Get the Front Foot Down Early?
I'll never forget the moment that I first saw Shane Robinson.
It was in 2009 during Spring Training and he was a late-game
fill-in. As he stepped into the box, I started chuckling because
he was wearing a jersey that was at least two sizes too large. In
fact, I was laughing so hard that I totally missed the shot when
he crushed a home run over the left field corner.
Ever since that day, I have followed Shane Robinson. I am
interested in guys who exhibit disproportionate
power; power that would seem to far exceed their size.
As I have watched Shane Robinson and his swing, I have noticed
that he seems to follow a fairly common piece of advice, namely to "get
your front foot down early." I believe that his following
that advice may help to explain his relative lack of success at the
major league level.
As I explain in my (recently
updated) piece on
stride, in the best hitters' best swings, the planting of the
front heel launches the swing. It's not a coincidence that the best hitters have the
ability to delay the planting of the heel of their front foot
until they are ready to start their swing and it's time for their hips and
shoulders and the barrel to rotate around to the Point Of
In contrast, in my library I have numerous clips of Shane
Robinson where he gets his front foot down extremely early and then, for a
unusually large number
of frames, just sits there waiting for the pitch. Invariably, the
result is a lunge-y, arm-y swing and a weakly-hit ball (if he
manages to make contact at all).
Perhaps the problem is with Shane Robinson's eye; that he
can't see major-league off-speed pitch. I'm sure that's what some
people are thinking and saying.
However, when I look at clips of
Shane Robinson's swing, I have to wonder if isn't just doing
what he was taught; getting his front foot down early. The
problem is that, by doing this, he is essentially ensuring that
he won't be able to swing with his entire body and has to swing
with just his arms and wrists, which is why he seems to be
vulnerable to good off-speed pitching and appears to be unable to
hit a good off-speed pitch hard.