As you can see from the video below of a BP session prior to Saturday’s game with the Reds, Kris Bryant has made a big change to his swing. Check it out and we’ll meet on the other side for a brief discussion.
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) August 25, 2018
Did you pick up on it? Rather than that long, one-handed finish, Bryant is keeping both hands on the bat while exhibiting a shortened swing. This is by design, since his typical swing is what exacerbated the left shoulder injury that has cost him so much time and production this season.
But if you’re wondering how such an alteration will impact Bryant’s power, fear not.
“You can practice some stuff, whether it’s on the tee or [batting practice], and it may look slightly different, but when the game occurs, it will be exactly the same,” Joe Maddon said back on Wednesday. “It’s a little bit of protection as much as anything in that shoulder. You’ll see the same guy when he comes back.
So it sounds like the change to a two-hand finish could simply be a safety measure and that Bryant will be able to cut it loose when he gets into actual competition. Which begs the question of whether it’s a good idea to practice in a different manner from how you expect to play. As long as his timing remains the same from load to explosion into and through the ball, the finish should take care of itself.
But as Cubs Insider has learned, there’s also a possibility that the two-handed finish is a more permanent mechanical change. Exactly how permanent we may not know until next season, but the new move could provide a little more oppo power than we’ve seen from the former rookie of the year and MVP to this point.
The real key for now is that Bryant is out there swinging against live pitching, signaling that a rehab assignment is right around the corner.
Bryant blasted 10 home runs, including one that hit the video board in left, during the BP session seen above. He’ll take live BP against rehabbing lefty Drew Smyly — another good sign — Sunday, after which Bryant says he’ll be ready for a rehab assignment.
Iowa is being named as the most likely destination, which would probably mean taking Monday off and then playing Tuesday as the I-Cubs return home.
Kris Bryant said he will be ready for rehab games Monday . He will take more live BP against Drew Smyly Sunday . Iowa is likely rehab destination . Hit ten home runs in BP today .
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) August 25, 2018