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16. Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves
Justin Upton features one of the best original swings in the game. There isn’t much to it at all.
He has a relatively long stride that helps him load all of his power into the release. He takes strong hacks at the ball with his bat moving fluidly through the strike zone.
One thing that I’ll critique him on is that it appears that he holds the bat too tight. He needs to relax more and that should help him with his approach at the plate. Being tense isn’t going to help his cause.
15. Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins
Giancarlo Stanton is one of the best power hitters in baseball, but his approach at the plate isn’t that great. He loads up for so long that when he finally releases to come back toward the incoming pitch, his head moves around a lot, which causes all of those strikeouts.
Having your head fly out is a common error among hitters. If Stanton could perfect that, he’d be even more unstoppable than he already is. He just needs to keep everything together and all going in the same direction.
14. Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
Andrew McCutchen has a very good swing because of how balanced he is at the plate. His form couldn’t be any better and his numbers are certainly a product of that. He keeps his eye on the ball, doesn’t let any part of his body fly open and sees good results.
I’m not the biggest fan of his high leg pickup as he gets ready to attack the baseball, but there’s no sense in trying to tweak his swing. One thing that I’d like to see McCutchen do a couple of times is swing with two hands instead of one. I’d be interested to see if there was much of a difference.
13. Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves
As you can probably tell already, I don’t like all of the moving parts that some batters show off when they step up to the plate. Jason Heyward is one of those players, but I still love how he’s able to make it all work. Literally everything is moving, from his hands to his hips.
He also has that little stutter step, which I feel that he’ll eventually kick to the curb. He has great hands and seems to be extremely relaxed in the batter’s box. It’s tough not to like something that works so well, even if there are things you’d do differently.
12. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
The best young player in baseball also has one heck of a swing. I actually don’t have a problem with his pre-swing movement because it’s rather subtle and doesn’t seem to have a big effect on him. He does have a rather high leg raise, but it’s part of how he generates so much power.
The main component, though, are his hands. He has crazy fast hands that move through the zone so quickly you don’t even realize it. He has great balance and a very fluid motion through the zone. Everything just clicks.
11. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
Joey Votto is one great hitter and he doesn’t get enough credit for how sweet of a swing he has. He doesn’t fly open, he keeps his eye on the ball and makes hard contact each time he takes a cut.
Of course, you already know I’m going to comment on the leg raise. It’s really much too high. I understand that it helps him generate power and time pitches better, but even if he lowered it a tad I think he’d see good results. The shorter the swing the better.