Jason Heyward’s New (Old?) Swing on Display in BP Video from Mesa
Say what you want about Jason Heyward, the Gold Glover’s work ethic is admirable. Immediately after celebrating a World Series title in 2016, he was cage working on retooling his swing. And once again this offseason, Heyward was hard at work trying to find a comfort level with his mechanics. It’s still very early, but the preliminary results look different in a good way.
If you remember, Heyward lowered his hands last offseason and almost mirrored Anthony Rizzo’s batting stance. But while he started his lands lower, he still showed the same shoulder tuck-in and maddening hand-wringing from previous seasons.
As you can see from the video of one of Heyward’s first BP sessions this spring below, his mechanics look a little different once again. The idiosyncrasies look to be less dramatic and he has raised the starting position of his hands slightly. The angles in the side-by-side below* aren’t identical, but you can still pick up the difference between 2017 (left) and now (right), especially the pre-swing movement.
In case you’re viewing at work (shame, shame) and can’t see the YouTube vid, click here for a standard video format. And if you can’t discern the changes from the moving pictures, here’s a still that allows you a little closer look at exactly what’s different with the hand placement:
Chilli Davis, the new Cubs hitting coach, might have already given the answer to why Heyward made these modifications.
‘‘We’re trying to bring [Heyward] back a little closer to [when he hit 27 homers with the Braves],’’ Davis said of what he’s working on with the outfielder.
So Davis wants Heyward to embrace his rookie days. It’s no coincidence, then, that Heyward’s “new” swing resembles that from 2010, when he launched his first big league homer off of Big Z in his first at-bat.