Juan Uribe is off to a miserable start for the Dodgers in 2012, putting up a .231/.259/.231/.490 line while playing a mediocre third base. After a particularly ugly swing in the bottom of the eighth inning of Friday’s game against the Padres, color guy Steve Lyons took at look at Uribe’s swing mechanics.
Basically what Lyons pointed out is that Uribe’s lead foot drifts away from home plate as he steps and swings, leading him to pull off the ball with his body. Lyons is actually correct, as that’s horrible technique that you shouldn’t teach anybody, but Uribe’s ugly looking swing on that pitch wasn’t any different than what Uribe has always done, successful or not.
Note: That arrow is what Lyons drew, not me.
While it’s not exactly the same pitch and it’s not exactly the same swing, it’s close enough to identical that you should be able to get my point. On one of those swings, Uribe hit a line shot into the left field stands for a homer. On the other swing, we all sat back and wondered how he ever makes contact with the baseball, much less how he gets paid millions to play.
So while the swing analysis of Lyons was correct, he didn’t factor in what Uribe looks like when he does hit the ball well, which, for better or worse, is basically the exact same thing as when he does terrible. As such, this isn’t so much a case of something that coaches can correct as it is the Dodgers getting exactly what they paid for. Uribe is a streaky player, so he could turn it around at a moment’s notice, and there’s really no mechanical issue with his swing that wasn’t there when the team signed him.
The bottom line is that if the team thinks the skills they paid him for remain in tact, then they just need to be patient and hope he goes on one of his hot streaks. However, if they think his skills have deteriorated, then they need to rework his swing and make it more efficient to give Uribe a fighting chance as he ages. He wouldn’t be the first player to do so, and he certainly wouldn’t be the best.