In early August 2016, I had a conversation with a long-time follower and friend within the Cardinals organization.
The Cardinals were sputtering and, to a degree, he just wanted to vent. He told that many of the problems I was seeing and tweeting about were due to what the Cardinals' hitters were being taught.
Once the venting was over, we went into problem-solving mode. There were still two months in the season and, if a couple of Cardinals hitters could start hitting, that could be enough to get the Cardinals into the playoffs, where anything can happen.
One thing we discussed was a problem I saw in the swings of Jhonny Peralta and Matt Carpenter. While it was hard to help Marp -- he's firmly under misguided spell of John Mabry -- I made a suggestion that I believe helped Jhonny raise his batting average from .245 to .285.
Of course, the fact that I can't name my friend -- I don't want to get him in trouble -- explains why I think the Cardinals are doomed. A healthy and high-performing organization would want to talk to me. A dysfunctional, death spiral organization like the Matheny-era St. Louis Cardinals -- who use The Cardinals Way as a cudgel to crush anyone who deviates from the prevailing orthodoxy -- instead would (and will?) go on a witch hunt trying to root out the traitor.
I loved Colby Rasmus' swing when he was in the minor leagues; it was simple but powerful.
Colby Rasmus at AAA
However, something changed when he was called up to the major leagues.
I sat on this piece for more than a year because I wasn't been able to put my finger on exactly why that was.
Until one afternoon in early 2010.
For the prior week or so I'd been working with a D-1 college baseball player whose biggest problem was that he launched his swing similar to the way that Colby Rasmus did. That created a problem with his Swing Plane that made it hard for him to cover the top of the strike zone.
In other words, he was a low ball hitter who struggled with anything up.
The process of staring at this hitter's swing and trying to figure out how to fix it brought to mind the swing of Colby Rasmus and his tendencies, clarified exactly what it was about Colby Rasmus' swing that bothered me, and made me realize that a big problem in the world of hitting instruction is that people don't have a good understanding of how the swings of Ted Williams and Gary Sheffield swing actually worked.
The gist of the problem is that, in trying to eliminate a (phony) loop in their swing, too many hitters create a (true) loop in their swing.
This was Jhonny Peralta's problem in 2016 and, as I discuss in my Lessons Learned, I had some success in helping him fix this problem.
I discuss many of the causes of a True Loop in Truth In Hitting and the fixes in this piece.