I recently wrote about an observation I had regarding Matt Kemp‘s change in hitting setup, but I didn’t actually know if this was a conscious move or not on his part.
Heck, some people thought me and the others were just imagining Kemp’s change. However, now the adjustments have been confirmed by the man himself and coaches as well, so Kemp is indeed tinkering with the setup whether it’s blatantly obvious or not.
“Mac [hitting coach Mark McGwire] talks about getting him in an athletic position. And that’s what you see when he gets more into a power stance where there’s not a lot of movement.”
@ChadMoriyama showed his stances. said Kemp told him earlier in the year that he was going to make this change to get quicker to the ball
— Patrick (@pdotmac1) September 18, 2013
@ChadMoriyama – Donnie mentioned that BigMac worked on getting Kemp into a more 'athletic stance' at the plate in his post game quotes, fwiw
— Vin Skully (@Vin_Skully) September 18, 2013
First picture is the before. Second picture is from yesterday’s game.
Perhaps part of the confusion was because I was focusing on the wrong thing. People were talking about how he looked like he was crouching, so I spent most of my time addressing that aspect of it in the last article. While it’s still clear to me that the way he’s achieving his plate coverage is different, I do admit that it not obvious that anything’s necessarily ‘off’ while looking at the stance without a mechanics-obsessed eye.
Anyway, so focusing on that may have been a mistake, as the most significant change is actually to his shoulders and arms. His lead arm and shoulder are lower than before, while his back shoulder is clearly raised. As I said previously, his body is now set-up in a way that creates a more downward plane to the ball, and so far it seems to be working out well. Kemp’s pulling off on pitches less, and his swing has stayed in the zone a lot longer over the last few days.
I honestly don’t see a right or wrong move to make here. How one sets up at the plate is just about personal preference and feeling comfortable, in my opinion. But given that there’s been a noticeable change in how he’s swinging from pitch to pitch, even on pitches he doesn’t hit well, this minute change looks to have helped him thus far. Kemp currently looks nothing like he did in April and May when he was completely lost, and hopefully he can stay healthy long enough for us to figure out whether he’s truly “back” or not.
So far, so good.