Dodgers: A Tale of Two Hitters, Forsythe’s Struggles vs. Puig’s Success

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 01: Yasiel Puig
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 01: Yasiel Puig /
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NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 04: Yasiel Puig /

Yasiel Puig

Puig’s swing has taken a lot of turns since he was called up in 2013. Hitting is easy when things are simplified. However, over the last two years, opposing pitchers, coaches and even Puig himself have made hitting rocket science. Fortunately, Puig has Turner Ward this year, who’s simplified hitting for the Wild Horse.

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Unlike Forsythe, there are numerous differences between 2016 Puig and 2017. To start, 2016 Puig’s stance is more straight up and slightly closed off. His hands are already in a loaded position before the pitcher even lifts his leg. Once the pitcher’s arm reaches the slot, Puig loses the at-bat. Although his hands are already in a loaded position, he loads even more by turning his front leg toward the umpire.

The two main problems with this are that it closes off his line of vision, and it creates more distance for his hands to make up. The result of this is an inability to identify pitches, and his hands being behind the pitch. Puig’s had his share of perplexed looks after a pitch, and his struggles against fastballs prove this.

In 2017, he starts off more square and slightly bent at the hips. Just looking at his stance, he looks much more balanced. His hands start higher than any of his swings in the past. This stops his hands from going any further back or up, effectively taking his swing one direction. Down and straight to the ball. If you’ve seen any slow motion shot of Puig’s swing from the side, it’s almost like he’s tomahawking it into the ground.

However, he does get lift since his hands start high so when he swings the bat the path will naturally lead him back up.

As with most sports, the lower half is most important. When Puig loads in 2017, it’s more of a simple leg lift rather than a turn inward. This allows him to get into a power stance, but it keeps his line of vision on the pitch with both eyes. Now that’s able to see the ball; he’s become a lot more disciplined.

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He’s fifth on the team in walks, and only sixth in strikeouts while second on the team in at-bats. Being able to see the ball also increases confidence at the plate. His then career-high 20th home run came against Jacob deGrom’s slider, which he calmly tracked and smacked over the left-center field wall. 2015 and 16 Puig would’ve whiffed at that.