These are my own opinions and do not reflect the views of the East Village Times staff.
I’m looking for your feedback and always looking for ideas, so please leave a comment or feel free to tweet me @TheProfessorPQ. Thanks, and enjoy.
Sometimes in baseball, the smallest adjustment can mean a world of difference. Recently, Fernando Tatis Jr. made a small change to his batting stance, and it appears the Padres’ top prospect has thrived because of it.
Tatis, the Padres’ top prospect and seventh-ranked prospect on MLBpipeline.com, is no stranger to adjustments.
Last year, the young shortstop did not start out very well, but he made adjustments to turn it around. This year, he has not had an ideal start, hitting .177/.231/.333 in April. Fortunately, that slow start would not continue into May, as it has proved to be a vastly different story. As of May 30th, Tatis has seen his average rise to .268 due to a .342/.422/.632 slash line. So why is that the case? It may be something as simple as quieting his bat in the batter’s box before the pitch.
“When a guy is pressing or when a guy is trying to do too much, that can sometimes manifest itself in the pre-pitch waggle being too loud or super-fast,” Ex-Padre and current broadcaster Tony Gwynn Jr. said when he saw the video. “This inevitably can throw off timing.”
Before May 22, and for most of his professional career, Tatis had a very pronounced bat wiggle while he was waiting for the pitch, as seen here in spring training with the Padres:
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 2, 2018
It appears that since May 22nd, Tatis has simplified his pre-pitch routine down to a simple bat placed on his shoulder:
To say Tatis is locked in right now is an understatement. The prospect got three more hits tonight, bringing his average up to .271. pic.twitter.com/DiPCiEzzbG
— Patrick Cusick (@TheProfessorPQ) May 30, 2018
“Pre-pitch,” Gwynn continued. “For most people, the more under control you are, the better swing you’ll get off!”
It doesn’t seem like much, but this simple adjustment may mean the world of difference to Tatis as he continues his journey to the big leagues. If you go back and watch his games in May, you can see the incredible progression to this point, including this stretch where he has hit .412/.462/.735 since the tiny adjustment.
“In terms of the actual swing,” Gwynn finished. “You would want to run a car as hard as you can until it gets to the red. Same goes for the swing. It’s a hitter’s job to find out where that red line is and try to stay just below. The swings that are above that red line are hard to repeat mechanically.”
Baseball is not an easy game and sometimes even the best prospect in the organization needs to make minor changes to improve their overall game. It appears Tatis has done just that, and hopefully it leads to improved results as he continues the season.