Sunday’s game wasn’t Joc Pederson‘s debut this spring for Dodgers, as he had played in one game previously and went 1-for-3 with two strikeouts. However, that game wasn’t on television, so we didn’t get a look at the much anticipated changes to his swing in game action. Yesterday, then, was when we all finally got a look at the new swing, and the initial impressions it made were rather horrifying.
Yeah, Joc went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, but it’s Spring Training and it’s just one game, so I’m not going to care about the results. I will, however, care about both the setup and mechanical changes, plus the fact that either one or the other was altered every time he was up.
First Plate Appearance
Second Plate Appearance
Third Plate Appearance
New hitting coach Turner Ward apparently transformed Paul Goldschmidt into the monster he is today, and he’s a hitting coach in the major leagues, so he knows a lot more about hitting than me. But whatever these changes are supposed to help Joc with, they don’t seem to make much sense.
Joc’s main problems last year were likely his swing length, bat drag caused by his front-side mechanics, and weight distribution issues stemming from his lower-body mechanics. Thus, I find it odd that his swing length is the same, his foot now opens up to the shortstop and makes it easier for him to be front-side dominant, and that there’s now another step to get his stride started so that his bottom half appears even more rushed.
I’m not going to hit the panic button yet, because it’s a sample size of three plate appearances that we’ve been able to see, but this is definitely an inauspicious start.