Stefen Romero Scouting Report 5 - The Glorious Wrists

Q.  So he must be doing something right?

A.  Heh!  Dr. D stared and stared, at swing after swing.  There was the gliding.  There was the little rubber-band stretch.  There was the compactness and surprising power.  But there's something weird here, somethin' ... whass' goin' on?

It hit me one swing when trying to screen-grab his bat out in front of home plate.  There was no way to capture his bat in the positions I wanted.  On any swing, anywhere on the internet.

Then in fast motion, the batspeed!  You can't miss it.


Q.  Batspeed meaning (1) perceptive speed, or (2) launch speed, or (3) throughspeed?

A.  All.


Q.  Due to ... wrists?

A.  Exactly.  Romero is a hitter from the elbows down.  You know which other Mariner gained fame, fortune, and .350 batting averages because of his wrists.  They named a street after him.

Bill James usually doesn't specialize in hitting or pitching mechanics, but I thought he had an accurate take on Andrew McCutchen:


A quick comment on McCutchen at the All Star Game. He has an incredibly fast bat. I wonder how he would look next to Jack Clark at his peak. Any place on the web that one could compare their swings?
Asked by: mrvino
Answered: 7/11/2012
He has the quickest bat in baseball; that's right.   His first at bat in last night's game was exactly what I was talking about last week:  A fastball just above his hands, everybody knows a hitter can't catch up to that, but he can.   
If somebody knows of an internet place, of course I'll post that.    Clark was a big man.  McCutchen is small; they list him at 5-11, 175, and he looks smaller than that.   I wouldn't think of them as similar, but Clark did have that ability, that McCutchen does, to make small, easy, natural-looking adjustments from the elbows up and then power the bat through the hitting zone with his wrists.

When a hitter can use WRISTS to adjust to the ball he's way ahead of the game.  That's a whole post for another day.  Suffice it to say that NBA shooters don't shot-put the ball.  The farther the ball is out on their fingers, the softer their touches.

Ever seen Ichiro's forearms?  Those forearms are the reason that he could bisect a mosquito with a sword blade.

Everybody loves wrists.  Romero's are special.  The wrists create batspeed, and because they are fine-tune muscles, they also enhance a hitter's ability to cover a pitch accurately.

A good example is at the 5:30 mark on this video.  Notice that he also cocks the bat as the pitch is arriving, gets it moving in two directions in just an eyeblink.  Try and slo-mo that baby.


Q.  What makes his wrists so quick?

A.  Don't know, don't care.

Will say this, though ... Romero is amazingly light on his feet for his size.  He not only wields the bat as though it weighs nothing, but he moves lightly.  If you hadn't been told he was 6'3", 225 lbs., you'd have thought he was a shortstop.  He moves like a small man.

Shaquille O'Neal was this way:  he wasn't like other 7-footers in the NBA, moving awkwardly, clomping around, limbs at ungainly angles.  He moved like a 6' man who happened to be 7' tall.

This is your prototype freakish third baseman in the major leagues:  a behemoth who moves like a small man.  Romero is in this category.





OK Doc,
It would be better if I read all your posts before I responded, wouldn't it? I commented on this in my first response, but I couldn't stop any of the video and get the bat in motion before contact. He's too dang quick. I laughed out loud just now, my daughter thinking I'm nuts, when I read about your inability to capture the swing with a click of the stop button. It's impossibe.
Anyway, my Aaron comp, as a wrist hitter, still stands.


Though it's pretty ambitious (of both of us) to credit any minor leaguers with Aaron's wrists.  
In the vid you posted, you can see the incredible power of the forearms especially in the followthrough.  Romero takes the top hand off the bat on followthrough.
But yeah.  Aaron perhaps got away with a certain lack of leveraging just because his hands and wrists were generating the leverage.  To that extent, maybe you've got a point about Romero's gliding.
Of course, Romero may STOP drifting forward.  He just moved up out of the low minors.  He's already staying back on some swings, notably the HR vids you see...

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