I can’t really recall hearing Milwaukee shortstop J.J. Hardy discuss making a conscious effort to change his batting stance or approach at the plate this offseason, but I have noticed a very different-looking stance.
If you look at the photo above, you can see that Hardy has “opened up” his stance considerably. His right foot appears to be closer to the plate and his left foot appears to be close to the opposite edge of the batter’s box.
What has stuck out to me about this stance is that Hardy is often nearly outside the batter’s box with his back foot. Can that possibly be a good thing?
By no means am I a swing expert (though Joe can vouch that I do have a very natural cut), but it seems to me that Hardy’s new stance would make it much more difficult to protect the outside edge of the plate and I’d also think he’d lose some torque in his swing, resulting in less power.
The Brewers pay Dale Sveum and the other coaches a lot of money to keep an eye on things like this so I’m sure they’re very aware of it and maybe even advised Hardy to make the change, but Hardy’s new stance and his very slow start at the plate have made me wonder if the two things are connected.
In the end, Hardy is a very streaky hitter and he’s probably just in a down streak right now, but I thought it was at least worth mentioning since it’s really stood out to me so far this season.