Great piece up on Project Prospect today by Steve Carter that examines the causes of Jeff Clement's slow bat. As pointed out in the piece, he still has a ton of raw power despite the struggles. He is compared in several ways to a player with much more efficient cuts, Brian Roberts. Here's an excerpt:
Roberts is the very definition of "hips and hands", while Clement is of the "hips, shoulders, chest, arms, and exaggerated upper body twist" mold. One is extremely efficient, one takes a much longer time to execute. Since Roberts is a "hips and hands hitter", he does a much better job of staying square to the plate and maintaining true angles to the ball and hitting zone than Clement. Since Clement coils up around behind him, his body's movements and the laws of physics and kinesiology force him to uncoil/unload in a long, slow, grooved plane.
Other issues, along with video clips, are discussed at the link. Carter's conclusion is that Clement has the power to hit 30 home runs if he only changed his technique and approach. Unfortunately, that's not as easy as it sounds. Especially when these problems date back to his Seattle days.
His bat is still quick enough to crush AAA pitching. A demotion there may work mechanically, or the weaker pitching may reinforce the same mistakes. It's hard to say.
It's a shame, given Clement's raw talent, that he either hasn't gotten the best coaching/maintenance for his swing or just isn't able to shake the bad habits. It remains to be seen how much more time he'll get in the majors. It's a tough situation, really, but he just hasn't produced or even looked good, and Pirate prospects are breathing down his neck.
Part One of this series (linked in the article) took a look at the second overall pick in the 05 draft, Alex Gordon.