Someone asked me a while back to do a post ranking the swings of the Athletics' hitters. I will probably do that someday, but it got me thinking about forming the ultimate A's hitter - at least in terms of the swing. So for today's post, I am going to form Franken-Athletic. Using the same swing portions I used in the Battle of the Bay piece, I will form an unstoppable force of hitting the likes of which the world has never seen! And to make it even more fun I can only use a hitter for one portion of the swing. So let's get started.
Pre-stride: Derek Norris
This portion of the swing is called a ton of things, none of which I am happy with. But that's neither here nor there. Whatever you want to call it, this portion of the swing is very critical. It doesn't look like much, but the hitter has to setup his swing correctly or he will be playing catch-up from the very beginning. Since Norris went to the leg lift, he really took off. Part of that is that the leg lift really allows him to setup his stride well. Norris has built some pressure in his rear leg to give him a strong base to get some power going in his stride. Nicely done.
Honorable mention: Josh Reddick. I really like how Reddick uses the toe-tap. I hope he sticks with it.
Stride: Jed Lowrie
If I really wanted to go Frankenstein, I would go Jed Lowrie upper-body and Brandon Moss lower body (remember the plate coverage article?). Lowrie has a great stride, if a little boring. He puts the bat in the correct launch position (unlike Moss or Reddick), sets-up his front leg to adjust to pitch speeds, and gets a good bend in the hips for plate coverage.
Honorable mention: Josh Donaldson. Donaldson's stride is as good if not better than Lowrie's. But I can't spend my Donaldson coin just yet, I need it for...
Launch: Josh Donaldson
I just can't say enough about this portion of the swing. As I have said before, this - in my opinion - is really where hitters separate themselves. The rear side puts the bat on plane. The front shoulder allows the hitter to hit to all fields. The front leg allows hitters to adjust to pitch speeds. On and on. It is this portion of the swing that led me to make this prediction about Donaldson a year ago. And it is also this portion of the swing that leaves me a little unsold on Oakland's top prospect. (Oh Lord, why did I have to write that?)
Honorable mention: Nobody. Seriously. Donaldson is head-and-shoulders above anyone else on the team in this portion of the swing.
Into contact: Josh Reddick
Surprised? Don't be. I love 80% of Reddick's swing. It is just that rear arm. Reddick is really showing some awesome function in these frames. Great front side and lower body mechanics. Take a look at contact - both feet are off the ground. I wouldn't recommend striving for this, but it shows that his legs are really powering his swing. And they damn well better with his less-than-WWE-worthy physique. If only Reddick could just get to the start of this movement a little better. Sigh.
Honorable mention: Brandon Moss. Replace Reddick with Moss above - everything except for the crack about his physique.
Follow-through: Yoenis Cespedes
Honorable mention: Josh Donaldson. As long as he doesn't go back to the two-handed follow-through.
Now we can piece together our Franken-Athletic.
Beautiful. How did I do? How would you form the Franken-Athletic?