach adjustments that trey3216 alludes to above rather than the open stance/hand-eye issue that Joe purports.
My point in bringing up the 21 homers is that I don't care how much power you have don't have - you are not going to hit a home run every 4 games in MLB if you are having hand/eye coordination issues.
I thought he had one leg shorter than the other and that was the problem.....
I am not claiming to have the expertise of a major league coach. I just had a thought and figured I would share it for what its worth. I don't see a suggestion as an insult or as arrogant or whatever. I don't have any baseball expertise and nor do I think I could do anyone's job better than they can. As far as working for a big league club I don't have any expertise that they would want to pay for, but I suppose I can dream.
Also, I am disturbed my post was seen as some kind of affront to Nellie. Nellie might just be my favorite player on the team, and I don't really do favorites, but it was pretty cool catching his mammoth home run into the second deck at Yankee Stadium and off the Models sign.
he sure seemed to struggle tonight
8 RBI's in a game....if that's struggling, I'd love to see him when he is "on."
He actually was on last night
lol @ Nelly making Joe look foolish...
Notify me of follow-up comments via email.