Tool Time: Top Left-handed Swings

The image of the left-handed hitting Ken Griffey waving his bat in his pre-pitch routine caused the confidence of many a pitcher to waver. He followed it up with one of the smoothest strokes ever seen. These San Diego Padres prospects do their best to strike fear into the opposition with their vision of sweetness.

Cedric Hunter

A smooth operator from the left side, Hunter has a clean swing that offers up the advantage of sitting back on any ball while simply dropping the head of the bat to make solid contact.

A refined approach and great hand-eye coordination gives him a level stroke that hits the top half of the ball to create backspin, giving it extra carry. He has such good control of the bat that he can handle bad pitches, albeit not as cleanly.

Drew Macias

A slight change in mechanics that put Macias more on his heels made his swing even sweeter. The move was made to give Macias better balance and the ability to turn on the inside fastball.

Already proficient in getting extension, Macias improved mechanics and plate discipline allow him to make solid contact when he does offer.

Peter Ciofrone

Ciofrone has always possessed one of the sweetest swings, capable of doing damage with his ability to put good wood on any ball. The power has finally caught up.

Re-signed as a six-year free agent, Ciofrone turns on pitches quickly with a powerfully built frame that incorporates his torso and legs. As a result, he is usually among the leaders in ‘hard contacts'.

Luis Durango

It isn't that his swing is pretty – but no player in the system has the bat control of Durango. He can lay down a bunt with the infield back or slap one over the third baseman with the infield in on just about any pitch.

Where he has improved is driving the ball. With his brain, eyes and hands wired together, Durango can manipulate the bat to hit it where the fielders aren't. It is incredible to watch.

Jaff Decker

Solid plate awareness, the ability to track the ball out of the pitcher's hand and a powerful stroke was Decker's recipe for success.

Decker is a polished hitter with a non-traditional stance. He creates balance for himself and uses his hands to stay inside the ball and take it where it is pitched. With natural strength and backspin, he sends balls into the gaps with regularity. It will be interesting to see if he will have to change as the pitching he sees improves.

Honorable Mention:

Kellen Kulbacki

Alterations to his swing did not go well, but reverting back to old mechanics brought back confidence and little variation. He made smaller adjustments and saw success as his hand positioning and balance improved. He also mastered backspinning the ball to improve its flight distance.

Lance Zawadzki

A much better hitter from the left side than right, Zawadzki gets his hands through the zone quickly with power. A solid trigger with a strong torso allows him to create torque through the ball. He also keeps his hands inside the ball to hit to all parts of the field.

Eric Sogard

With an uncanny ability to recognize pitches and solid pitch selection, Sogard can focus on keeping his bat head through the hitting zone for prolonged periods – knowing he will be swinging at a strike and making solid contact.

Drew Cumberland

Blessed with natural athleticism, Cumberland has a smooth stroke that provides solid contact – putting the fat part of the stick to the ball. He is still a bit raw mechanically and has to learn to not dive out for balls.

Josh Alley

One of the best eyes in the system allows Alley to let the ball travel deep, giving him an edge on hitting breaking balls and fastballs alike. He keeps his hands away from his body, allowing him to keep his line drive swing on balls on the outer half and inner half.

Danny Payne

Solid pitch selection and recognition give Payne the ability to hit balls squarely in the zone. While he is still finding out what kind of hitter he is, Payne has some power and keeps hit bat through the hitting zone to up his ability to make contact.

Mitch Canham

One of the few players that doesn't use batting gloves, Canham is a powerfully built specimen that creates tremendous speed with his hands and wrists, allowing him to hit each ball hard. If he can limit his tendency to leak forward, Canham has a chance to be a force at the dish.

Sawyer Carroll

While he can get a little long and has to eliminate the rap in his swing, Carroll has incredible power that he generates. Shortening up will allow the power to hit balls on the inner half.

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