The Rays have been on a run as of late. While it comes as no surprise that the team is playing better than it had previously, one of the catalyst may be a eye-opener to some.
Over the last two weeks, Logan Forsythe is hitting .436/.476/.667. Expand our sample to the last 30 days, and he is still sitting at a more than respectable .356/.387/.508. This coming on the heels of the first two months when he posted a line of .202/.264/.263 in this first 110 plate appearances with the Rays.
The hot streak may come as a shock to some. On the other hand, it was the cold streak to being the year that was actually perplexing to others. In one of his earliest takes on Forsythe, R.J. Anderson said “what stood out while watching Forsythe is his offensive game, which is better than his recent numbers suggest.” He then added “Forsythe makes plenty of contact—albeit not at a Jeff Keppinger level—and lives to take balls to left-center field. There’s more power in his bat than anticipated, and he should record a fair amount of hard-hit doubles.”
In my initial write-up, it was noted that Forsythe had “pull-side power but has flashes of surprising pop to other portions of the field.” Continuing on, he showed the ability to “push the ball to right field and up the middle.”
Unfortunately for writers, fans, teammates, coaches and the player, very little of what was mentioned above manifested in the early stages of the season. Despite the struggles, Forsythe had another believer on his side. Ever the eternal optimist, manager Joe Maddon had faith in his new player. “I think he’s a classic example of a guy you got to hang with, because it’s in there. His track record is good. He’s not really off of it outside of an actual number with the batting average, because otherwise a lot of the underlying noise is pretty good.” That quote is from May 22. Just a few days before the breakout began.
Looking at Forstyhe then and now, we see a few changes. First, the physical ones. Forsythe has slightly tweaked his stance. The top portion of the image below is from late-June. The bottom comes from May. Currently, his posture is more upright and his legs are slightly open. The biggest change appears to be his hands. Previously held around his face, they are now near the top of his head. He is not the only player to have made a recent adjustment in this area. It also looks like he may have made a change in bats.
In terms of data, Forsythe is doing a better job of ball distribution. As previously stated, he once excelled at taking the ball up the middle and to the opposite field. Meanwhile, in April and May, he was pull-heavy with 45 percent of hits going to the left side.
With the augmented set-up, however, he is back to using the entire field; most notably right-center field. His pull-percentage has dropped more than 10 percent.
Is Forsythe’s recent run fueled by mechanical fixes or simply time running its’ course? The answer is probably a little bit of both. Slight alterations to the swing can have a big impact, especially after a prolonged slump. At the same time, The 27-year-old had previously shown he can hit at the highest level, and even at his low point was still putting the bat to the ball.
Much of Forsythe’s game is largely free of chrome. That said, he is certainly shining these days.