The Ferocious Swing of Hanley Ramirez
Ferocious — almost violent — yet under control. That’s how I would describe Hanley Ramirez’s swing and it’s why I love it.
In 2008, Ramirez would use a toe tap as his timing mechanism and then stride forward with his front foot getting only a few inches off the ground. This year, Ramirez has a big, aggressive leg kick, which leads to a more violent planting. Both are effective and it really just comes down to a player’s personal preference and what feels most comfortable. The 2008 Ramirez is on the left, while the 2009 version is on the right:
But looking at the most recent version of Ramirez, we see him carry his weight forward, while simultaneously loading his hands and moving his torso slightly in the opposite direction, creating a tremendous amount of separation between his torso and hips. Ramirez is able to keep his swing short by keeping the bat connected to his body.
Turning to the point in which Ramirez plants his front foot — as I mentioned earlier, it’s a violent plant, leading to a more aggressive rotation of his hips.
On both pitches, Ramirez is adjusting to an 86 mph off-speed offering. So he plants, recognizes the slower velocity — and basically digs in, carrying his weight forward and holding his hands back for just a fraction of a second longer.
Now, this is where Ramirez’s natural talent comes into play. He can accelerate the bat through the hitting zone with a tremendous amount of force in very tiny period of time. He simply explodes on the ball and it’s a beautiful thing to watch. Look at how little distance Ramirez needs to generate upper-echelon bat speed. You want to see an optimal blend of bat speed and quickness, Ramirez has it.
Ramirez lets the ball travel deep into his hitting zone and turns the hands and hips together on a very firm front leg. At contact, the arms extend and the ball explodes off his bat. Throughout this entire process, Ramirez’s head is stable, making it easier for him to track the ball out of the pitcher’s hand.
Last thing I want to mention are the actions of Ramirez’s back leg. First, you can use the back leg as an indicator of the kind of intent Ramirez uses to swing with. The back foot comes off the ground and almost slams into his front leg. Second, you can see how the back leg turns seamlessly inward, indicating an efficient hip rotation. He’s getting his entire body into his swing instead of relying solely on his arms.
Added Graphic for sake of the discussion in the comments:
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