Shelley Duncan’s Struggles with Plate Coverage | The Process Report

Shelley Duncan’s Struggles with Plate Coverage

During the season’s first week I wrote, “[Shelley] Duncan is a pull-heavy hitter. He flies open a lot and almost all of his home runs and extra-base hits will go to left field. Anything thrown away or down in the zone can give him trouble.”

Duncan loves exploding his hips before contact. It’s part of how he generates his power. Unfortunately there are drawbacks to this, including pulling off the ball. Try swinging and opening your front hip without having it impact your lead shoulder and head, which affects the bat path as well. This can lead to plate coverage issues on the outside portion of the plate. It’s still early but sure enough Duncan is struggling to make contact on balls away from him:


Here’s another visual, this from his recent home run in Baltimore:


It’s hard to nitpick a home-run swing too much, but Duncan’s issues are on display here.  He activates his lower half so early that his upper half has to play catch up. Pitchers know it. They know about Duncan’s long arms, too. That’s why the template for getting Duncan out revolves around hard stuff inside then soft stuff away. It’s a template the Yankees used well against their former prospect, holding him to an 0-for-4 series with three strikeouts and two walks.

Stats and visualizations courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info

One Comment

  1. I definitely think you’re onto the key issue here. His walk rate suggests he’s seeing the ball well enough, but he would need a mechanical adjustment — and who knows, it’s probably too late in his career for that — in order to put his imposing frame to full use.

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