LINK: Bryce Harper’s Swing

On Saturday, the Washington Post published, well, I’m not sure what to call it exactly. It’s not an article. It’s part-interview, part-analysis, part-video, part-comparison. Whatever it is, it’s amazing. This is the kind of stuff that happens when you combine quality journalism with the advantages of technology. You owe it to yourself to check out this production by Adam Kilgore and friends. Even if you’re tired of the amount of coverage Bryce Harper gets, you should read this just for what it shows about what baseball journalism can be. And I, for one, am not at all tired of Bryce Harper.

The realization came to Rick Schu this spring as he sat in front of a screen, collecting baseball swings. All winter, Schu, the Washington Nationals’ hitting coordinator, had been watching “Baseball” by Ken Burns, a Christmas gift from his wife. He burned clips from the DVD and compiled classic swings — Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams, Babe Ruth. As he watched Ruth, Schu paused the video and asked himself a question: Didn’t Bryce Harper have a swing just like that?

Schu scanned through video and found film of Harper hitting. He arranged clips of Harper and Ruth side-by-side on the monitor and stopped at the moment each hitter’s bat connected with a pitch. In each still picture, he saw a stiff front leg, an uncoiling torso and a back foot lifting off the ground. “Wow,” he thought. “That’s identical.”

“They’ve got that exact same swing at contact point,” Schu said later.

Read the rest at The Washington Post.

We hoped you liked reading LINK: Bryce Harper’s Swing by Dave Cameron!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman

Glad to see this featured here: it’s a fascinating read from top to bottom, especially the interviews about the physics of Harper’s swing and how the specific mechanics help Harper (and Ruth) drive the ball so powerfully.

Also: the animation of Harper and Griffey, which starts moving when you mouse over, is one of the coolest graphics I’ve ever seen in baseball.

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman

Looking again, the comments section on that article appears to be either a deliberate satire or a tragedy. There’s some moron saying Harper can’t be that good a hitter because his batting average is below Jordan Schafer’s. (It’s actually one point higher, today.)

Powder Blues
Guest
Powder Blues

I also noticed the comments…

Other than using BA and RBIs to discredit his game, commenters attack him for his toe nails, sideburns and loose clothing.

Dreamin
Guest
Dreamin

The comment by KooleyTwoKeysO(nlogn) is one of the best things I have ever read

wpDiscuz