Why Josh Reddick Hates Fastballs

Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

Why Josh Reddick Hates Fastballs

This post is an update of an article written before I started posting on AN. If you would like to see the original, go here.

Josh Reddick hates fastballs. It's true, and a little sad. Let's take a look at the weighted values of each pitch for Reddick in 2012 and 2013. (I prefer Baseball Info Solutions values to pitchf/x.)





















Basically the last two years, Reddick is -8.7 runs below average on fastballs. How can this be?

I am a swing mechanics guy, so let's take a look at his swing. (this swing is from 2012 - notice the lack of beard).

There are a lot of things I like about Reddick's swing. I always study smaller guys to see how they achieve success. The thinking is if they are succeeding, they are probably swinging correctly. With Reddick, the reason he is able to achieve success is his tremendous lower body function. Absolutely perfect.

But there is a flaw in how he gets the bat moving. Let's take a look at how Reddick finishes his stride (2013 but the same flaw as in 2012).

If you are familiar with hitting mechanics, the rear elbow is usually parallel to the ground at toe-touch, then drops quickly as the front foot plants. Like Josh Donaldson below. (for more info on this, go here.)


Reddick is starting his upper body just a little early, costing him some batspeed. Instead of waiting until the last second to fire quickly, Reddick starts the process early, but slowly. Instead of a sequence of WAIT-WAIT-GO!!, Reddick is STARTING-ALREADY STARTED-GOING.

Against fastballs, hitters need to develop power quickly. Very quickly. Just for a second, let's consider another movement, the high jump. To maximize our jump, we perform a counter-movement and explode out of that loaded position. We don't perform the counter-movement, then slowly extend our hips, knees, and ankles. Same in hitting. We want to time our movements so we generate force quickly. The stride is used largely to generate a body stretch to maximize force. By allowing the rear arm to start working too early, Reddick is losing the stretch, reducing his ability to generate bat speed. By starting too early, he is often late.

By starting early, Reddick also limits his ability to adjust to variations in pitch speeds. Guys with a descent fastball and hook are going to give him trouble. We see from the 2012 numbers, we see negative values for fastballs and curveballs - the pitches with the largest velocity difference. In 2013, it looks like Reddick is waiting a little longer for the curveballs, but now he is really behind the fastballs.

I would like to see Reddick improve his one swing flaw, but that probably won't happen. So considering he sees about 60% fastballs, I think he should speed up and do damage on the fastballs. -5.5 on fastballs isn't going to cut it.