As was written here by New York Post columnist Joel Sherman, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter will work with Yankees hitting guru Kevin Long sometime after the New Year.
This is the first time in Jeter’s 15 year career he has worked with any hitting coach during the off-season.
I had predicted this would happen in this article.
This is an excerpt:
“Jeter is too much out of control when he swings as he brings his upper body forward and too far over the plate. That is causing all the weakly hit ground balls.
What you do not want to do is lean forward when you begin the swing process as this brings the hands forward with the upper body. A hitter can jam himself on inside pitches by doing this. When hitters “can’t catch up with the fastball,” bringing the hands forward with the upper body is one of the faults which contribute to that.”
“Jeter needs to begin to alter his swing and keep his upper body back more. That will help him become a better hitter by using his legs more to get around on that inside pitch. Early in the count, Jeter might want to begin to become a “location hitter.” When he is looking for an inside pitch, Jeter usually gets around on it and makes better contact.”
“There have been stories that Jeter still wants to hit his way, and does not seek much guidance from Yankee hitting coach Kevin Long. Guys like Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano eat up all the info from Long, but Jeter goes about things on his own.
That will change.
Seeing the effect that Long has had on all the above guys, and with the recent quick results with Curtis Granderson, I bet Jeter works with Long over the off-season and comes back strong again next year.
Just like he got better two seasons ago with his defense by getting in better playing shape. Jeter’s pride to become better and not fall off will be too much not to seek Long’s help. Jeter has his pride, but is too smart to continue to let that get in the way of improving.”
According to Sherman, Long will likely travel to the Yankee facility in Tampa and begin working with Jeter. They will continue the work that Long and Jeter did in August (a few days after I wrote the original piece), where Long worked with Jeter to straighten his stride to go more directly to the pitcher rather than towards home plate.
That little switch will help Jeter from cutting himself off on inside pitches, which he clearly showed he could not handle last season.
As I said in my piece, Jeter needed to keep his upper body on top of his legs, and that he should look to pull the ball more.
Here is what Long said from the Sherman piece: “Might he pull the ball more, especially get it to center and left-center, yeah, if we do this right.”
Sounds familiar, right?
Long will get Jeter to keep better balanced and to drive the ball more to the pull side. When Jeter stays on top of his legs and uses his lower body he hits the inside pitch very well. But when he leans over the plate (and cuts himself off), making contact ends up with pop ups and infield dribblers.
That will kill your BABIP.