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Video of Brett Jackson's new swing

Reader/contributor Eric is in Arizona and filmed Brett Jackson's new swing and was kind enough to share. A big thanks for that!

Notice how Jackson keeps the elbow low and how that, in turn, keeps him short to the ball. Jackson's swing tended to get a little long and mechanical at times, but this one looks much more fluid and efficient. You could almost call it "pretty", something that has probably rarely been said when describing Jackson's swing in the past.

What's more, Jackson still shows very good bat speed. Optimistically you'd like to see him cut down on the strikeouts without sacrificing any of his plus power. Looking at this video, I think he can...

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    Now you gotta do a side by side video comparison. lol.

  • In reply to Scott McAdory:

    That would be good. I did have those pictures yesterday of where he starts his load which is with the elbow much higher.

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    Yeah, this video is interesting.

    Last season when I saw him play for Iowa, two things jumped out at me at the time. First of all, I really understood what the phrase "the ball jumps off his bat" meant for the first time watching Jackson. His hits -- even singles -- were just different than anyone else on either team. (Including Vitters.) It also struck me that from start of his swing to end -- even though he was quick through the zone -- it felt like I could go get a hot dog and return to my seat. This new swing is much more compact. I'm cautiously optimistic.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agreed. That load took too long because he would often bring his back elbow up too high. Enough to slow him up just enough at times.

    And also agreed on how the ball jumps off his bat. There's always a big difference when you compare a prospect and a non-prospect. And sometimes why scouts like a guy even if the numbers aren't good.

    When I first saw Peoria, I was surprised at how well the ball jumped off of Taiwan Easterling's bat. He would put a charge in the ball in BP. Unfortunately, he couldn't hit breaking stuff and once pitchers figured that out, he wasn't seeing a whole lot of fastballs.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    This is why I love this site:
    "sometimes why scouts like a guy even if the numbers aren't good."

    I'm really trying to learn the scouting side of things, and it's insight like that that you only find here. Now that you say it, it makes perfect sense. But I certainly couldn't have worked that out on my own.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Thanks Mike. I'm very much into stats but I have to say I've always been fascinated by the scouting part of the game. That was my first love (or actually second, playing the game was first). I'm fortunate to have had the opportunity to befriend a few in the scouting community and have learned a ton from them.

    I always say too, that I was lucky to be just good enough to play with people who were much, much better than I was. It forces you to look at the game differently, to watch closely for any advantage.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Looks to me like he essentially quit raising his hands, seems to be bringing them back and bit w/o raising his elbow, like Albert Belle used to do in his prime. He seems to have gone from a 3 step swing to a 2 step. Hope it works, we can use him.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    That's a big part of it. At times, he was bringing his hands up to the point where that back elbow ended up above shoulder height. It made for a more awkward, longer path to the ball. That little tweak -- to keep his hands (and the elbow along with it) down -- gave him a simpler, shorter, more direct swing path -- and it even looks like he may be keeping the bat in the strike zone a bit longer. Theoretically at least, it *should* result in more contact...but, of course, we'll have to see what happens once he gets out there.

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    I watched the video before I read your article and thought his swing looks much more fluid, and then read exactly that in your write up. I think the changes he made are going to help him out a ton. He'll be back in the bigs by July and putting up decent to good numbers.

  • In reply to Zachary Myers:

    I like that it's not an overhaul but a small tweak at the outset, but that it produces something of a domino effect. It naturally alters the swing path.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    This video also answers my question about his leg kick from last year, it looks like it's almost non existent. The more I watch this video the more I like the way his swing is looking.

  • In reply to Zachary Myers:

    They really did simplify it.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Simple is usually more effective. Maybe Dale should go take a look at the Blackhawks power play and retool it!

  • In reply to Zachary Myers:

    Ha! Yeah, I just don't get that with the Hawks. Their power play kill has been great, though. (Note: I know about 1/10 about hockey as I know about baseball)

  • Hey John... Darwin Barney answered some questions today for fans in the ESPN chat: http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/chicago/chat/_/id/47105

    Like we speculated some days ago, he did add weight and reported bigger than ever before, apparently he was working on putting a charge on the ball to his pull side in favorable counts... Much tor the speculation we had about keeping pitchers honest and respecting his strike zone.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Thanks Caps, I like it. That change in his approach sounds similar to the one prospect Gioskar Amaya made last year.

  • Time well tell, but that is a simply, quick, and pretty swing. It looks effortless like Billy Williams'. Next test live pitching.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Right. Let's see how it looks against MLB pitchers this spring first. But so far, so good.

  • Actually, didn't Barney report to ST last year with an extra 15lbs of muscle? That didn't really add any pop to his bat last year. What it will do is add to his durability and hopefully prevent him from wearing down like he did in the second half of 2011. It would be nice to see him develop some gap power. I know they called him a core piece, but IMO, until he improves his offensive production, I think that doesn't really apply once they have other options..... I'm rooting for him because he's a likable player.

    I'm hoping B-Jax puts it all together by summertime. He had a heckuva ST last year, so he may make the decision really hard on the FO.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    He showed some pop last spring but it didn't carry over. I think he can have some pull power. Not a double digits guy but maybe 7-8 and more doubles. That would help him. He does have a lot of competition coming soon, so he'll have to keep getting better -- but even if he keeps his current pace he's a league average guy, so prospects are going to have to show they can be better than that. Or at least the same for much cheaper, which becomes a factor in couple of years.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree... But with his ability to make contact and already GG, I think the FO thinks it is easier for him to improve on his plate discipline than others and the fact that he worked on improving his pop tells me the FO and coaching staff are aware that pitchers didn't feel the need to work around him due to the lack of pop, so he probably saw more strikes than many hitters.

    This said, I also think they like Logan Watkins a lot, but they won't rush him... So I think Barney has 2013 to improve or we'll see Watkins get a fair shot in Sept.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Agreed. He has the job for this year for certain and unless he regresses or someone makes an offer the Cubs can't refuse, I imagine he'll have it for 2014 with Watkins starting to seriously push him by then, perhaps as his understudy at Wrigley.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    A player can add 15-20lbs of muscle in the off season because time allows for the effort and recovery that it requires. Playing major league baseball everyday entails backing off on weight training. PED's eliminate recovery time so not only can one put on 40lbs of muscle in the off season, but it can be maintained the duration of the season. Barney is doing his best legitimately.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Good points, 44.

  • Nice swing!

    Hey, that looks like Theo, in white pants, standing there by the cage!

    Hopefully this new swings unleashes a monster in Jackson's numbers for this year.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Agreed. I'll take the Brett Jackson we were all once hoping for......20/20 guy, walks a ton, and plays plus defense....and hits around .270. I know that last number now seems unrealistic, but that's the guy everyone was hoping for even just 2 years ago.

  • Wow! Could you imagine 2 solid Lefty bats in the lineup?! Ouch!

  • In reply to lokeey:

    We don't see too much of that at Wrigley!

  • Question. When did Rizzo make the adjustments to his swing, and who prompted him to do it and work with him?

  • He made them in the spring with the Cubs. Jackson has actually had more time, but Rizzo didn't have as far to go.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Minor, but something strikes me here: wouldn't the Padres (i.e., Jed Hoyer) have asked him to make changes after his disastrous 2011? Or were there plans to make changes all along and the Cubs staff just did the nuts and bolts stuff with him in ST?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That's true. I think you're probably right. It probably did start in SD and they continued tweaking it here. Good call. Brain fart for me.

  • I can see it all now. Jackson ties the score @ 2 vs. St. Louis, with a 2-run shot onto Sheffield in the seventh. St. Louis takes the lead in the 9th off Pierce Johnson (who pitched a 5-hitter) with two of their patented "dying quail" singles sandwiched around a sac bunt. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Jackson is up and sends a ringing double down the right-field line. Castillo follows with a gap line drive that is caught on the run. Two outs. The crowd groans. Tim Saunders pinch hits for Johnson, singles to center, and promptly steals second (take that, Cardinals). The crowd roars with the announcement of leadoff hitter, Albert Almora, "Mr. Clutch Cub". They pitch to him since Watkins is already 2 for 2 with a walk. The count goes to 3-2 after Almora fouls off five 2-2 pitches in a row. Almora then whistles a drive down the left field line that hits the chalk on its outside edge. Saunders scores the walkoff, the Cardinals scream, cry, and sputter. Wrigley is pandemonium.

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