Tim Beckham made his Major League debut on Thursday night and promptly picked up his first big league hit with a single to right field. We still need to see a lot more, but there were some signs in that at bat that showed us some things to like and some things Beckham needs to work on.

Here are all four pitches from that at bat in order. The most important things to look for during each pitch are Beckham’s leg kick and where the pitcher is in the windup when Beckham lifts his leg.

The leg kick is important because it serves as a timing mechanism for the hitter that gets the weight of the body moving forward. The most important thing is consistency and Beckham doesn’t seem to have that.

Here is pitch one, which Beckham did not swing at…

The first thing that stands out is just how high Beckham’s leg kick is. This is often frowned upon unless you have super-fast hands. Also notice that the ball is still well-behind the pitcher as Beckham’s knee reaches its highest point…

p1 no swing

Here is pitch two, which Beckham swung at and missed…

To be fair, a lot of good hitters are late on 98 mph cheese up in the zone. But Beckham’s leg kick isn’t helping. Also notice that the pitcher is much closer to delivering the ball when Beckham’s knee is reaching its highest point. It is hard to use a timing mechanism as a timing mechanism if the timing is off…

p2 swing late

Here is pitch three, which Beckham did not swing at…

Did you see that! This was great. Beckham saw that he needed to make an adjustment during the at bat and he did. He almost completely eliminated the leg kick knowing he had to speed things up. On a side note, Beckham was lucky this was a ball because the pitcher quick-pitched Beckham a little bit. Notice the pitcher didn’t lift his knee nearly as high as the other pitches. It was kind of a weird move on an 0-2 pitch in a 7-2 game with a rookie at the plate. But the result was the pitch was already on the way to the plate when Beckham was lifting his knee…

p3 no swing

And here is the final pitch, which was the base hit…

Beckham was a little late with his leg kick as the pitcher is just about to release the ball. But again, almost no leg kick to speak of. Also, nothing flies open on the swing. Notice that the front shoulder stays closed and the belly-button is pointing at the ball during the swing. That allowed Beckham to stay with the outside pitch and poke it to the opposite field.

p4 basehit

If I had to guess, I’d bet that high leg kick is gone by next Spring Training once Derek Shelton gets to spend more time with Beckham. But otherwise, there is stuff here to like and to be excited about.

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2 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    You're forgetting that this may be the first time he's ever worn long pants. Maybe lost a cue he was getting before.

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  2. Old bob says:

    Do we really hope that shelton is our hitting coach next year?

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