Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Brandon Belt discusses swing mechanics with Keith Law

Brandon Belt is one of my favorite Giants players.

Keith Law is one of my favorite baseball writers.

Having said that, when I saw that they sat down for a lunch interview to discuss Belt's swing mechanics it made me very excited to read what would come of the meeting.

I was not disappointed.

The full interview requires ESPN Insider so I will only include a few snippets.
Belt first emerged as a prospect in 2010, racing through three levels of the minors and finishing the year by ripping up the Arizona Fall League, a time when his swing was very balanced and he kept his weight back consistently enough to be able to hit left-handed pitching and handle fastballs inside. Keeping his weight back -- which means waiting to transfer his weight to his front leg until he gets his hands moving forward -- has turned out to be the biggest challenge for Belt in translating his minor league success into major league performance. It was a problem for him at the end of 2012 and carried over into spring training and the start of 2013.
"I was real off balance, I don't know what the reason for that was, maybe I had crossed that line again," Belt said Tuesday. "I was lunging at the ball. They wanted me to stay back, and the thing that happened right there is that [Bruce Bochy] told me what they saw, and they let me fix it. I think that's what helped out a lot. Sometimes [the coaches] are all saying the same thing but saying it in different ways, then one person says it and it clicks in my head."
After the Giants benched Belt on April 21, he ran off a nine-game stretch in which he hit .357 with all three of his homers on the season, one of which came on a 95 mph David Hernandez fastball on the inner half. He was keeping his weight back, which allows him to get to fastballs on time and to "keep rotating," using his hips to create torque that leads to power, whether he's trying to pull the ball or to drive something out to left-center. In short, he looked like the player I predicted would be an above-average regular at first base. On the flip side, Belt is just 1-for-15 thus far in May, which shows how fickle mechanics can be and that he still isn't completely locked in on his swing.
If you have insider you should read the whole thing, if you don't it is worth considering getting insider just to get the Law articles not to mention the other great baseball (not to mention the other sports) content.

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