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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011

    Player Analysis Thread

    I analyzed Bellinger’s swing in the September thread and was just about to write another player analysis in a different thread, but thought we could use a place to keep player analyses.

    Could be something fun to look back on at some point and probably worth having a running tab.
    The Tweeter Handle: @DSchneider_05

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Brusdar Graterol

    Brusdar is a good reliever with elite stuff (both elite velocity and movement) and control. He touches 102, has filthy movement, and pounds the zone. Again, he’s a good reliever but, with his off the charts measurables, he should be the best reliever in all of baseball. So why isn’t he?

    Well, one trait of Brusdar’s which has always stood out as a wow factor may also present a hindrance to his effectiveness; his delivery. It’s easy to ogle at how much velocity and movement he generates without so much as drawing a deep breath. While that delivery may bode well for his health and the sustainability of his velocity, it also comes with some drawbacks.

    To be clear, I’m not going to make the argument that Graterol needs to move to a more high effort delivery. While I do believe it’s possible (even if somewhat mind boggling) that more leverage could potentially allow Brusdar to eek out an extra notch or two on the gun, that’s not what this post is about. This isn’t a report card, I’m not making a “needs to improve” list for a professional pitcher and I do believe he will see improved results organically as he matures. The goal here is simply and solely to apply logic and rationale to the results he’s seen thus far in his young career. As it pertains to the results he’s achieved, the short stride in his delivery has seemingly had two drawbacks; the height and the distance of his release point.

    Firstly, and the perhaps far less significantly, is the aforementioned height. With a shorter stride, Brusdar is actually standing taller than the vast majority of pitchers by the time he releases the ball. Combine that with his overhead delivery and Brusdar actually has to throw the ball on a more downward trajectory than typical in order to get the ball to the strike zone. Theoretically, this would present a much more significant issue for most pitchers because a pitch on a downward trajectory meeting a bat on an upward trajectory in an era where everyone is trying to pull the ball over the fence presents some pretty evident risks. Brusdar mitigates what would theoretically present significant risk to the average pitcher with two pitches that generate insane movement both glove-side (slider) and arm-side (2-seamer). These two pitches, with exceptional run in opposite directions and a 9-11 MPH difference in velocity, play very well off each other, keeps hitters off balance, and makes him one of the most effective pitchers at generating weak contact.

    Ok, so he could have a lower release point, but apparently mitigates that risk effectively. So what about the distance of his release point? Why does that matter?

    After all, 100 MPH on the gun is still 100 MPH on the gun. While that’s true, consider the below two cars both racing in a straight shot to cross the same finish line…

    Car A
    Starting Distance from Finish Line: 1 mile
    Traveling Speed: 100 MPH

    Car B
    Starting Distance from Finish Line: 0.5 mile
    Traveling Speed: 75 MPH

    One may surmise from the simple math here that Car B is the obvious choice to win this race traveling 3/4 of the speed and only 1/2 the distance of Car A - and that’s precisely the point.

    Car A reaches the finish line in 36 seconds. Car B, traveling 25 MPH slower, crosses the finish line in just 24 seconds.

    So let’s put this into context…

    Pitcher A is throwing 100MPH from 60ft
    Pitcher B is throwing 75MPH from 30ft

    Who would you rather hit against?

    One more…

    Pitcher A is throwing 100MPH from 57ft
    Pitcher B is throwing 97MPH from 55ft

    While there is what looks like a big difference in velocity between these two pitches, their respective release distances actually make them pretty comparable in regard to the batter’s time to react, with Pitcher B having the slightly better perceived velocity (put simply, Pitcher B is throwing 97% of the velocity of pitcher but only 96% of the distance).

    The point is that the earlier a batter can see the ball out of the pitcher’s hand, the more time the batter has to read and react to that pitch. This speed-perception theory is quantified by the principle of perceived velocity (I’ve discussed this in the past, you can read more at the links provided).

    The distance from the pitcher’s plate to home plate is 60.5’. It’s often recommended that a pitchers stride be 80-90% of his height. For Brusdar, that would land him about 5.5’ closer to home plate at his release. However, I estimate that Brusdar is striding at maybe 50-67% of his height (roughly 3 to 4 feet of stride) and I think 67% is being very generous. All this said, while we perceive Brusdar’s velo to be a significant advantage for him, and it is, this advantage is mitigated by his lack of drive toward the plate. His 100MPH fastball may only be perceived similarly to 97 from someone who strides significantly closer to the plate.

    Again, this isn’t to say Brusdar needs to change who he is and what he does, but if you’ve been wondering why a guy who throws as hard as he does with as much movement as he gets isn’t striking out every batter he faces, this should provide some context. Maybe he has some growth or learns to open up his stride to get more strikeouts. Whether or not he eventually becomes an elite closer, we can at least appreciate Brusdar for what he is now; a very effective reliever at generating weak contact.
    Last edited by GibbyIsMyHero; 10-03-2021 at 03:05 PM. Reason: To add an old Grantland Article on Perceived Velocity

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    La Puente, CA
    Sounds like you've had a good share of physics courses. lol

    Future Hall of Shamers:
    (1) B.A.L.C.O. Barroids (2) Mark McJuicer (3) Jose Chem-seco (4) Rafael Palmeiroids (5) Ken Chem-initi (6) Jason Gi-andro (7) Ryan Fraud (8) Muscle Melk (9) Woman-Ram (10) Shammy Sosa (11) Roger Clear-mens (12) A-Roid (13) Ryan HGHoward

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by dodgerdave View Post
    Sounds like you've had a good share of physics courses. lol
    Lol - “if a train leaves the station…”

    I’m no expert, just done a bit of research on things that attempt to explain performance, or lack thereof.

    Kershaw, as a contrasting example, still baffles minds with his ability to stay near the top of the league when he’s healthy considering he throws a 90-92 MPH 4-seamer and only deploys two other pitches.. Plenty of starters throw hard and have 4 to 5 pitches to work with, so how has Kershaw maintained Ace-level performance?

    Kershaw gets some of the best extension in the league on his drive from the mound, you can see on every pitch his back knee may be only 8” or so off the ground. He also gets a lot of credit for potentially being the best at hiding the ball from the hitter until it’s out of his hands.

    So not only is his fastball playing faster than the radar gun, he’s also got hitters guessing with two very good breaking balls (his curveball should have its own plaque in the HOF) that he can spot anywhere to either sided hitter.
    The Tweeter Handle: @DSchneider_05

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    In light of his homerun yesterday, I'm going to put this here. Again, the key is control. If you watched his homerun last night, look at this swings below; which one did last night's swing most closely resemble?

    Cody Bellinger Swing Analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by GibbyIsMyHero View Post
    Well, here goes.

    So, Cody Bellinger has had a dumpster fire of a season, but not all is lost. I’ll share some videos and then tie it all in together at the end…

    This a Cody homer from 3 years ago…
    You can see it’s a bit of an uncontrolled swing

    This one is from his MVP year…

    This one is from last year…

    There are a number of differences you can see off the bat between the three videos.

    Again, the first one is a bit uncontrolled; he’s trying to create as much leverage as possible and it shows when his back foot comes off the ground on the finish. I’m also not a big fan of where his eyes finish - he’s still watching the ball. More on this below…

    The second clip, from his MVP year, is much more controlled. I like this clip juxtaposed next to the one above because while the first video shows that patented extension, the second shows his ability to adjust to the inside fastball while still generating a ton of leverage. He also does a better job of keeping his hands back to stay loaded until he gets his front foot down. IMO, he still brings his head up a bit too early, but it’s better.

    The third clip is actually my favorite swing despite coming in a down year. In the 3rd video he puts it all together, tucks his chin and keeps his head down all the way through the swing while that bat takes a perfectly orbital path around his head - almost like the rings around Saturn.

    When I put these three videos together, there are some things that are consistent across the board.

    1. Generating Leverage - Cody starts high. This is key. Whereas most people are striding forward from a more athletic position, his step forward provides additional organic leverage by also bringing him downward toward the ball on his step.
    2. Stride - he’s got a big stride, but his front foot doesn’t land hard; he’s not jabbing at the ground or digging in which allows him to keep his weight back.
    3. Stays Loaded - During the step forward, his hands stay back, his back knee isn’t dropping in too early, and his hips stay closed.
    4. The combination of forward leverage with his hands and weight largely back sets up the explosiveness when finally does drop the back knee in and allows his hips to uncoil
    5. First Hips, Then Hands - the old Cody doesn’t “fly open” with hands and hips at once. He lands the step softly, then turns his hips, and allows that hip turn to help pull his hands through the zone.
    6. Tucks The Chin - Cody keeps his head down and tucks his chin. Again, the third video is the best example of this as he stays tucked all the way through contact and doesn’t pull off to watch the ball.
    7. Gets On Plane Early - This is something that a lot of people seem to miss as a key component of hitting. People talk about his “uppercut swing”. To be clear “swing up”, should not be confused for an “uppercut”. Though I largely consider this to be nuance, I will go to my grave saying there is no such thing as an “uppercut swing”. An “uppercut swing” implies that one is always swinging with an upward bat path. In reality, no one starts with their hands and bat below the ball. Our hands start high, come down to the ball, then finish high. Whether you’re hitting the ball on your upward or downward trajectory is largely dependent on whether you’re ahead or behind the pitch. No one is hitting the ball on an upward trajectory when they are late on the pitch. Enough ranting; the gist is that Cody gets planed out early, as evidenced by the second clip, which allows him to stay in the zone longer, make the necessary adjustment to shorten up, and hits a homer with a level swing.
    8. Allows Front Ankle To Turnover - this allows him to generate more leverage by providing an extra layer on his follow through.
    9. Finishes High and Finishes Back - I think this one speaks for itself

    Now, what is wrong with Cody this year and how can he fix it?

    A couple of things.

    Look at Cody in these videos from the last 3 years and compare him to 2021 Cody. The weight loss is evident. Anyone who thinks that shoulder surgery won’t impact weight and ability to sustain muscle has never been to a gym in their life. I bet he’s about 15-20 lbs lighter than his typical playing weight. Outside of the fact that he’s not had great luck with injury since last year, the weight might be the single biggest contributor to his down year.

    I think the combination of the weight loss and compensation for a shoulder that’s not back to full strength might be what’s convinced him to try to take different approaches with his batting stance. Clearly, he doesn’t believe he’s getting the same leverage this year.

    Secondly, an extenuating circumstance from the above, is that he’s generating weak contact. He’s behind on a lot of pitches and isn’t planing out as well this year. When he’s not missing altogether, he’s often driving them into the ground or lifting them straight up. He’s got to get back to a more consistent level swing.

    Lastly, many of these components that stand out across all three of these clips are missing altogether. Though he has a tendency to pull his head off the ball, even in successful years, it’s been really bad this year.

    Now, I’ve long been a proponent of Cody Bellinger’s bat; since he was a nobody on the farm I’ve been raving about his swing mechanics. At the same time, I’ve always cautioned that he carries the potential to have a high peak and a short prime because he’s pretty thin and his swing requires so much torque it seemed injuries were inevitable. Still, it’s comical that anyone would take this season as his worth and write him off already.

    It’s comical that anyone would compare this guy, who is fully capable of getting back to this, to Chris Davis. Anyone making that comparison clearly doesn’t know what they’re looking at and are only focusing on results at the plate.

    For good measure, I just thought it was worthwhile to show a video of Cody putting all of these things together THIS YEAR.

    Clearly he is still capable of replicating that swing, he’s just had a rough go. A full offseason of recovery and training likely helps him get back some strength, confidence, and the consistency he hasn’t been able to find this year.. Will he be an MVP? Probably not. Will his bat be valuable? That is very likely.
    The Tweeter Handle: @DSchneider_05

  6. 11-11-2021, 02:23 AM

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