Mark Sweeney goes in-depth on the adjustments Manuel Margot has made at the plate

Video Details

Mark Sweeney goes in-depth on the adjustments Manuel Margot has made at the plate

- Paired with Manny Margot after a very slow start. He's a different-looking hitter right now. And it seems as though he has maybe shelved this whole notion of launch angle.

- Yeah, you know what? It can be a blessing and a curse. And when you talk about hitting, you have to think about what baseball really is. There's so many different styles. And that's the fascinating aspect of hitting. It's not necessarily cookie-cutter, but we've heard about launch angle. And really, there's some players that I think have affected it in the wrong way.

And I think Manny Margot sets an example of that. If you look at his numbers at the beginning of the year, he was trying to add lift to the baseball. First 37 games, as you can see, the on-base percentage wasn't there. There was a lot of swing and miss. Uncomfortable at-bats. But also, there weren't a lot of hard-hit balls. And we were used to and accustomed to Manny Margot not only getting hits, but multiple hits games last year. The last 25, after he's made an adjustment, you're starting to see those numbers actually get better than what we saw last year. So Manny Margot is on the right course.

MIKE POMERANZ: You know, when we see what he'd done just in the first few games of the Giants series, you're seeing what you're talking about, spraying the ball.

MIKE SWEENEY: Yeah, and you know what? Hitting the ball where it's pitched, Madison Bumgarner having two doubles against one of the top pitchers in the game of baseball. And he was on fire the other night. You see the first one on the left. This one goes to right. Using all of the field.

Because Manny Margot, to be successful in the big leagues, he is going to have to do that. Not necessarily hit the ball out of the ballpark. That's a perfect swing on a bad pitch. Manny Margot needs to be dangerous, because he's hitting the ball all over the place. And when Manny Margot ends up doing that, that's when you're going to start seeing Manny Margot continue to pound the baseball to all fields, but also hit curve balls, sliders, and fast balls at the top of the zone. We didn't see that at the beginning of the year.

- You know, when you see those highlights, it's a little tough to process all that, I'm sure. It was for me, anyway, when it's at game speed like that. So let's take a little different approach, and you can walk us through specifically what those of us who are fans of the game want to watch for today. What are we seeing that's a little off?

- The hitting coach, Matt Stairs, and also Johnny Washington, have simplified Manny Margot. The setup-- and this is before the pitch is thrown-- watch the hands right here. As you see the hands, it's flattened on the bat. So he knows exactly where they are starting from. The starting point is very important. The vision is on the pitcher.

So when he starts moving, and the pitcher moves, he moves with them, but the hands come off the shoulder. Perfect hitting position. And now the elements of what you really want to look at. The stiff front side, that leg, because it's put down, and then the violence of the swing going through the baseball.

This is what I absolutely love. Balance is a big, big key in hitting. The head, all the way down that backside, is a straight line. That is perfect. It's a very good pitch for Manny Margot to hit. But he's balanced. He's behind the baseball visually. And now you're starting to see that ball, where he's not losing the barrel of the bat that we saw at the beginning of the year. He's hitting through the baseball. It's almost a flat swing, and that works for Manny Margot.

- When we walk through it, Mark, there's something you had said that I found fascinating. And that is, he's not drifting over his front foot. What does that look like? How do we teach young hitters to prevent that?

- Well, it really has a lot to do with a simplified version of controlling your head. And why you have to do that-- as you think about Tony Gwynn, he's the greatest example of controlling their head and being able to swing and hit the ball where it's pitched.

If you're moving, and you're moving through the swing, it means that you're trying to go all out. You're trying to lift, and you're trying to leave the building. That doesn't work for everybody. For Manny Margot, if you look at his setup, it's pretty simplified. And they really have done it where it's almost vanilla for Manny Margot. So it's hands on the shoulder in a setup, flex position. But when he does his leg kick, he lifts his hands up.

So as soon as that leg kick starts, my hands are up, and I'm getting ready to hit. Once this foot gets down, this is when you get the explosion, the violence of your swing So everything starts going at the same time. My backside, my hands start going through, and then I start flattening my swing out and getting through the baseball. When I'm behind the baseball, and I can firm up this front side, then I start hitting the ball with authority.

Manny Margot is going to hit home runs, it's going to be a perfect swing on a bad pitch. And that has to happen. So Manny has really gone from having my hands out here, leg kick, big movement, and movement forward, and falling forward with his head-- now he's maintained it where it's a leg kick, gets his foot down, and it's almost a stretch, and then he comes in and controls his head. So he's consistent with hitting balls all over the place.

- You like the idea of starting with the bat on the shoulder for a couple of reasons, though, [INAUDIBLE] And I think one of them is just the feeling of being relaxed.

- Yeah. You have to relax yourself. And think about the tension in your swing. If you have tension in your setup, it's going to be really tense when you swing the bat. When you're very tense, you lose bat speed.

And I think that's what happened to Manny Margot. There was the credibility of having to replicate what he did last year. It was stressful. You could almost see it on his at-bats. When he took a bad swing, you could see him walking back to the dugout.

Mentally, this game is very challenging. Don't make it very challenging for young players. Make it simplified, because when you're in Little League, you're simplified. You're trying to hit the ball as far as you can and hit it hard. Then you start working on certain things. There's too many aspects that you think of.

At the Big League level, if you simplify it, let them supply the power. And don't always think that everything has to work on launch angle, because you hear that it's working for Josh Donaldson and J. D. . Martinez. It's not for everybody.

- Easy to remember when you're a Big Leaguer, perhaps, but keep in mind, Manny Margot's still only 23 years old. He's hitting sixth today. It's seventh the last few days. But do you see him as becoming that leadoff hitter again?

- Yeah. If you see the results and what he has done in this series, I think now, he's starting to gain that credibility with Andy Green. And Andy Green knows that when he is right, he is going to be that leadoff presence at the top of the order, because not only is he hitting the ball to all fields, but he can slash. He can use his speed, his athletic ability.

We've seen some mistakes on the base paths. He has to clean that stuff up. But that's being a young player, and that's going to happen. The swing looks very comfortable to me. It's consistent. And you're starting to see him in RBI situations. Being one of the best RBI guys on the club. And the consistency of that. It has a lot to do with confidence. We're always going to talk about that. But mechanically, he has solved a lot of issues.

-No, it's--