The send-Jack-Cust-packing Club on AN has simmered down a bit recently and that's because Spartacust has been back to his 2007 ways recently. So much so that it earned him the AL Player of the Week honors .
What I find fascinating about this is that Cust claims in the above linked article that his issues at the beginning of the season were because he had the wrong bat:
The slugger has a more concrete theory, literally. Cust attributed the harder wood of his "Old Hickory" bats as the reason he has been able to appear "relaxed" at the plate.
The designated hitter received a new shipment of bats during the team's last road series against the Angels, and went 6-for-10 with a home run. His game on Thursday was particularly impressive, as Cust was 4-for-4 with two walks and three runs.
"The bats I had in Spring Training were really bad," Cust said. "They were soft. The guy told me they made a mistake with the kind of wood."
I've always found that interesting. Especially that players blame something like the quality of a bat's wood as to why they aren't hitting. I mean, there is much more psychological effect to something like this than you'd think. Cust thinks it's the bats, therefore it must be, right?
I have limited experience with these kinds of things given that I've never come anywhere close to playing professional sports, but I've played my share of hockey back in the day and if I got a new stick that felt really good, I would often feel like I got more on my slap shots than I did before. Whether it was real or just a mental boost, I'm still not sure. I do think that something like that can have a big-time psychological impact on a player and whether or not there's truth to it, I'm not sure. What might be more likely is that Cust is just a slow starter for some reason.
Here are the splits for 2007 Jack Cust and 2008 Jack Cust . You'll see that Cust only hit .222 last May and he hit only .188 this April. Regardless of that, Cust is still good at getting on base. There's obviously one huge difference between the two months and the two years. Cust hit only one home run in April 2008, but he hit eight home runs in May 2007. That's where his softer bat theory may hold weight because he was roughly walking and striking out the same number of times both months.
I'm skeptical and think that it more likely had to do with a mechanical adjustment made. Cust conceded later in the article that he had made an adjustment with his swing and doesn't elaborate as to what it is.
I'm just curious AN. Where do you fall on the tools versus the user debate?