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Slow it down. Zoom in.

And from the side.

I love that the slow motion side view still looks incredibly fast. And the back leg comes like six inches off of the ground. Mercy.

A big thanks to Dylan Heuer for the GIFs.

  • jh03

    Oh boy. This page is going to be on my desktop all day. I’m amazed my computer didn’t block it for pornographic content….

    • Greenroom

      Hilarious

    • MattyNomad

      I tried uploading these GIF’s to Pornhub….they said they don’t accept abuse videos.

  • Seth

    Well these gifs are certainly going in the “special” folder on my computer.

  • Orval Overall

    The side view is incredible. So, so, so much bat speed.

    I’m no coach, and my own hitting mechanics were terrible the last time I checked, but is the back foot coming off the ground really a good thing? Seems like it would destabilize him.

    • Danny Ballgame

      Big Frank used to do that all the time and he was one of the best hitters of all time.

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        Frank Thomas also had a pitch recognition skill (his walk rate would have been a league average K rate) that was up there with the best of them.

        Baez has some amazing power and he puts everything into the swing. The raising of the back leg doesn’t occur until he has committed to his swing. With his bat speed, I doubt he will be able to adjust much mid-swing so I’d guess he’s just going to have swings where he guessed wrong and looks terrible.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I don’t believe it’s something you teach, but for some of the extreme power hitters, it’s a signal that they get so much weight transfer at the point of impact, that they can’t help but leave their back foot. Bryce Harper is the most notable current example.

    • tjesse2

      After two years of visiting this site, like, every day, I finally created a user profile to comment on the awesomeness that is The Swing of Javier Baez.

      In addition to idolizing The Big Hurt in the 90s, I obsessed about my hitting mechanics for most of my youth. My step-dad got me a copy of Ted Williams’s THE SCIENCE OF HITTING when I was 12, and I quickly followed that up with Charlie Lau’s THE ART OF HITTING .300 the next year. (George Brett was Lau’s most famous pupil, and one of Lau’s disciples, White Sox hitting coach Walt Hriniak, passed his lessons on to the young Frank Thomas and Robin Ventura in the early 1990s.) These two books teach very different approaches to maximizing a batter’s natural power, but nearly everything about the second half of Baez’s swing — from the stiff front leg to the top hand coming off the bat to the raised back leg — seems textbook Lau to me.

      (The first half, well, that’s another story.)

      Not everyone agrees with Lau’s approach, but the basic idea is to maximize weight transfer while keeping the hitter’s head still & eyes focused w/a one-handed, tension-less follow through. If anyone’s interested, here’s a far better summary of his methods than I could possibly convey:

      http://www.hardballtimes.com/cooperstown-confidential-the-tale-of-charley-lau/

      Long story short, what Baez is doing in this GIF is rare nowadays but was, at least to some, all the rage back in the day. Perhaps it’s making a comeback of sorts…?

      (And thanks, Brett, for writing the best Cubs blog on the ‘net. BN is always one of the best parts of my day.)

  • another JP

    Baez was literally jumping at the chance to cream that pitch.

  • dwest9cubs

    They compared the back leg rise to Frank Thomas. Like HALL OF FAMER Frank Thomas. If javy comes anywhere near that i will be soooooooo happy.

  • AA Correspondant

    Awesome!!

    I know what we’ve been reading…..but I’m startign to really wonder….is there any way he actually breaks camp wih the big club this season??

    We’ve got trade interest in Darwin Barney. Starlin Castro is a little banged up. The kid is crushing balls in spring training. What worry about service time clocks when the new trend is locking up players to 6 year deals after 1 or 2 years anyway. The Cubs really arent expected to be contenders, and I think learning at the big league level might actually be a good think for this kid. You think there is a shot??

    • TWC

      “I’m startign to really wonder….is there any way he actually breaks camp wih the big club?”

      No.

      “You think there is a shot??”

      Still no.

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        So what are we talking about. 1 in 100, 1 in 1000?

        • another JP

          More like one in a million… so there’s still a chance!

      • AA Correspondant

        I think you are right…..

        My point is that the concerns arent likely to be financial (anymore) because of the trend of locking up your youngsters early.

        But if they arent going to bring him up unless and until he can play every day then I suppose I can get behind that reasoning.

        Let’s play a quick “what-if”……if they trade Darwin Barney, would you rather play Bonafacio at 2nd or just let Baez play?

        • TWC

          “if they trade Darwin Barney, would you rather play Bonafacio at 2nd or just let Baez play?”

          Bonifacio (or Vabuena, or even Yosh Kiwano). For at least two weeks.

          • Fishin Phil

            I like Yosh’s bat, but I think his range may be a little limited at this point in his career. ;)

            • TWC

              Pfft.

              Yosh Kiwano = Darwin Barney 2.0

              • Patrick W.

                So Yosh Kiwano = Albert Almora.

                • jh03

                  Ha. You win.

                • TWC

                  Pretty much.

    • Edwin

      I think there is almost no shot. At the very least, I’m sure they’d like to see Baez perform in a more competative situation like AAA before making decisions simply off of spring training numbers. If Baez crushes it in AAA for a month, I think he should get called up as soon as possible.

  • http://bleachernation.com ramy16

    AA Correspondent..I think your on point..Javy can definitely add some joy to the cubs as well as fill the stands

  • Darth Ivy

    Ive been posting BN articles on facebook so often lately, I think I’m going to wait until monday to post this one. I dont want people to think I’m obsessed with the Cubs…..or to make that more accurate, I don’t want people to realize how obsessed I am with the Cubs.

  • CubsFaninMS

    AA Correspondent:

    It’s clear that, right now, Baez would likely hit combs in the Majors. There are plenty of MLB pitchers who will make mistakes with him… and he will capitalize. The two issues he needs to work out, though, are his strikeouts/chasing bad pitches and making adjustments. Good pitchers in the MLB will take advantage of his aggressiveness, as we’ve seen in several at bats during Spring Training. As we’ve seen with Sammy Sosa and Alfonso Soriano, many sluggers do not get a read on the curveball low and away and end up striking out a bunch as a result. As you probably noticed with both sluggers, their hot streaks always seemed to correlate with being able to lay off that pitch in spurts. If Baez is as good as either one of those two, we’ll be very happy, but there’s no reason not to leave him in AAA for awhile and ask him to work on his pitch selection. He’s competetive and will likely respond well to that. In regards to making adjustments, Baez did this very well skipping from High-A to AA, but when the league starts to figure him out.. how will he adjust? That may not be something we can accurately simulate in the minor leagues. When he lowers his strikeout rate to an acceptable range in AAA, I say that is a good time to bring him up. That and the cost considerations will make it an ideal time if it plays out that way. Will Baez be good in the MLB now? Yeah, he’s very likely an elite talent. Can he be better with some extra seasoning in the minors? That is highly likely.

    • TWC

      “As you probably noticed with both sluggers, their hot streaks always seemed to correlate with being able to lay off that pitch in spurts.”

      Oh, really? Please show your work.

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        I’m sure it has nothing to do with the quality of pitching they are facing.

        There is a SABR Conference video that looks at how hitters face against good/average/poor pitching. Good hitters have a very flat production curve. Chris Davis has a rather steep line.

    • CubsFaninMS

      *bombs, not combs. Jeez.

      • Darth Ivy

        haha, I thought that was an insider baseball term.

  • CubsFaninMS

    TWC:

    I’m a fan, not a statistician. I’ve watched the Cubs since 1987. Hopefully you can accept that I’m simply an observer making an observation.

    • TWC

      I can totally accept that. I just genuinely wanted to know if you had anything other than observation to support your claim.

      I hope you can accept that eyewitness testimony is the most unreliable form of evidentiary support.

      • CubsFaninMS

        Haha I realize. At the same time, though, there isn’t a stat for everything. Maybe some day.

        • TWC

          Ah, but there already exists the exact data that you would need to analyze that claim. (Assuming that the Pitch fX data goes back far enough.)

          Maybe someone who has a spare afternoon can review the data for us.

          • CubsFaninMS

            I agree. I’m at work so lacking in time. It would be interesting to see.

    • DarthHater

      “I just looked outside and saw that it’s raining,” is an observation.

      “Rain always correlates with a flare-up of my rheumatism,” is not an observation, It’s a conclusion based on statistical data.

      If you’re going to make statements about one baseball event always correlating with another, then it’s perfectly fair for someone to ask about the basis of that conclusion.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      “Fan” and “statistician” are not mutually exclusive conditions!

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        NO! Unless you obsess about these players using phrases like “Just looks like a ballplayer” and “He hustles really well” and the like, YOU.ARE.NOT.A.FAN

        Any use of “new-fangled-gobbledygook things” like OPS and K-rates and trying to connect the dots using anything other than your eyeballs revokes your fan card.

        • ssckelley

          Can there be a middle ground? I enjoy watching the games versus looking at stats, but I am liking that OPS thingamuhjig.

        • ssckelley

          Oh, and I am starting to dig that WAR thingy even though I don’t quite understand how it is computed. But I am one of those guys that will jump into a car and drive it even though I do not completely understand how the car moves (other than I put my foot onto this petal thingy).

  • http://kempfintl.com pfk

    Quote: “He’s starting a buzz,” Russell said. “It’s exciting to see the whole rebuilding thing show signs of life.”
    I’ve been saying for months that this year is going to be fun because as the season progresses the rebuild will show huge progress. Come August we will see 2-3 of them come up and settle in for the long haul – not just a “look.” In the meantime, we will follow the progress of the kids on the farm. And as we do that we will get answers for those already on the club; whose good, whose a bust, who has potential, where are the needs, etc. It is all a buildup to getting set for a very competitive 2015 and beyond. We will be able to see it all develop THIS summer. Record be damned! You can already see it and feel it – just like Russell said. I’m lovin the buzz!

    • Edwin

      I just hope 2015 doesn’t turn into a buzzkill.

      • http://kempfintl.com pfk

        LOL. I don’t think so. In fact, starting next year, this club is going to be very competitive year in and year out.

  • Jason B

    He almost rolled his left ankle there…hope that doesn’t become a problem…

  • MightyBear

    Thank you Brett. That was very enjoyable.

  • ssckelley

    Brett, need to add a “NSFW” to these types of threads.

  • Lows005

    In regards to the concern about his back leg, keep in mind that baseball is not a game of “absolutes”. Hank Aaron was a guy, at 5-11 and190 pounds, who was probably the most efficient hitter ever in terms of generating power. Balance, pitch recognition and bat speed are paramount. There are lots of theories out there about rotational, linear, BLAST systems, etc…At the end of the day, no matter who the player is, at the point of contact most of the successful hitters all look the same. How they start and finish is generally arbitrary. We’ve all watched baseball and can make reference to guys like Ichiro, Counsell, Bagwell, etc. Those guys were all very different as far as start and finish but point of contact would be the same as Cabrera, Bonds, Pujols, etc. The same typically goes for pitchers. I might start with my hands at my chest/face, waist or even be a guy like Kershaw or Maddux who takes the hands over the top of the head (timing mechanism). Whether it is Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver or guy who “flies forward” like Clippard the power position and balance points are pretty much the same. Kind of interesting to look at still pictures of players over the history of baseball and compare/contrast styles and techniques.

  • Bails17

    Everyone wants to compare him to Sheffield. I like this comparison a little better:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fFJVFPXmV8

    • Bails17

      Very similar movements..Javy is just more pronounced and more violent! If he ever learns to tone it down just a bit and cut down on the swing and miss factor…WATCH OUT. Could his ceiling be this guy?

      • Featherstone

        I dont recall Cabrera having elite bat speed. I think Cabrera has elite plate coverage, pitch recognition, and hit tool, coupled with plus power.

        As much as I love Baez, he will never be Cabrera.

        • Bails17

          I know everyone is talking about his bat speed. I am talking about his pre-swing movements and the way he uses his bottom half so well. Very similar angles going on in their swings. Again…Javy has more/bigger movements in his pre-swing…but once they get to the launch position it is damn close to identical. At 21 years old in the big leagues…Miggy struck out 148 times, hit, 33 HRs and a line of .294/.366/.512. And that is after a half season in the bigs already to make adjustments. I could see JBs numbers being similar in his first full season. And by the way…JB does have elite plate coverage, hit tool, with PLUS PLUS POWER. Pitch recognition might be very similar with these two at the same age. JUST SAYIN.

  • Cubsleeram

    Sincere question: Is Baez a capable off-speed hitter? I think every one of his HR’s that I’ve ever seen is off of a fastball.

    • GoCubsGo

      One of his homers this spring was on a change up.

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    I was watching Baez this morning on this homerun. Play, pause, play, pause… thing of beauty. Now, if you watch the original and blow it up, when they get to that side view, you’ll notice that one Cub in the dugout (too blurry to know who) gets an immediate O-Face the moment that the sound waves from bat on ball get to his ear.

    Here’s the shot:

    [img]https://doc-0o-1c-docs.googleusercontent.com/docs/securesc/g40qb7otf1guvhli1ik186bp32vgu62h/duibpgchh4f8igjovvsbb6s1hc7i3cb6/1395424800000/02585711918946206000/02585711918946206000/0B313AX9JehLUU0U2UUNCSWJoc2c?h=16653014193614665626[/img]

    And on closer investigation

    [img]https://doc-0k-1c-docs.googleusercontent.com/docs/securesc/g40qb7otf1guvhli1ik186bp32vgu62h/ib3pn7dsm86apcunbs55icbab5kbkdqe/1395424800000/02585711918946206000/02585711918946206000/0B313AX9JehLUS3hRN2pOWkxxZkE?h=16653014193614665626[/img]

    And yet closer (even the kid knows this is bad for the ball)…

    [img]https://doc-04-1c-docs.googleusercontent.com/docs/securesc/g40qb7otf1guvhli1ik186bp32vgu62h/7jl1qrkjp1som3jh3glvmdnc31g9ljog/1395424800000/02585711918946206000/02585711918946206000/0B313AX9JehLUQzluOTZGc2dvdUk?h=16653014193614665626[/img]

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