Jeff Sullivan on Andrew McCutchen’s swing

Yesterday I linked to Forbes to Federal’s excellent analysis of Andrew McCutchen’s slump, and today at FOX, Jeff Sullivan takes the analysis of McCutchen’s swing a bit further to fully diagnose what’s wrong with the Pirates’ best player. In short, if you look at the McCutchen of the past you can see him drive so hard off of his back foot that it very slightly kicks off of the ground (see the above image), forcing the weight transfer to his left foot that creates the incredible batspeed and torque that makes Andrew McCutchen Andrew McCutchen. This year, the drive off of the back foot is diminished; it doesn’t hop up off of the ground, and the weight doesn’t transfer as dramatically. This makes tons of sense for a guy that dealt with (is dealing with?) a left knee problem. If he is or was protecting the knee, the weight transfer would be much less dramatic, and he’d be unable to hit the ball as hard. If you haven’t, you should read both stories; you can see how the diminished weight transfer that Sullivan notices would lead to ‘Cutch swinging with all arms and flying open the way Forbes to Federal notices.

I also love this for a second reason: the different ways that swings are unique always amaze me. There is no coach in the world that would tell a young player to drive so hard off of his back foot that it actually comes up off of the ground. In fact, it’s entirely possible that it’s something that evolved unconsciously for McCutchen in a way that he didn’t even realize he was doing it.

In any case, it’s great to have a diagnosis; it’ll be interesting to watch McCutchen going forward to see if he and the Pirates can address it.

Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.