If you’ve been on the site over the last few weeks you have certainly noticed that Yorman Rodriguez has been on an absolute tear. The Louisville Bats outfielder has hit .363 in the month of June and it’s really turned his season around. Since he was signed in 2008, June of 2015 is the third best month he’s had in his career by OPS (where he’s played at least 15 games).
At just 22-years-old, he’s hardly a finished product. He’s one of the youngest players in the International League and at this point in the season his OPS of .769 is 81 points better than the league average of .688. After a slow start, he’s still 12% above the league average in OPS and all while being very young for the level.
In the middle of May there was a change made by the Venezuelan outfielder and for now, it seems to be making all of the difference.
On May 10th, Rodriguez was hitting .240/.269/.410 and he had just four walks in 104 plate appearances. The next day he showed up with a mechanical change and ever since he has hit .306/.355/.469 with 12 walks over 172 plate appearances.
His strikeout rate and isolated power over the stretch have been roughly the same, but his walk rate has almost doubled in that time span and just as importantly, the change has led to a change in his batted ball profile. His flyball rate has remained the same, but he’s replaced 7% of his groundballs with line drives.
So, what is the mechanical change that Rodriguez has implemented this season? Ever since he signed he has used a toe-tap for his timing mechanism. He had it when he signed at 16-years-old and he’s never really changed it. Then on May 11th, despite hitting a home run the night before, he began to use a left lift for his timing mechanism. You can see the difference below:
It’s not a dramatic change, but the results have been outstanding. To go along with the mechanical change, he’s also gone back to going the other way more often than he is pulling the ball. In June he’s going to right field far more often than he’s pulling the ball, something that wasn’t the case during the previous two months. Whether that is or isn’t related to the change or not I don’t know, but it’s worth talking about as his June has been much better and that could certainly be a part of the reason why.