Breaking Down Pittsburgh Pirates Swing Mechanics – Part II


Sep 21, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder

Starling Marte

(6) and center fielder

Andrew McCutchen

(22) and right fielder

Gregory Polanco

(25) react in the outfield after defeating the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park. The Pirates won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With the season being a little more than a week old and the Pittsburgh Pirates off to a less than desirable start at 3-5, I decided this was a good time to take a look at the swings of the three starting outfielders for our beloved Pirates. You’ve got one MVP, and up and coming MVP candidate and a player with all the potential in the world. You may know them as Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco in that order. How are they doing to start the year off you may ask? Well, for a trio of outfielders that have the potential to each hit 20 homeruns and steal 20 bases they are not living up to those numbers just yet.  The early-season struggles for these important players and others can be maddening for Pirates fans, but how long can the trend towards poor performance at the plate realistically continue?

The three outfielders are batting a combined .179 at the dish with 31 strikeouts, that is a clip of 36% SO rate out of 84 at bats this year to begin. This is a red flag if you ask me! Something has to be done, some tweaking to their swings and couple games off to get their heads right. We already took a look at the starting infielders swings and YOU guys spoke and Pedro Alvarez has the best swing. The runner up? Was Josh Harrison, that’s pretty good for a guy who didn’t even know if he was going to make the team last year. Like I said previously you can’t just change a swing in one day, sure you can tweak little things if you know the pitchers tendencies but in the MLB its all about consistency. Lets take a look at the starting outfielders of the Pittsburgh Pirates swing mechanics shall we?

Andrew McCutchen – CF

The first thing you will notice with Andrew McCuthen’s swing is that his hands are close to his body and he has a slightly open stance. The stance he added a few years back to try to tell himself to get his hands around quicker. Cutch has some of the quickest hands in all of the MLB we all know that, but sometimes you can see in his swing that is timing gets thrown off because of the leg kick and he ends up dropping his shoulder causing him to pop the ball up. If Andrew McCutchen can get rid of the leg kick and close his stance a little bit more, he can just do a toe tap as a timing mechanism. This will allow his head to act on a swivel and keep his hands aligned while keeping his shoulder up making for more consistent contact and and increase in power.

Starling Marte – LF

This video of Starling Marte is from a few years ago but it shows a good swing however, Marte has since fixed this swing. Marte stands in the box with a wide base between his cleats, but in this video he used the leg kick. This leg kick left him very susceptible to the off-speed pitches out of the zone and he would swing and miss a lot because his head would “yank” out way to early on the pitch. Starling Marte has since taken the leg kick out of his swing and just uses a tiny toe tap now. This allows Marte’s head to stay on the ball longer and lay off those pitches that he would swing and miss at. Marte’s hands are soft when swinging the bat and he throws the barrel of the bat at the ball faster than anyone I have seen in the MLB.

Gregory Polanco – RF

Gregory Polanco…this kid looks very awkward standing in the batters box this may be caused by the fact that he is listed at 6’5″. Polanco’s swing tends to be loopy or very long at times, but this is caused by his extremely lanky frame. Gregory Polanco stands straight up in the box and keeps his hands close to his body just like Andrew McCutchen but he can’t get extended sometimes and is caused to swing on top of the ball and grounds out a decent amount. If Polanco can hold his hands out a little further towards the plate he can get extended and drive the ball to all fields. Polanco has a very slight leg kick but he is able to keep his weight back throughout the whole swing.

Who Has the Best Swing in the Pirates Outfield?

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