MLB Power Rankings: 23 Quirkiest Batting Stances in Baseball

Jeffrey BeckmannCorrespondent IJune 8, 2011

MLB Power Rankings: 23 Quirkiest Batting Stances in Baseball

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    NEW YORK, NY - MAY 14:  Kevin Youkilis #20 of the Boston Red Sox bats against the New York Yankees on May 14, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    MLB has seen many unorthodox batting stances throughout its storied history. Legends like Ty Cobb, Stan Musial and Rickey Henderson all had their own unique way of getting the job done.

    One thing is for sure—no two batting stances are alike.

    The thing about baseball players is that they are always striving for perfection, so their batting stances may change numerous times throughout a season. A tweak here and there is all it takes to get a guy back on track.

    The guys on this list, however, have especially unique stances whether they tinker with them or not. Some leave me wondering how they can even hit a baseball standing in such an awkward position.

    Upon completion, I challenge you all to head to your local batting cages to give a few of them a try.

    Here are the 23 Quirkiest Batting Stances in Baseball.


23. Melvin Mora (Arizona Diamondbacks)

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    NEW YORK - MAY 19:  Melvin Mora #6 of the Baltimore Orioles bats against the New York Yankees on May 19, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Before I got married, I was always first in line to buy the new MLB game on PS3. These days, if you want to know the latest castoff on DWTS or The Bachelorette, then I am your go-to guy (Ashley, your constant crying makes me very uncomfortable).

    Anyway, I'm sure the game always exaggerated Mora's unorthodox stance, but it bugged me to all hell. The fact that he looks like he is sitting on a seatless bicycle doesn't help.

22. Carlos Quentin (Chicago White Sox)

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    GOODYEAR, AZ - MARCH 02:  Carlos Quentin #20 of the Chicago White Sox gets ready in the batters box against the Cincinnati Reds during a spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark on March 2, 2011 in Goodyear, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
    Norm Hall/Getty Images

    A lot of people still bicker about Carlos Quentin's batting stance, although I don't see any real issues other than the fact he seems to hide his face near his armpit while holding that bat well over his head.

    This beats the open, high-armed stance Quentin used through part of last season. With 14 home runs and a league-leading 20 doubles so far this season, I'd say the modification has helped.

21. Denard Span (Minnesota Twins)

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    OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 06:  Denard Span #2 of the Minnesota Twins in action against the Oakland Athletics during an MLB game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on June 6, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Denard Span does a modified version of the bat waggle—although he appears to hold the bat a lot closer to his body than the usual waggler.

    When the movie Happy Gilmore came out, we all tried out the running swing of the golf club. Similarly, any of us who grew up watching Gary Sheffield tried the bat waggle at some point in time.

    Unfortunately, not many have found similar success with the unusual stance—and Span is no exception. 

20. Prince Fielder (Milwaukee Brewers)

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    Prince Fielder has the meanest-looking stance in all of baseball.

    Maybe it's Prince himself and not the stance, but either way I wouldn't want to be staring him down from the pitcher's mound.

    He is short, stocky and he manages to hide the bat behind is large "frame." Prince's mean stance has helped him to 15 homers and 50 RBI so far this season. 

19. Curtis Granderson (New York Yankees)

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    OAKLAND, CA - MAY 30:  Curtis Granderson #14 of the New York Yankees bats against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on May 30, 2011 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Curtis Granderson has a pretty sweet-looking batting stance that enables him to generate power not generally seen from players of his stature.

    He already has 17 homers on the season and, most importantly, he has been the biggest stud on my fantasy baseball team so far.

    Now if only I hadn't drafted Alex Rios. 

18. Russell Martin (New York Yankees)

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    Russell Martin used to be one of the best catchers in the game, and he's even having a comeback year with the New York Yankees so far in 2011.

    Maybe it's because he is a catcher, but every season his knees buckle a bit closer to one another while his body sinks closer to the ground in his wide batting stance.  

17. Shelley Duncan (Cleveland Indians)

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    3 Mar 1999:  Pitcher Shelley Duncan #18 of the University of Arizona Wildcats at bat during the Spring Training game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at the Tucson Electric Park in Tucson, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Wildcats 6-1. Mandatory Cre
    Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

    The enthusiastic Shelley Duncan is best known for writing "Red Sox Suck" on the notebook of a young Boston Red Sox fan while he was a bench player for the New York Yankees.

    Other than that he has a pretty lazy-like batting stance—resting the bat squarely on his shoulder. You'd think a lucky-to-be bench player would show a little more enthusiasm at the plate. 

16. Magglio Ordonez (Detroit Tigers)

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    OAKLAND, CA - MAY 20:  Magglio Ordonez #30 of the Detroit Tigers bats against the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on May 20, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    I think Magglio Ordonez took it literally when his parents told him to reach for the stars as a youngster—as you will notice by his freakishly high bat placement.

    With a .310 career batting average and almost 300 home runs, I guess I'd have to say he's done his parents proud. 

15. Orlando Cabrera (Cleveland Indians)

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    CINCINNATI - MAY 16:  Orlando Cabrera #2 of the Cincinnati Reds is at bat during the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park on May 16, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    I don't know why, but in my opinion Orlando Cabrera has the coolest stance in baseball. 

    O-Cab comes to the plate with a little bit of swagger to go along with a deathly stare.

    Most of it is unwarranted, as Cabrera's .273 career average doesn't put much fear into opposing pitchers.

14. Lance Berkman (St. Louis Cardinals)

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    We see the same old stance, yet a refreshingly new Lance Berkman.

    The cool thing is, Berkman has two different (but relatively the same) batting stances since he is a switch-hitter.

    I don't know what it is about his stance that has always irked me the wrong way, but maybe one of you all could tell me why I think it looks absolutely horrible?

    Maybe it's because he has always played for my Brew Crew's NL Central rivals in the Astros and Cards, but as an unbiased writer I like to think it's purely baseball.


13. Coco Crisp (Oakland Athletics)

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    Yes people, Coville Crisp was actually nicknamed after the tasty cereal. Apparently his siblings thought he resembled one of the cartoon characters on the box.

    At first look, Crisp seems to have a fairly traditional batting stance. If you look closer, however, you will notice Crisp's chin resting comfortably on his shoulder while his fingers are going snap, crackle and pop.

12. Adam LaRoche (Washington Nationals)

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    Not only does Adam LaRoche have an awkward stance, but it is probably the ugliest stance in all of baseball.

    He stands straight up in his stance with his body facing right field. Can you make it any more obvious that you're a pull hitter?

    Although he is batting a paltry .142 so far this season—if history proves right—LaRoche will start making contact sometime within the next few weeks.

11. Carl Crawford (Boston Red Sox)

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    Carl Crawford is one of the more exciting players in all of MLB. By the looks of his batting stance he is trying to get a head start to first base when he lines up at the plate.

    Crawford is known for his speed and is a career .294 hitter. I'd say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," but with a .248 average in his first season with Boston, some Red Sox fans may disagree.

10. Ian Kinsler (Texas Rangers)

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    Why does Ian Kinsler twitch so much while getting ready at the plate? It is definitely funky, but he seems to get the job done when he manages to stay healthy.

    Kinsler drops the bat in the back of his stance before compulsively twitching as he rises up as the pitch is being delivered. 

    Odd? Yes. But you can't argue with the results.

9. Mike Aviles (Kansas City Royals)

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    NEW YORK - JULY 25:  Mike Aviles #30 of the Kansas City Royals in action against  the New York Yankees during their game on July 25, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Mike Aviles' batting stance is straight up gangster. Personally, I am just glad he cut back on the cute "bat twirl" he had been doing the last few years.

    I hear Aviles is an extremely hard worker, which I highly respect. I just think if he modified his stance to something more traditional then he might be able to hit the outside pitches—which has had a large impact on his .220 batting average so far in 2011.  

8. Rickie Weeks (Milwaukee Brewers)

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    Rickie Weeks and his batting stance are quite the anomaly. 

    During his senior season at Southern University in 2003, Weeks set the NCAA record with a .500 batting average—leading the Brewers to select the second baseman with the second overall pick in that year's draft.

    When Weeks arrived at Brewers camp, for some reason he decided he wanted to carry on the Gary Sheffield tradition with the bat waggle—albeit a much less intense version where he looks like he just forgot to take some ADHD meds.

    Unfortunately, Weeks is a career .256 hitter to date—leaving at least myself to wonder why he changed his stance.

7. Jason Varitek (Boston Red Sox)

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    ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 22:  Jason Varitek #33 of the Boston Red Sox stands ready at bat during the game against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark July 22, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Red Sox captain has always had an awkward-looking stance—almost as if he was trying to point the end of the bat right back at the pitchers head.

    Opposing pitchers should not feel threatened, however, as Varitek forgot how to hit a baseball about five years ago.

6. Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals)

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    ATLANTA, GA - MAY 01:  Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 1, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    It's hard to knock on Pujols—who has one of the prettiest swings in all of baseball. That doesn't make his unusual batting stance any less awkward.

    Pujols has a more intense version of the Aaron Rowand "unloading" stance—almost as if he going to drop gold right before our very eyes.

5. Craig Counsell (Milwaukee Brewers)

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    MILWAUKEE - MAY 20: Craig Counsell #30 of the Milwaukee Brewers stands ready at bat against the Minnesota Twins on May 20, 2007 at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Brewers defeated the Twins 6-5. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Although he modified his stance to a less intense version of the former heading into the 2009 season, Counsell has always had a stance that made a person look twice.

    Counsell looked as if he was trying to stand at the "Position of Attention" while clenching his butt-cheeks as tight as possible with his back almost entirely facing towards the pitcher.

    Counsell is probably best known for scoring the winning run in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series as the Florida Marlins took down the Indians.

4. Ichiro Suzuki (Seattle Mariners)

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    If Ichiro Suzuki would have played his entire professional career in MLB, he would surely have had a great chance at breaking Pete Rose's hits record.

    I've heard people say that Ichiro has never come to bat with the same stance twice. Not only does it look awkward but it seems extremely uncomfortable.

    You gotta admire the guy, though.

3. Alex Rios (Chicago White Sox)

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    SEATTLE - MAY 06:  Alex Rios #51 of the Chicago White Sox bats against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on May 6, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners won 3-2. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Alex Rios has quite possibly the laziest batting stance in MLB history.

    Everything about his stance screams lazy—almost as if his legs can't support his body weight and his knees are buckling beneath him as he struggles to fight gravity.

    Rios is 6' 5" and he wastes a lot of leverage by crouching so low—not to mention it is that much harder to square up on a pitch from his ridiculous positioning.

    Is it a coincidence Rios can't get his batting average above the Mendoza Line?

2. Aaron Rowand (San Francisco Giants)

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    Aaron Rowand is known for two things: routinely hurting himself while making stellar plays in the outfield and his sheepishly weird batting stance.

    Every time I see Rowand come to the plate, I find myself checking to see if he brought the newspaper and some toilet paper along with him.

    He definitely appears to be unloading something—and it sure as heck isn't the baseball.

1. Kevin Youkilis (Boston Red Sox)

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    If there was one guy in baseball I could grab a beer with it would probably be Kevin Youkilis. He seems like he'd be a fun dude to hang with.

    We've all experienced the "broken seal" during a long night of partying. Well, Youk' appears to be fighting that seal every time he steps to the plate—which inevitably leads to the pee-pee dance.

    Doesn't seem to matter, as the two-time All-Star continues to get the job done.