The Hangover: Wil Myers Homers Again, Still Has Weird Swing Mechanics

The modern-day swing is all about bat speed (and launch angles!), borne out of strong hitters and maximum weight transfer. Today’s hitters generally start with some type of load mechanism, with their weight shifting back. Then, in a sudden shift of power, everything goes forward in violent yet controlled fury.

A hitter’s back leg is there to support that initial load and to provide something to pivot against, but by the time a hitter makes contact, it’s really just there for the ride. Here’s Mike Trout‘s first career home run (from hitting analyst Ryan Parker):

At contact, Trout is in the same familiar position as most good hitters:

2017-05-17-2

The back leg is bent, and the back foot is only barely touching the ground. The front leg is stiff, with the foot slightly open. This is pretty typical.

This is not Wil Myers.

Ever since Sac Bunt Chris noticed Myers’ strange back foot/leg mechanics, I’ve been fascinated by them. I wrote about Myers a couple times last year at Baseball Prospectus, at one point touching on his swing mechanics.

Here’s the original Myers gif, from Chris’s first article:

And here’s a side-by-side from one of my articles at BP, comparing Myers at contact to Trout’s teammate Albert Pujols:

2017-05-17-4

And finally, to finish the regurgitation of old material, here’s what I wrote last year about the above image:

Note how Pujols’ back leg—and his entire backside—is into the swing. Myers is all upper body, seemingly too stiff and upright and arms-y, losing valuable pop by neglecting to use the full rotational force of his lower half. There have always been some concerns about the finer points of Myers’ swing, though he’s also largely succeeded with it. If he’s going to tap further into his power potential, though, his swing—and plate approach, in general—could probably use an offseason tune-up.

Of course, Myers is taping into that power potential this season. With last night’s home run, his 11th on the year, Myers’ ISO is up to .287, 14th-best in the league, and his wRC+ sits at a good-almost-great 135. The mechanics, however, remain unchanged. Check out any of Myers’ home runs—any of his swings, really—and you’ll notice some variation of those strange back leg mechanics just about every time, including on last night’s round-tripper.

Here’s an image tweeted by East Village Times of a Myers home run against Chicago (it’s after contact, but still), just in case you don’t believe me:

Look at that back leg! Shoot, look at the front leg. At and just after contact, Myers’ lower body looks like that of the eighth hitter on your old Little League team (sorry if that was you).

I’m not a hitting expert, so I’m not sure what it means. Myers is clearly able to get enough bat speed the way he’s rolling, but it still feels like there’s maybe another gear there if he were to clean those mechanics up and better utilize his lower half. Then again, it’s always dangerous to tinker with something that’s working, and maybe this is just part of Myers’ DNA as a hitter.

It sure is an entertaining wrinkle, at least.

You are encouraged to comment using an exisitng Twitter, Facebook, or Google account. Upvote comments you find helpful, and only downvote comments that do not belong. The downvote is not a 'disagree' button.

  • ballybunion

    Well, He’s hitting better than when he arrived, after Alan Zinter got him to lift that front foot higher to begin his swing. Zinter also worked with Hedges before his excellent 2016 in El Paso, and he’s still doing it with the bat (after that oh-for-24).

    I remember reading how Hedges went deeply into the mechanics of the swing with Zinter, while Myers wanted to keep the swing keys as simple as possible. Zinter apparently found a couple keys for Myers to take full advantage of the upper body portion of his swing.

    There’s no one perfect swing in baseball. Don’t forget 1996, when Ken Caminiti hit 40 homers with a bad shoulder, using his legs, and Mike Piazza hit 36 with a bad leg, using his upper body.

    • No doubt. It’s definitely working, so it’s not really a concern. I guess it’s mostly a curiosity at this point, though I still think working on it could help at some point.

      • ballybunion

        Yeah, you’re right – it’s not a concern NOW, but he can do things at 26 that will probably be tougher to do when he’s older, though he’s no George Burns (“I can do the same things at 90 that I could do at 18, which tells you how pathetic I was at 18”). At some point he’ll have to work on the lower body portion of the swing, and it’ll be while he’s still under that contract.