The hitting evolution of Chris Young
Chris Young thinks of hitting as an evolution. The hitter that he was when he was 18 is not the hitter he was when he was 20, or when he broke into the big leagues, or when he thrived or slumped. You can change and get better, he believes, and he is going through change constantly.
The latest chapter for him began not long after the Diamondbacks' season ended last October, when Young started to review digital replays of his swing. Young's swing had felt frozen to him as he started it, and in the physical action required to get the bat head moving, he sometimes felt he had rushed. Sometimes, his swing was like a standard shift car, lurching and stalling, rather than progressing smoothly.
"I wanted a little more movement in the setup," said Young.
He tinkered with some different things when he started taking batting practice in a cage in November. He tried rocking back and forth with his body before he started the swing, so there would be some motion -- much in the way a fielder likes to move as the pitch is being thrown.
Young also installed a bit of a toe tap, and raised his hands, so that he could get more of a downward angle in his swing. He closed his front hip a little bit, which could help him take sliders to the opposite field if the opposing pitcher throws a nasty pitch to the outside. "There was a lot of trial and error," Young said over the phone. "I wanted to have some bad days in the cages."
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