Gary Sanchez has set a record for being the fastest player to hit 20 career home runs. With a swing like his, I can't say that I'm surprised. His pre-swing movements and bat path are very high level. In this video, I compare him to the best hitters ever.
Lets take a close look at Gary Sanchez's Swing.
When you master the barrel turn, the early bat speed, the adjustability, and the momentum it can produce. It provides a hitter with the confidence to use a leg kick.
They KNOW that they can take a monster leg kick and take the biggest swing possible because they know that they can catch up.
Many say "Only freaks can do that,"
A leg kick, especially one as early as Sanchez' puts the weight where it needs to be. The weight should shift forward as a result of the barrel turn.
His body starts to fall forward, hands resist by pulling back. Then the hands turn the barrel and the weight is allowed to fall forward.
This mechanism is present in all truly great hitters
Look Familiar? (David Ortiz)
Is Gary Sanchez for real?
Gary was clearly locked in when he got to the big leagues. He was able to consistently catch the ball out front and pull the ball to left field.
Unlike a typical pull hitter (Bryce Harper), he displays the movements and adjustability necessary to handle pitches on the outer half.
Coaches often talk about hip rotation and speed or explosiveness. While we definitely want to use the bigger muscles, the hips are not a muscle and they certainly shouldn't just rotate.
The back leg pushing forward combined with resistance from the upper body creates an elastic stretch and fire component to the swing. The result of that process is the back leg pushing through and finishing towards the pitcher.
If rotation is the goal, force is applied away from the oncoming pitch. Sanchez achieves the LOOK of rotation but I assure you, he is not squishing the bug.
Early Bat Speed
Gary has figured out how to create early bat speed, matching the bat path of the greatest home run hitters ever. Notice how the barrel drops to even with the shoulders before the shoulders are allowed to rotate. I find myself telling hitters MOVE THE BARREL not your body. It's the barrel that needs to go fast. Literally try to create as much barrel movement and bat speed as you can before your hands come forward.
When you create early bat speed for the first time, you should feel the barrel whip through the zone effortlessly. Why wouldn't it? The barrel is already traveling 50 mph instead of pushing the bat forward from ZERO.
Many coaches look at this type of swing and assume that its a long swing.
Lets take a look...
Both players have their bat on plane with their shoulders at this point in the swing. That means Gary Sanchez gets to the same barrel position at the same time as Stanton.
The Difference? Sanchez' bat is already going 50 mph, so who has the quicker swing?
So we established that Sanchez has a quicker swing. That means he can wait longer before committing to the pitch, which is obviously a huge advantage.
But that's not all.
Because Stanton starts from zero, he will have to use the rotation of his body for power. Notice how violent his body is compared to Sanchez. This is great for pulling home runs foul but not so great for hitting breaking balls or anything on the outer half. This max effort type of swing lacks the adjustability necessary to hit over .300 in the major leagues.
If you're a travel coach, you see this type of swing in just about every strong 13 and 14 year old player.
Swing Like the Greats
There is no shortcut to becoming a hall of fame caliber player in the major leagues. Over time, everyone is tested and only the players who are maximizing their abilities with very high level swing mechanics will make it.
Time will tell if Sanchez can continue to be one of the best hitters in baseball.
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