The vast majority of baseball gamers had an unfortunate yr in 2020 with their season being reduce brief by COVID. The identical goes for school hitter Thomas Rudinsky. He was solely afforded 35 at-bats earlier than the season was shut down, and it wasn’t a begin to the season that you simply wish to dangle your hat on.
Thomas’s favourite quote is from Thomas Jefferson: “The more durable I work, the luckier I get.” That’s the reason he dedicated to a full offseason at Driveline, to verify his subsequent season was a “fortunate” one, in contrast to his earlier season.
Thomas rolled into Driveline the primary week of October 2020 and stayed by means of December 2020. He then went straight to highschool for the upcoming 2021 season. That is what we noticed after his evaluation week.
Thomas had well-above-average bat velocity, and was above common for almost all swing metrics as a university hitter.
He hits the ball very laborious for his stage of play and likewise hits it persistently within the air.
He got here to Driveline in an excellent place and checked most of the containers that we usually want checked to work with hitters once they first arrive. After going by means of his video, Batted Ball Report, Swing Profile Report, Ok-Vest Report, and assembly with Thomas, that is the plan we created for the low season:
A bat-speed focus, adopted by a contact-quality focus, after which an method focus simply previous to leaving for college. Beneath, we get into why we took this route.
Bat Pace Part
In case you take a look at his bat velocity above, you might be in all probability questioning why we might go right into a bat velocity part to begin. In our assembly, Thomas’ purpose wasn’t to only have an excellent school season. He needed to stroll out the door as an elite hitter and earn the possibility to play professionally. So we wanted to lift his ceiling.
“A hitter’s bat velocity units their ceiling and their flooring, and their smash issue and swing selections decide the place they stay in between the 2.” – Noah Thurm
We completed this by implementing a bat-speed focus within the cage and likewise pairing this within the weight room with an influence part. This was simple to do as a result of our excessive efficiency employees was in our athlete assembly through the evaluation week, as they’re for all Driveline athlete conferences. That is what a typical bat-speed exercise appeared like for him:
This can be a easy however efficient program, with intent and focus as the important thing. We have been very clear on how Thomas ought to execute this program.
“Each swing on nowadays is full intent to maneuver the bat as quick as attainable. Machine work is rounds of 6 to eight. In case you really feel fatigue at any level, that spherical is over.”
Bat-speed days have been carried out 3 times per week on the identical day as his lifts. His movement-focused hitting days occurred on the opposite three days of the week that he skilled.
Within the evaluation we recognized some contact high quality points. Visually, I observed balls being hooked and high spun to the pull aspect, which was confirmed with batted ball spin measurements on Rapsodo. Additionally, in Thomas’ Hittrax batted ball report we observed a drop in exit velocity on inside pitches.
The wrongdoer for this was Thomas’ out-to-in bat path, so you might be in all probability pondering that’s what we labored on. However, that was not the case. The out-to-in path was really the results of posture points that have been occurring in Rudi’s swing. Utilizing Ok-Vest, we observed that he was not “sustaining backbone angle” or sustaining posture. Ideally, we wish the hitter to switch ahead bend with aspect bend, all through rotation or through the swing part.
Thomas struggled to do that accurately on inside pitches. As a substitute of including aspect bend or tilt to successfully rotate to the within pitch, he would arise out of his swing. This was his compensation to attempt to create area when pitches got here inside. Seeing the top rise or transfer up/again through the swing is a straightforward option to establish this on video. Discover how Thomas’ head strikes up and over the crimson line whereas he rotates.
Right here is an instance of sustaining posture accurately appears like:
We focused this problem with constraint drills, the short bat, and hitting plyos. The reasoning behind this combo is that the constraint drills isolate the swing part, the particular a part of the swing when/the place he was shedding posture. The brief bat is far smaller in size and forces hitters to regulate to pitch top with their physique somewhat than with their arms. Final however actually not least, the hitting plyos gave him instant suggestions on contact high quality to point out when he was or wasn’t hooking/high spinning balls. We frequently see that the simplest option to alter to pitch top is with posture; staying taller on excessive pitches and including extra aspect bend or tilt because the pitch will get decrease. Hit the ball together with your physique, not your arms.
Two weeks earlier than he left the ability, we had a 1-on-1 session the place we talked and labored on his method for the upcoming season. The plan was to hunt fastballs/pitches at low to center top. The fast reasoning for this was:
- Actually excessive bat velocity for a university hitter
- An excessive amount of ahead bend and posterior pelvic tilt
- Solely option to get to excessive pitches was to lose posture and have a excessive assault angle.
- Common assault angle usually 12° to fifteen°
- With him enjoying at an NAIA, we have been not sure of how good scouting reviews could be, however predicted the next fastball utilization
These swing traits set him as much as hit center to low pitches the perfect. So we suggested him to be aggressive early in counts together with his bat-to-ball expertise and play to his strengths (lay off pitches up). Additionally, previous to leaving he started to over-coil a little bit in his swing. That is how the 1-on-1 session went:
Throughout the first half, we labored on his swing. He had a little bit preset coil after which would add extra throughout his load. We reduce out the preset coil which allowed him to load into the vary that we needed.
The second half was all method targeted. We labored on creating and practising particular intents/focuses in sure counts or conditions. We labored on utilizing totally different postures in sure counts. Mainly utilizing his present posture in early/forward counts, looking center down. Then with two strikes, having a taller posture with a spotlight of a decrease ball flight. This allowed him to play to his strengths in benefit counts, and provides him extra adjustability in two-strike counts.
By way of these totally different phases, focuses, and coaching environments we noticed good outcomes. His final week on the facility:
- Bat Pace: +3.66mph
- Time to contact: The similar (created bat velocity with appropriate motion as a substitute of including size to swing)
- Assault Angle Vary: +11.06% (% of swings between 4° & 16°)
- Max EV: 109.2mph
- Peak EV: +4.73mph (primarily common EV of barrels)
- Common EV: +2.98mph
- EV on totally different pitches
- Inside: +2.79mph
- Center: +3.09mph
- Excessive: +3.00mph
- Center: +5.11mph
- Low: +2.09mph
After committing to a full offseason, with the intent of getting a “fortunate” yr, he had simply that. Thomas simply wrapped up the common season and these have been the outcomes.
2020 vs 2021:
- AVG: +0.124
- SLG%: +0.337
- OB%: +0.125
- OPS: +0.462
He was in a position to obtain these outcomes not solely by working extremely laborious and good this low season, but in addition by continually studying from others. He was at all times asking myself, Tanner Stokey, and our in-gym professionals like Robbie Tenerowicz (Byrd) inquiries to get extra info or acquire an edge. He not solely does this at Driveline however does a fantastic job in using his teaching employees in school by continually selecting the mind of his head coach, Robert Ruiz about method and different facets of the sport.
“I don’t know if I’ve had many guys with as a lot of a dialed-in plan as he does each time he steps to the plate. He’s only a baseball man by means of and thru. He loves the sport and he research it and he’s confirmed to have a beautiful thoughts for hitting. In fact mechanically he has the instruments, however it’s been his psychological method that’s impressed me probably the most,” Ruiz mentioned.
Written by Andrew Aydt, Hitting Supervisor