Picking All 30 MLB Teams' Most Ridiculous-Looking Batting Stance
MLB players can often assert their individuality through batting stances.
They are the personalized rituals that focus the athletes' minds and bodies prior to each plate appearance. Many of the countless variations, however, look totally ridiculous.
Of course, there are some boring sluggers out there. Adam Dunn and Albert Pujols, for example, hardly budge until the pitch is upon them.
That's no fun.
Thankfully, every team currently has at least one such character who sets up awkwardly. I've linked and embedded videos so that we can laugh at them together!
*Unless otherwise specified, all links lead to MLB.com video clips.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Paul Goldschmidt
We begin with Paul Goldschmidt, who's quietly emerging as a premier first baseman in the National League (triple-slash line: .299/.358/.532).
He stays relatively calm at the plate but deserves derision for angling the bat toward the ground.
Goldy doesn't break out of his stance until the opposing pitcher begins to wind up.
Atlanta Braves: Martin Prado
The most distinct feature of Martin Prado's stance is his bat waggle.
He's flirting with a .300 batting average this season despite that wasted movement.
If his momentum was going forward and back (a la Gary Sheffield), then I'd understand it. Instead, Prado has to abruptly come to a standstill.
Honorable Mention: Jason Heyward, who sets up about a mile from home plate (video).
Baltimore Orioles: Robert Andino
Most stances on this list were given unique analysis, but Robert Andino mimics the aforementioned Martin Prado.
It's not impossible for two guys to independently come up with the same routine, especially when they have age, size and handedness in common.
The only variation? Andino opens up, whereas Prado is slightly closed.
Both are equally ridiculous.
Boston Red Sox: Mike Aviles
Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
Many hitters invent original, repeatable timing mechanisms that keep them loose while the opposing battery decides which pitch to throw.
Mike Aviles' is extremely pronounced.
He twirls the bat in wide circles but slows down at the end of each rotation to avoid smashing his own skull.
Watch it at full speed.
Chicago Cubs: Darwin Barney
Darwin Barney and Gar Ryness (aka Batting Stance Guy) complement one another perfectly. The latter loves to imitate batting stances, and of all Chicago Cubs players, Barney has the goofiest.
The second baseman constantly rocks his bat back and forth. It points up, then rests on his shoulder, then points up, then rests again and so on.
Crouching down condenses him to about five-and-a-half feet tall.
Chicago White Sox: Kevin Youkilis
Fans and teammates will tease Kevin Youkilis until retirement, and probably for many years beyond that. They're jealous, obviously.
Youk actually held the bat differently as a collegiate and minor league player (h/t Alex Speier of WEEI.com).
Be grateful, readers, as legendary stances like his only come through once in a generation.
Cincinnati Reds: Brandon Phillips
The creativity of Brandon Phillips manifests itself through his behind-the-back passes from second base, as well as this unconventional offensive approach.
Phillips leans over the plate and lowers his center of gravity.
Year in, year out, he's a very productive middle infielder.
Honorable Mention: Scott Rolen. Watch his front foot (video).
Cleveland Indians: Shelley Duncan
Jason Miller/Getty Images
Shelley Duncan doesn't receive any style points.
His widespread stance is among the ugliest you'll see at the MLB level.
He can find consolation in the fact that—when contact is actually made—the ball flies off his bat.
Colorado Rockies: Eric Young
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Eric Young couldn't flaunt his blazing speed in previous MLB stints because he rarely made solid contact.
Now, he's igniting the Colorado Rockies lineup with an improved, restless stance.
The shaking bat will catch your eye, but also watch as he shimmies his front knee.
Detroit Tigers: Alex Avila
Alex Avila may be the only hunchbacked player in the big leagues. That hasn't stopped him from becoming a potent presence at the plate.
Houston Astros: J.D. Martinez
I used an old minor league clip of recently demoted J.D. Martinez.
His stance seems pretty mundane when he first steps into the batter's box. Then, his legs separate farther apart.
His bat is already lowered as he waits for the pitch, so Martinez doesn't even take a full swing.
Kansas City Royals: Chris Getz
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
It's no wonder that Chris Getz has only slugged two home runs since debuting in 2008.
In his stance, he keeps his hands above his head, so every swing connects with the top of the ball. That primarily leads to weak ground balls and soft line drives.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Kendrys Morales
His knees are practically crossed from the get-go. They touch together before Kendrys Morales completes his stride.
Indeed, switch-hitters are a kooky breed.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Luis Cruz
Josh Hedges/Getty Images
The acquisition of Hanley Ramirez and return of Adam Kennedy from the disabled list should be celebrated.
Keep in mind, though, that those two take away playing time from infielder Luis Cruz. Down the stretch, we'll rarely see the most interesting batting stance on the team.
Spending parts of 12 professional seasons with six different MLB franchises has given Cruz ample time to tweak it.
Miami Marlins: Ricky Nolasco
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
None of the Miami Marlins position players look particularly ridiculous during at-bats.
Ricky Nolasco to the rescue!
The light-hitting right-hander anxiously bobs the bat when given the opportunity every fifth day.
He was a bit too amped one evening this past May. Nolasco stroked a two-run double, but preceded it by smacking his own shoulder.
Milwaukee Brewers: Norichika Aoki
Between the posting fee and multi-year contract, the Milwaukee Brewers paid $5 million for outfielder Norichika Aoki.
Seven months after the signing was made official, it's looking like a very team-friendly deal.
Other MLB suitors may have been deterred by his eccentric stance. His arms repeatedly wobble, and then there's that exaggerated leg lift.
Anyway, he has found success in the U.S.
Honorable Mention: Rickie Weeks, who can't keep his front foot still (video).
Minnesota Twins: Trevor Plouffe
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Trevor Plouffe's legs must be different lengths.
In his stance, the back leg is bent while the other is perfectly straight, yet everything from the waist up appears aligned.
New York Mets: Ike Davis
Ike Davis rotates the bat over his head again and again and again. It's no problem, as long as he remembers to eventually bring it down.
The highlight of his summer thus far was launching three home runs versus his hometown Arizona Diamondbacks.
New York Yankees: Ichiro Suzuki
Ichiro Suzuki is a no-doubt, first-ballot Hall of Famer, revered by all his peers.
Out of respect, I refrain from teasing him.
His routine is unorthodox, to say the least. Inspiration for it must have come directly from the baseball deities.
Honorable Mentions: Mark Teixeira. He's as antsy as anyone (video).
Oakland Athletics: Coco Crisp
The oddity is in the fingers of his left hand. Coco Crisp will constantly adjust his grip until the last second.
Philadelphia Phillies: Placido Polanco
Hunter Martin/Getty Images
Placido Polanco is on pace for his lowest batting average since 1998!
His elbow juts out from the rest of him, and that's to blame for his utter lack of power.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Rod Barajas
Rod Barajas is also declining. The veteran backstop is mired in a lengthy slump that has seen his batting average plunge below the Mendoza Line.
A little less upper-body movement may do him some good.
San Diego Padres: Carlos Quentin
Someday, Carlos Quentin's front elbow is actually going to hit him on the jaw (video).
His swing was more level in 2009, when Batting Stance Guy performed this impersonation.
San Francisco Giants: Hunter Pence
Nothing about Hunter Pence's game is pretty. His sliding catch on August 11 certainly wasn't.
Earlier this season, these broadcasters described his offensive approach as "bad-looking," and I can't disagree.
You wouldn't guess it from all the fidgeting and choppy practice swings, but this guy is a career .288/.340/.478 hitter.
Pence sacrifices aesthetics for effectiveness.
Honorable Mention: Pablo Sandoval. This YouTube video captures his entire ritual.
Seattle Mariners: Michael Saunders
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Two things stick out: the way his body points toward first base and his tendency to pull the bat back behind his shoulder before following through.
St. Louis Cardinals: Jon Jay
Jon Jay rests the bat on his shoulder until the last possible millisecond.
I have found it easy to root for this University of Miami alum because 1) I currently attend the institution, and 2) it never looks like he'll be able to catch up to a fastball.
Honestly, though, a .300 hitter doesn't need our sympathy.
Tampa Bay Rays: Jeff Keppinger
Jeff Keppinger—now a member of the Tampa Bay Rays—uses every inch of the batter's box.
Perhaps he's worried that somebody will step inside the chalk with him if his left leg doesn't reach that far corner.
That's an irrational fear. Somebody ought to let him know.
Fun fact: Keppinger's career strikeout rate (once every 14.73 at-bats) is second-best among active players.
Texas Rangers: Ian Kinsler
The epitome of hyperactive.
Ian Kinsler wiggles from head to toe. He even twists at the hip to loosen up.
His past coaches may have been tempted to tamper with it, but there's really nothing to fix. Kinsler has produced at every amateur and professional level.
Toronto Blue Jays: Brett Lawrie
Brett Lawrie is also very eager to hit—either that or there's something in his pants that makes it difficult for him to stand still.
He simultaneously taps his front foot and guides the bat on Mike Aviles-esque revolutions.
Once Lawrie learned to pat his head while rubbing his belly, he graduated to this trick.
Honorable Mention: Jose Bautista
Washington Nationals: Michael Morse
Each Michael Morse plate appearance begins with a "Samurai Cobra Snake" warm-up. It reminds him to keep his weight back.
The slow-motion swing, though ridiculous-looking, is leading to great results.
Another one of Morse's quirks is holding the bat high and far from his body. That's easier to observe from a frontal camera angle.