I apologize if this has all been covered before, but I was just flipping through some videos tonight and what I saw just boggled the mind. I have read in various places that Freeman is not projected to have much power due to his swing. I would like to present an argument to the contrary. Having spent the last few hours watching through video footage, I contend that Freeman in fact possesses mechanics that translate in to potentially premier power.
First off, let me give some credit where credit is due. Most of what I will be addressing here has been cribbed from Chris O'leary's site. Which can be found at the following link:
Personally I feel it is a great site that does a very good job in breaking down what Power Hitters actually do, vs. what we are told that Power Hitters do.
I should note, I am not stating that Freeman's current mechanic will automatically translate to a high Batting Average and On Base Percentage. There are many many other factors in play that will determine those eventual statistics, like Freddie significantly reducing his strike-out percentage. I simply wish to dispute the claims that his swing will not project power. Let's start with a video.
This was Freddie's first homerun of the 2011 season. I chose this video first as it has a few slow motion replays that allow us to more closely examine Freeman's swing. Freeman doesn't utilize a long stride. Instead he employs a simple toe-tap. But note the frames from seconds 00:35 to 00:36. Look at the separation he gets between his hips and his shoulders as he begins his swing. In second 00:36 his belt buckle is almost facing the pitcher while his shoulders are still closed. This action allows Freddie to generate a tremendous amount of torque from his core muscles, which are the strongest muscles in the body.
Now, generating that torque isn't going to accomplish much, if it is not being transferred to the bat. To see how Freddie accomplishes this, lets fast forward to the 00:41 second which gives us a dugout view of the swing. This frame shows us that to point of contact with the ball, Freeman hands stay connected with his back shoulder. By connected, I mean that his hands and his shoulder move in tandem. His arms do not extend until after the point of contact where he drives through the ball. This allows the bat to become an extension not of his arms, but his torso, which is generating the power. Lets look at another video.
In this swing, Freeman takes a breaking ball the opposite way for a double. This video doesn't have a slow motion replay so we have to make do with looking at second 00:04. Once again, we see that Freddie's hips are leading his shoulders. The back arm is still in the "power L" position and does not fully extend until after the point of contact as he drives through the pitch. So, even when going the other way with a pitch on the outside part of the plate, Freddie is maintaining solid Rotational Hitting mechanics and not allowing his arms to get extended too early.
Whether consciously or subconsciously, Freeman developed a swing the very efficiently harnesses the power of his core muscles and allows him to do things like this:
Looking at second 00:02 in this video we see everything on display. Hips leading the shoulders, hands connected with the back shoulder to the point of contact, and a the bat tilted at the same angle as his shoulders, creating a continuous line, as goes after this low inside pitch and just crushes it.
Now, once again, I wish to iterate that none of this proves Freddie will become one of the premier hitters in the National league. I simply wish to dispute those who claim his mechanics will not translate into greater power. In fact, I would claim this his mechanics are almost textbook for maximizing his power. I look forward to your comments and replies.