Yesterday I came across a piece about Kris Bryant that indicated that he had changed his stance to one that was more upright.
The idea was to help him better handle the high pitch.
Given the years I spent watching and studying the swing of Allen Craig, I'm extremely skeptical whether this is going to improve Kris Bryant's swing.
More likely, it's just going to create another hole in his swing.
Because the root cause isn't being addressed.
The problem is the (flawed) logic behind the change, which is revealed in this interviewed with his father, Mike Bryant.
Mike Bryant: Yeah, you’ve got to put it in context. There’s not one major leaguer that goes up to the plate thinking that he’s gotta produce this launch angle and this exit velocity. We have to establish an absolute right off the bat. Now Ted Williams talked about this 60 years ago. I mean, this is how far ahead the guy was. Do you hit the ball in the air or do you hit it on the ground? Do you swing up or do you swing down?
Everybody is always trying to create gray areas to justify what they’ve been teaching in the past. You know, you don’t take the knob to the ball. Kris articulated it very well with (Alex Rodriguez) on the ESPN Game of the Week on Sunday. And A-Rod identified it. Kris said that you want to get that bat in the zone as early as possible and keep it in the zone for as long as possible. I think that’s a given.
And how you get there is very definitive. If you come down to the ball, you’re not in the zone as long. The whole key is a positional hitting technique called the arm slot. When — lefty or righty — your back elbow is anchored to your rib cage, the bat will be parallel to the ground at a 90 degree angle off of your top hand. And [the bat] should be pointing behind you at about a 45 degree angle; not directly at the catcher, but more behind you. Then you’re entering the hitting zone very early from that point.
While the idea of anchoring the back elbow to the rib cage in The Slot is a widely held and taught one, my study of Allen Craig's successes and failures, as well as the swings of other hitters, taught me why it's not what the best hitters do.
The Myth of the Slot in Hitting
As I first discussed in my Allen Craig Swing Analysis, while he was able to absolutely destroy the low pitch, and did quite well with the pitch down the middle, he struggled with the pitch up in the strike zone.
While I don't know for sure, I suspect the problem is that Allen Craig was trying to bring his back elbow into The Slot and then keep it there into contact.