An avid fan of Pokemon, Addison Russell’s burgeoning talent is like Charmander evolving into Charzard. Seriously though, the young shortstop’s careeer has been full of mechanical tweaks, from debuting with an open stance and high hands to his current closed stance and chest-high hands.
We looked at some tweaks earlier in the spring, but it now appears as though Russell has actually made yet another change to his hitting mechanics.
If you’ve been paying attention, you might be thinking I’m about to talk about his lowered hand position. I am, but that’s not the change I want to highlight. Nevertheless, Russell has lowered his hands once again, to the point where his bat rests next to the Cubs patch on his jersey. This is similar to his stance in July of 2016.
But try to look for the other change in the homers below.
Do you see it? No? Look again, but this time look only at the bat.
There you go. Now you see it. He’s wrapping the bat before he starts his hands through the zone, kind of like a less severe version of Javy Baez’s bat wrap. Russell’s hands are so quick that he can afford to generate more whipping action by having the tip of the bat face the pitcher.
We’re likely to see further changes as the 23-year-old continues to grow into his role as one of the game’s premier shortstops. In just his second year of MLB action last year, xStats estimated that Russell should have hit 25 homers. With adjustments like we see above, hitting more than 25 homers may seem routine in due time.