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  1. This is a thought-provoking article. Watching the gif’s shows how the changed method is superior to the old one without the results even having to be known.
    There is no mention here that the idea for change came from anyone but Maybin himself. It makes me question the worth of all these hitting coaches and “special assistants” that teams have around when none of them caught this.

    Comment by Baltar — September 18, 2012 @ 11:16 am

  2. Interestingly enough there was an article a couple of weeks ahead of the July 2nd swing change where Maybin discussed his swing.

    In the article he talks about changing his swing prior to the 2012 season and wanting to go back to his old swing. So I’m not really sure what happened between June 20th and July 2nd that resulted in an all new swing. It would be interesting to know the rest of the story.

    Comment by Drakos — September 18, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

  3. A result of the foot movement change you can clearly see that Maybins head does not move as much! Much more stable.

    Comment by YODA777 — September 18, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

  4. Hitting is very specialized. There are no cookie cutter molds to fit players into and a lot of it is trial and error if a player struggles. Hitting coaches can help and probably did bring up different ideas for improvement, but ultimately its up to the player to decide. The coach’s advice is to guide them, not to strictly 100% adhere to.

    Comment by GG — September 18, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

  5. Very informative article.

    A word about timing mechanisms, whether it be toe tap or other lower body mechanism. The mechanism itself is solely for a hitters timing. But a change to the timing mechanism can effect either/or/both timing and balance.

    It’s very clear in the above videos that Maybin’s previous mechanism put him in a poor balance position. When he needed to accelerate or decelerate his swing his balance became very awkward leading to poor swings that were undercommitted or overcommitted.

    What I mean by accelerate/decelerate is that sometimes he would start his mechanism late and so needed to “hurry up” his swing. Or start it early. And at times he would guess offspeed and if a fastball was coming he would need to accelerate. Etc. This is common for all players.

    Watch a player like Votto or Miggy to see that balance.

    Comment by John — September 18, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

  6. In broadcasts, Tony Gwynn has always been very vocal about Maybin’s swing. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s had some words with him about it. I remember them talking about the toe-tap, but I very much can’t remember whose idea they said it was.

    Comment by Nolan — September 18, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

  7. Great article.

    I wonder if the same could apply to Hanley Ramirez. If he would eliminate the high leg kick, perhaps that would help him get back to pre-2011 form. The leg kick starts almost as early as Maybin in the first image above. But of course, that’s always an if considering he isn’t open to tweaking anything.

    Comment by Adam — September 18, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

  8. I remember the game when he first made his adjustments, i also remember Mark Grant the color commentator mention how he (Maybin) had been working with Alonso Powell (second hitting coach) and Plantier (hitting coach) in making the changes.

    Comment by Antonio — September 18, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

  9. Maybe Maybin (or his swing coaches) originally took the idea from the case of Austin Jackson, who cut down his big leg kick this winter and turned in a borderline All-Star season.

    Comment by Sam — September 18, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

  10. This adjustment is becoming very common. Jose Bautista made it before his power surge. Carlos Ruiz made it before this season. Austin Jackson, as noted above, as well. If only it applied to Ryan Howard…

    Comment by LTG — September 18, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

  11. No

    Comment by Juan B — September 18, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

  12. “Maybin always lifted his foot, until he didn’t anymore. Muscle memory is what makes tweaks to pitching mechanics so difficult to stick with… Imagine switching two keys on your keyboard. Not just the key labels, but also the functions. Imagine swapping the E and the M. Imagine doing that and trying to type. You’d screw up over and over, then you’d have to consciously focus on pressing the right keys.”

    This statement is so outlandish. Anyone that’s swung the bat even for a bit knows that the stride is the one thing players constantly tamper with and change.. especially if one has had timing issues in the past (which i figure Maybin has because he never put it together). I’m not talking about in games, i’m talking about in the cage, off a tee, think about how many hacks a big leaguer takes, you think Maybin’s just all of a sudden decided to use a step instead of a leg kick (lift) and its like re learning his swing? First of all the muscle memory involved in changing to a step is not that different to his stride. Secondly I’d say he’s taken MANY hacks with a step prior to this. Just speculation of course.

    Comment by snoop LION — September 18, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

  13. eg. Albert Pujols switching from step to stride to step in the HR Derby on multiple occasions.

    Comment by snoop LION — September 18, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

  14. Austin Jackson did something sort of similar between 2011 and 2012 … drastically cutting down his front-leg movement for much better results.

    Comment by Tiger guy — September 18, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

  15. Maybe a guy with a career .243 average shouldn’t be your hitting coach? Just saying.

    Comment by Cus — September 18, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

  16. i didn’t see it mentioned in the article, but it’s worth noting that Maybin has sported an improved k% and bb% all season long, even when he was hitting poorly.

    Comment by evil kevin towers — September 18, 2012 @ 4:49 pm

  17. If you could please repost the .gifs without cutting out the other 99% of the game, we’d really appreciate it. Thanks.

    Comment by Over 40% of San Diego — September 18, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

  18. 2011 Padres: -66.1 runs batting value (26th in MLB)
    2012 Padres: +11.8 runs in batting value (8th in MLB)

    tough to criticize the hitting coaches at this point

    Comment by evil kevin towers — September 18, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

  19. There was a broadcast around the middle of August when Tony Gwynn was doing the color commentary and Dick Enberg was doing play by play. They were talking about Alonso’s swing, and Gwynn was being effusive about Alonso. He is really big about Alonso.

    Anyway Maybin came up to the plate and as they were talking about Alonso’s swing, Dick asked Tony what he though about Maybin’s swing, since he seemed to be getting more contact since he started using the toe tap. Gwynn said immediately that Maybin needed to shorten his swing, that his swing was too long.

    About a week later, Maybin started using a shorter swing, and he went on a streak of batting over .400. I believe this change was due to Gwynn’s remark, and it has been the combination of the toe tap and shorter swing that have changed Maybin into a high contact hitter.

    Comment by anatole — September 19, 2012 @ 7:06 am

  20. For those not in the know, he is commenting on the fact that 40% of San Diego can’t watch the Padres because Time Warner cable has refused to buy the games from Fox Sports San Diego.

    Comment by anatole — September 19, 2012 @ 7:09 am

  21. Hey Jeff thanks for keeping up with the Padres. Even when the team was doing poorly at the start of the season, you were still one of the few journalists outside San Diego still doing spot pieces on the team, such as your earlier piece on Maybin.

    Comment by anatole — September 19, 2012 @ 7:11 am

  22. because ted williams was a fantastic coach, right?

    Comment by a — September 19, 2012 @ 10:56 am

  23. To above, Ted Williams WAS a fantastic hitting coach. Almost any player who had Ted Williams talk to him about hitting would say he helped them improve at the plate. Ted was an incredibly intelligent person, and a wonderful communicator, when he wanted to be. Just because some players didn’t like him doesn’t mean he was a bad coach.

    Comment by erik p — September 19, 2012 @ 11:57 am

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