Turns out the three exercise complexes for building strength and explosiveness are not the only things responsible for Curtis Granderson’s increased power at the plate. The New York Yankees center fielder also revamped his swing near the end of the 2010 season, and the results have been overwhelming: an increase in power output and newfound success against left-handed pitchers.
A career .213 hitter against lefties until this year, Granderson currently owns a higher average against southpaws than right-handers. And after four consecutive seasons with 20-plus home runs, he is on pace to club 51 deep balls this year.
Working with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long, Granderson aimed to rid his swing of excess movement, particularly with his hands. A “simpler and more compact, more explosive swing,” Long says. “A little shorter to the baseball-type look." [Watch analysis of Granderson's pre-altered swing below.]
Two simple adjustments helped Granderson take a more direct approach to the baseball: he opened his batting stance and shifted his hands back. Before he modified his swing, Granderson had a closed stance and held his hands up near his head, which contributed to the excess movement. By shifting his hands back, he keeps everything in his swing moving forward.
But perhaps the greatest adjustment in terms of power output was that Granderson now keeps both hands on the bat throughout the complete motion. Take this stat into account: since the swing makeover, his home run/fly ball rate has increased from 9.6 percent to over 22 percent.
With a third of the season in the books, Granderson has emerged as the most potent hitter in the game’s most potent lineup—thanks in large part to some simple swing corrections. His is just another example that sometimes the simpler, the better.
And, of course, don't forget those three exercise complexes. They supply the power behind Granderson’s revamped swing.