Jason Heyward might not be the only one with new mechanics. Per Jon Ferlise’s Spring Training batting practice footage from February 16 (below), I found something peculiar about Addison Russell‘s most recent batting session.
Do you notice the change?
Check out the position in which he starts his hands. Compared to Russell’s Game 5 NLCS homer, notice how his hands appear to be much lower in the batting practice video from Thursday.
Below is the actual batting practice session; fast-forward to 1:33 for Russell’s turn.
The young shortstop has always been willing to experiment with changing his swing mechanics and we’ve chronicled several adjustments he’s made since his debut in April of 2015. In particular, Russell raised his hands to about ear-level in July of last year.
His new batting practice video session actually looks comparable to that June 2016 clip, but it’s hard to compare the two with complete fidelity because the angles aren’t the same.
I wish I could find the exact quotes, but I remember Russell mentioning hand depth several times throughout last season. You’ll just have to trust me that he indeed talked about his hands, but they have clearly been a center point for him when it comes to swing changes.
Russell’s hand depth will be something else to monitor as Spring Training progresses. Any time I see a mechanical adjustment like this, I immediately start looking for changes in peripherals (e.g., contact rate, zone profile success changes, etc.). Stay tuned.