Swing Appetizer: Cord Sandberg

Hey everybody. Obviously with me in Arizona I can’t see your guys and therefore can’t give you longform reports or updates on the guys in the Philadelphia system.  But the magic of the internet gives me access to video and the little Buncha Crunch sized scouting goodness it provides. Do you guys like Buncha Crunch? Me too. Stick some in the next batch of brownies you make or straight up mix it with your popcorn when you next go to the movies. We need Dark Chocolate Buncha Crunch. Anyway, no amount of video provides you with enough information to write full scouting reports, but it gives me the opportunity to do little pieces like this that zoom in on a few dots of the Georges Seurat painting that is scouting.

So what we have here is video are some short snippets of batting practice in Williamsport that was shot by Mitch Rupert who covers the Crosscutters for the Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Go find and follow Mitch on Twitter, he’s posting more and more pop times and run times every day. Let’s talk about each of these swings and what clues they give us regarding our overall assessment of the player while keeping in mind that these are just BP swings, and in-game swings are always a better source of information than these things are. Again, this is but a miniscule part of the scouting process. Here is the video. I’ll spread these out, doing an individual player in each post. We start with Cord Sandberg, whose session lasts from the 7 second mark in the video until about the 50 second mark. Refer back to the video and my text constantly as you read, this piece should be consume slowly and indulgently if you’re going to extract any real value from it.

Examine Sandberg’s feet. Notice the foot/ankle turn he shows as he follows through on his swing. Ideally, you want all of the rotational energy generated during the swing to be transferred up through the body and into the ball. When that front foot rolls over like that, some of that energy is wasted and thrown into the ground. That front foot should plant and the front leg should stiffen as the weight transfers forward.

Sandberg Load Apex

Sandberg’s Load Apex

Next, notice the bat path. Sandberg loads his hands parallel with his ear, which is about the highest I consider acceptable. What this causes is an exaggerated downward path to the ball which keeps Sandberg’s bat out of the hitting zone for quite a while. If Sandberg is late on a pitch, most of the contact he makes the other way will be on the ground because his bat is still one its way down at the point of contact. This also means that, since Sandberg’s swing doesn’t really start to exhibit loft until the bat has passed his body, the only authoritative contact he’s going to make is going to be to his pull side.

Sandberg's bat path journey's upward

Sandberg’s bat path journeys upward.

 

I’d like to draw your attention to the lack of control Sandberg has on the bat as he swings. Can you see how, once things get started, he sort of allows the bat, driven by the head, to do the rest of the work for him? This gives me pause in regard to Sandberg’s future ability to manipulate the bat head toward balls in odd locations in the strike zone, such as in at the knees. One must have the ability to direct the bat to accomplish things like this and Sandberg’s swings show that, right now, he does not. Does he have decent bat speed? Yes. Does he have plenty of time to make adjustments? Yes. Does he have the requisite athleticism to do so? Sure does. But if these BP swings are emblematic of his in-game cuts, he’s a project.

Isn’t this fun? About 50 seconds of video leads to 325 words of scouting vernacular. And we’re barely scratching the surface here. We’ll do Aaron Brown on Monday.

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13 comments

  1. VladHunter

    July 18, 2014 02:49 PM

    Good Stuff. Not contradicting EL at all, but the casual fan should realize that pitch location dictates a lot of the swing. The foot roll does appear to occur on inside pitches only, as that’s that only way to get to that pitch unless your name is Manny, Miggy or Pujols and even then… Also, it’s B.P. where a lot of focus is on trying to groove your swing & not swinging too hard as the pitches are deliberately thrown right down the middle – pretty much let the bat do its thing – he does seem to control the bat when the pitch location dictates.

  2. yo mama

    July 18, 2014 03:17 PM

    Seriously, awesome. I’m going to go home and start slapping my kid around.

      • yo mama

        July 18, 2014 04:26 PM

        Gotta make sure that front foot stays down

      • Eric Longenhagen

        July 18, 2014 07:08 PM

        Well, let’s hope his swing is better than your sense of humor.

  3. Ginner207

    July 20, 2014 03:00 PM

    Awesome piece, wish I would’ve found the site while I was still playing a couple years ago, you have a lot of good info in all your articles.

    On a side note, I was at the R-Phils game last night and I’m not sure who writes up the the scouting reports anymore but I think it’d be cool to see something on Nefi Ogando. He was throwing hard, 97-99 consistently in his one inning of work though I don’t know how accurate the speeds they give at First Energy are. But he threw some nice off speed stuff too. Stats aren’t great but at that level they can be deceiving I guess, or he could’ve just had a good game. What’re your thoughts on him?

  4. Berdj J. Rassam

    July 21, 2014 02:46 AM

    Batting .258 so far in A- minor leagues, but only age 19 – give him a chance to develop.

    • Eric Longenhagen

      July 21, 2014 02:55 AM

      Couldn’t care less about stats at that level, good or bad.

  5. Ben

    July 24, 2014 01:56 PM

    My only criticism is why do these articles pop up when a player is clearly in a funk. Why aren’t they written when Sandberg was absolutely raking.

    • Eric Longenhagen

      July 24, 2014 09:26 PM

      Again, couldn’t care less about stats at this level. If you do, you’re doing it wrong.

    • Eric Longenhagen

      July 24, 2014 09:29 PM

      But yeah I wrote Sandberg up at this time because I found the video on Youtube, thought it would make for an interesting series and Sandberg happened to be first on the video.

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