Michael Saunders Pt. 2


"“I’ve just been working hard trying to drive the ball the other way,” he said after hitting his double to the opposite field in the third off Royals lefty Bruce Chen. “I know it’s something I need to be able to do to be successful at this level. In order to get those balls you want to drive middle-in, you have to show you can go the other way. That’s what we’ve been concentrating on this spring.  – Greg Johns"

This is incredibility true and in fact looking at Dave Allen’s fangraph post earlier this week it’s well documented that he (Saunders) struggles with pitches away in the strike zone and without a doubt if he is unable to hit or drive pitches on the outer half of the plate he’s never going to be much of a major leaguer or core figure within the Mariners organization.

Over the last two weeks Mariners hitting coach Chris Chamberliss has made changes to Saunders stance that was covered well by Tacoma News Tribune‘s own Ryan Divish (with pictures!).

Since 11 March, when Saunders debuted the new stance, here is the work up.


I also took time to break down each of his at-bats over the last two weeks.

It’s easy to look at the last couple of weeks and start to get excited for Saunders. I want so desperately for him to work out and this has been perhaps the best he has looked at the major league level in his past two years (short of that one week July time span that he hit a couple of home runs). The problem with that is that looking at spring training results sometimes doesn’t really mean what we think it means.

Looking at the break down of all his at bats. You’ll notice something if you read throw the results. Out of his 19 at bats (not counting last night) he only hit the ball to opposite field twice. Once for a double and once for a fly out. It almost appears that with the adjustment with his swing to give him the ability to get to pitches on the other side of the plate that he’s more apt to pull the ball.

It’s a very small sample size but it’s something to watch as we go towards the season.