Here's a cool look at Addison Russell's swing to get you excited for today's rubber game between the A's and Cardinals -- and for the rematch in 2016! -Nico
Last weekend I had the pleasure of taking in my first Stockton Ports game. I had my camera with me so I was able to get some swing footage of the Athletics' #1 prospect Addison Russell. Below are his game swings followed by my analysis of his swing.
Russell's first at-bat he was plunked on the first pitch. But his second at-bat he came up with a runner on second and delivered with a RBI single up the middle.
His third at-bat he delivered again with an opposite-field RBI sac-fly.
His fourth at-bat he got under for a popup to the third basemen. (I shot this one at 60 fps.)
Unfortunately duty called and I had to leave the game before his final at-bat which resulted in a home run (figures).
Overall Russell has a pretty solid swing. I was disappointed to see he is utilizing an "early stride" approach. I don't know if this is consistent to his high school efforts or the result of Athletics' organizational coaching (several Ports used a similar approach). The vast majority of successful major league hitters utilize a more traditional stride (one exception being Coco Crisp).
Russell sets up in a good, athletic position. No complaints here.
I am not crazy about this position. Russell tips his upper body back as he gets the front foot down early. From the stride-launch position hitters need to develop speed quickly for the stride. Russell is at a disadvantaged position here with his upper body leaning and his rear knee almost outside his rear foot. Also the front foot will act as a small break since it is already on the ground.
Russell has moved into a pretty good position at toe touch. There is a small vertical component to his stride (his belt buckle is higher than at the launch position) which is wasted moving from the disadvantaged launch position. I would like to see him get the rear shoulder involved in the swing more by bringing the rear elbow a few inches toward the 3rd base dugout.
A lot to like here. Russell has great lower body function in both the front and rear leag. The upper looks good as well, just not as good as the lower body. His rear arm is working nicely, although a little ahead of the rear shoulder. This is the result of the shoulder not being engaged at toe-touch. The front shoulder is definitely lagging behind. Take a look at Josh Donaldson at the heel plant position.
Looks almost perfect here. Shoulder turn is just a tick behind.
What's not to like? Russell shows the result of a great leg drive by rolling up on the front foot.
Russell has a pretty solid swing with a few things he could clean up, mostly stride related. I am going to try to keep track of how his front shoulder movement progresses as he moves through the organization. The front shoulder's function is a little tricky, but if he can get it down, those fly balls to right field can turn into gap doubles. Overall, there is a lot to be excited about with the A's 2012 1st round pick.