So a couple days ago, I asked Eric Stephen of True Blue LA to ask Carl Crawford about his hitting mechanics, and he did so for me, primarily because he’s awesome.
Why, you ask? Because of my article for Baseball Prospectus back in October broaching that exact subject. Basically, I wanted to know if I was right so I could pat myself on the back.
Anyway, he allowed me to publish the convo.
Are you going back to your style and/or stance from 2010?
“I’m pretty much trying to get back to how I was doing things then.”
“When I got to Boston, my stance was more open. I’m trying to get back to being more square to the pitcher, and my batting stance isn’t as wide. Those are two of the little things I’m trying to focus on.”
On Going The Other Way
“Batting more square, more closed, instead of being more open. When I’m open the ball away looks far away, so I’m trying to get more square so everything looks closer to me.”
I AM A GENIUS!
But seriously though, it’s positive that he’s trying to get back to his 2010 stance, because there’s a gigantic difference between his approach then and in 2011.
My hopes that he would carry on with his 2012 adjustment seems valid, as he appears to acknowledge that it’s something he could benefit from. Now all that’s left is to see whether he can stay healthy enough to implement it and whether or not he can stick to the plan.
Amazingly, the evil dictator Mike Petriello picked up on Crawford’s comments and wrote about Crawford’s mechanics as well, though he picked up on one thing that I didn’t.
So what impact did the stance shenanigans have? Among other things, it made him unable to get to the outside pitch. Using the Baseball Prospectus heat maps, we can see that when Crawford was having his career year in 2010, with his stance slowly opening up, he was quite good at getting to pitches on the outside part of the plate. In 2011, fully open, he had absolutely no prayer. (And, it should be noted, even in September of 2010 he was beginning to have trouble getting to outside pitches.)
This is a cool finding because it expands on my point that he was struggling with hard stuff due to his timing errors. So now we have another specific thing to watch, which is his plate coverage.
In the end, a major-league player confirmed that I am an absolute genius…
…or maybe that he’s just trying to go back to the last time he was successful.