Bouncing Back: Alex Rios
Looking for reasons to explain Alex Rios’ bounceback from a down year in 2008 and a simply bad year in 2009, all you have to do is look to the hands.
Rios lowered his hands considerably this year. Compare the clips below. The clips on the left are from 2009 and the clips on the right are from 2010.
*Credit to MLB Advanced Media
The adjustment helped Rios on a couple of levels:
1. He’s improved the leverage in his swing by altering the trajectory of his swing path. The bat’s path is less linear than what it was before and he’s now better able to drive balls that are between thigh and letter high.
2. He’s shortened his swing. In loading his bat, Rios now moves his hands up whereas he moved his hands slightly up and back in 2009, which resulted in a longer swing. If you compare the two swings at the point of where Rios makes his first aggressive move forward with the bat, you’ll see the shorter distance to the hitting zone comes from his 2010 swing.
With a simple adjustment — plus the break he took from baseball after a tumultuous 2009 season — Rios has returned to his 2006 and 2007 levels of productivity, except this time he’s making contact at rates he has yet to do so before.
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