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Does this sound familiar? A 30 year old outfielder, who made his ML debut back in 2004... reinventing himself in mid-career?

We're talking, of course, about the guy who ruined Jesse Litsch's day yesterday afternoon.

[Since] hitting coach Kevin Long's renowned August intervention last season... Granderson is not only the best player in the trade by a long shot, he is one of the elite power hitters in the game.

What did they do, anyway? As reported last August....

Hitting coach Kevin Long said that Granderson reported before Tuesday's game for a "very detailed hitting session" in which Long was able to pick apart several components of Granderson's swing and offer new suggestions. "I think you're going to see a little different look," Long said. "A little shorter to the baseball-type look. You've got some moving stuff with his hands, with his load. He's got some movement forward. We're going to try to address those." 

Granderson wasn't in the starting lineup for Wednesday's game against the Rangers in Arlington, despite good career numbers (12-for-40, .300) against Cliff Lee. The alterations to Granderson's swing have been so notable, Long wants to offer one more day for them to marinate. "Everything I've done up to this point is trying to get to the point I'm trying to get to, and there's a couple of moving parts," Granderson said. "We're just trying to eliminate some of those moving parts to get to the balance point every hitter is trying to get to, in strong balanced position ready to attack the baseball."  In short, Long wants to make Granderson's swing as short and compact as possible, correcting a lengthy swing that Granderson has been successful with in the past but may have now run its course.

Here's what Granderson did last season after the "intervention." He hit .261/.356/.564 - and he hit 14 HRs in just 48 games.

And of course only one man in the AL has more home runs this season - that would be last year's Jose Bautista. The original. Bautista and Troy Tulowitzki are the only hitters in the major leagues with more homers than Granderson since August 12 of last year.

Part of the conventional wisdom about Bautista, prior to last season, was that while he might be a productive hitter with the platoon advantage, he was helpless against his own kind. The new model Bautista blew that notion out of the water in 2010 and Granderson needs to do the same thing. After all, he came into this season with a career line of .217/.275/.358 against LHP, with 23 HRs in 802 ABs.

So how's he doing with that?

So far, so good. He's only had 25 ABs against southpaws, but he's hitting .280 - and he's hit 3 of his 8 HRs against LH pitchers. 

Damn Yankees....
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AWeb - Monday, May 02 2011 @ 09:19 AM EDT (#234033) #

Not a perfect analogy, since Granderson has been a top hitter before, but certainly another example of how much of a difference coaching can make for a player. Granderson is at the age where the adjustments they made make sense - younger hitters can have more moving parts and still succeed, but it gets harder and harder to maintain a loose swing. Chemicals aside, Barry Bonds was the best example of this. And it's probably one of the reasons Griffey Jr. never recaptured his glory days (even for a few years) - he always had a "young guy" swing, which doesn't work for a old guy very often.

Great coaches are another thing that money can buy, and something I expect to take off in the next 10-15 years in MLB - why not have 3-4 hitting coaches tailored to your players? Also, it's a good thing that Jeter has been too stubborn to take similar advice - his swing has always been a great blend of moving parts, but it seems to have become too much for him to manage - I thought he might end up like Molitor (barely any movement at all, all hands/wrists, liners everywhere), and he still might. But that shiny new contract of his looks good for everyone else so far. Of course, the Yankees are still in first place...sigh.

allcanadian34 - Monday, May 02 2011 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#234035) #

I don't want to be that guy, but why is no one 'asking the question'? 

I guess because he's a Yankee and not a Blue Jay?

Jonny German - Monday, May 02 2011 @ 11:39 AM EDT (#234036) #
Here's what Granderson did last season after the "intervention." He hit .261/.356/.564 - and he hit 14 HRs in just 48 games.

And here's what he did in 676 plate appearances in 2007: .302 / .361 / .552, with 84 extra base hits. I don't see him as a brand new guy, I see him as getting back to where he used to be. His numbers this year are another step up, but it's only been one month - he may well just be on a hot streak.

Bias disclosure: I'm a longtime Granderson fan and he's about the only thing going right for my BBFL offence.
subculture - Monday, May 02 2011 @ 12:11 PM EDT (#234037) #

I think the biggest reason why there isn't too much talk of chemical assistance is that their bodies have not rapidly or dramatically increased in size.  Most suspected (or confirmed) offenders who suddenly hit with more power bulked up, while both JB and CG could fit in as ballroom dancers (okay, I stole that line from another BB contributor, can't remember who but I was ROTF bc it's so true)....

Magpie - Monday, May 02 2011 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#234045) #
I don't see him as a brand new guy, I see him as getting back to where he used to be.

In a lot of ways, sure, and time will surely tell. What Granderson's done isn't quite as remarkable as Bautista. But hey - he's hit 22 HRs in his last 250 ABs. That's not one month, it's closer to three. And that's certainly not who he used to be. That's twice the guy he used to be. You could also say that the Bautista of 2010 had a lot in common with who he'd always been - except he was hitting HRs three times as often.
Jonny German - Monday, May 02 2011 @ 06:34 PM EDT (#234046) #
Come now guy. Chicks dig the long ball but it's hardly the whole story.
Magpie - Monday, May 02 2011 @ 06:37 PM EDT (#234047) #
Not the whole story, but by far the largest part!
subculture - Wednesday, May 04 2011 @ 05:20 PM EDT (#234174) #

What I find compelling to watch and rare in JB's approach at the plate, compared to the rest of the Jay's hitters (and most hitters in general) is just how selective he is in choosing what to swing at.  He seems to value every one of his swings like a precious item, only willing to distribute a swing after he's satisfied that the incoming pitch is worthy of his attention and effort.  Anything not up to his gold standard, he regards with disdain, like bad meat or a yappy chihuahua.  This is true even when there's 2 strikes against him.
Alternatively the other hitters in the lineup are entirely focused on recognizing the type of pitch and its location, determining if it might be a strike and yikes they better swing at it bc they might not get a better pitch to hit in this at-bat.  They seem to place no value on their swing itself, only on whether the pitch is good or bad.
The only hitter I remember that seemed even MORE selective was this dude named Barry something or other....

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