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Bat Drag vs. Bat Lag

Bat Drag and Bat Lag are two terms that are often used inter-changably. While that is understandable -- the two terms are quite similar -- it's problematic because Bat Drag is bad while Bat Lag is good.

Bat Drag

As I explain in greater detail in my piece on the subject, Bat Drag occurs when the hitter's back elbow slides forward of their back hip and under their front elbow, causing them to make contact farther out front than is typical. Bat Drag may also cause the barrel to dump down out of the plane of the swing.

Bat Drag

Bat Drag

Bat Drag is usually caused by the hitter trying to power their swing with their arms, and with their back arm in particular.

Bat Drag

Bat Drag

Bat Lag

Bat Lag is a normal stage of a high-level swing. As the hands rotate around the hitter's body, the barrel will tend to lag behind the hands. In most cases, the result will be a 90 degree angle between the front forearm and the barrel of the bat.

Bat Lag

Bat Lag

Bat Lag

Bat Lag

Generally, the longer the hitter can hold this lag position -- and many hitters can maintain this lag position through rotation to the point where the barrel is pointing back at the catcher -- the more powerful the swing will be. In the best swings, only at the last second will the bat come out of the lag position and rotate around and through the Point Of Contact.

Bat Lag vs. Bat Drag

The frame below shows Albert Pujols just coming out of the Bat Lag position, with the barrel of his bat lagging behind his hands and pointing back at the catcher.

Albert Pujols in the Bat Lag Position

Albert Pujols in the Bat Lag Position

Notice that Albert Pujols' back elbow is at his back hip. As a result, his hands are connected to and rotating just ahead of his back shoulder.

Bat Drag

Bat Drag

In contrast, in the pictures above and below, which show what hitters with Bat Drag look like at the Bat Lag position, notice how their back elbows have slid forward of their back hips and how their hands are rotating in line with their shoulders instead of ahead of their back shoulders.

Bat Drag

Bat Drag

That is a problem because it will change where, when, and how the barrel will whip through the strike zone.

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