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Paulino's Swing

This is actually a comment by Azibuck from a thread further down. It deserves its own thread. Azibuck is commenting on Ronny Paulino's swings in yesterday's game. To understand why he's doing this, check out this thread.

Of course, he only swung at four pitches and two were flails at balls out of the zone.  Here's what I saw, other than he's one hell of a bunter.

He won't develop big time power(, dammit).  As the team has said (and the WGN broadcasters even mentioned Jeff Manto saying this), if he develops as a hitter, he should learn to get his pitch and drive more balls out.  But the "bad" news is that his bat is indeed slow.  His swing gives the appearance of "dragging" the bat through the zone.  But the news is not all bad.

Paulino turns his hips and shoulders well, but they're ahead of his hands.  Watch almost any good hitter, or almost any hitter period, and their hands and bodies will appear much more in sync.  The hands will come through as the shoulders turn, not after.  The quick rotation creates the bat speed.

But there is good news.  In Paulino's case, when the pitcher is about to deliver, he moves from his hands-out stance and loads his shoulders, reaching a good launch point.  Front arm extended across chest (perhaps too rigid, hard to tell), hands "hidden".  He could probably stand to load further, but is probably not that naturally limber.

He has a good hip and shoulder turn, and mechanically, his swing is sound. (Would have liked to see his swing from the side angle, but WGN couln't oblige).  His body action was the same each swing, even on the pitches he lunged at.  This is good in that he repeats his swing every time.  With good pitch selection and if he studies pitchers, I don't see any reason he shouldn't maintain his ability to make contact.

It's not "opposite", but the other style of hitting would be if he were "handsy". Jason Bay is actually this way.  The hands hitter can still rotate his body, but is much more dependent on hand-eye coordination and a release, or cocking/uncocking of the wrists to generate power.  The power comes from the top hand more than the body rotation.  Bay is exceptionally good at this, but I fear he'll always be streaky because that type of swinging is not as repeatable as one that employs "rotational mechanics" (see, like Paulino.

Freddy Sanchez is the same as Bay.  These are professional athletes, and there's no need to fear the way they swing, and at their age no one should probably change what they're doing.  Sanchez is probably one of those guys with 20-15 eyesight.  He's crazy good at putting the bat on the ball, but uses very little of his body to hit.

Sean Casey, he's just a stiff.  I mean, he's stiff.  He doesn't have much hip or shoulder turn and just hits with his arms.  He's not athletic looking at all, but he can probably juggle like a sonofagun.  He has the hand-eye coordination, and has honed his all-arms swing to have a long career.

And so, to some extent, I see the same for Paulino.  He has a good swing, but appears to lack the God-given quick-twitch ability to generate big time power.  But mechanically his swing is good, and I'm encouraged that his average is not a fluke, though he'll likely come down somewhat, because .315+ is pretty good.

The reason he'll hit occasional monster home runs is that with this swing, the bat is travelling fastest just about when it's past the plate.  So if he's timed a pitch right, and it's on the inner half of the plate, he'll pull it, and it will go a long way.  He also probably won't hit many foul balls down the LF line because unlike the handsy hitter, he doesn't release his top hand until long after the bat has left the zone.