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.
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.
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.