MLB Scouting Notes: Harper's Unique Swing

Bryce Harper has now been under the microscope for an extended period of time. We've talked about his enormous potential, his makeup and attitude, and just about everything in between. Now that he's in the big leagues, it's time to take a closer look at his swing, including the aspects of it that could make him great as well some things that could trip him up.

We've long been told that Bryce Harper is special. He is indeed a unique talent and he has taken one of the faster tracks to the big leagues in recent memory. And, there's a reason he's been able to do that. His ability goes far beyond just physical strength and athleticism. It is in fact his swing mechanics that play a major role in making him the phenom he is today.

When you have some additional hand movement in the load portion of your swing and you aren't productive, scouts might say you have a hitch in your swing. If you have the physical gifts to allow yourself this type of movement, however, you sometimes get hitters like Josh Hamilton or Barry Bonds.

Up until his swing load, Harper is rather conventional at the plate. He stays balanced through his stride and puts himself in a very powerful hitting position. His toe lands with his front foot turned inward, which allows him to keep his front side closed pretty consistently as well. By the time his heel lands, however, he's in a more squared up position. As that front foot lands, Harper's load is continuing, something that is highly unique to his swing.

Essentially, there are two parts two Harper's load. Part one gets his hands back into a traditional hitting position. The second part has Harper turning his entire upper body in toward home plate and his hands loading back even further. While all of this is happening with his upper body, Harper's hips are beginning to release. The picture you then have if you pressed pause on your TV would be a picture of torque.

The torque in Harper's swing is perhaps as extreme as you'll see in baseball swing. He's creating a rubber band effect by loading his hands this deep as his lower half opens up. This is where his immense home run power comes from, as well his bat speed. The rotation he's creating with these mechanics is truly special.

As impressive as his swing may be, it could cause him some initial struggles in the big leagues. As a result of this exaggerated load with his hands, there is also some additional forward head movement as he unleashes his swing. Hitters with a great deal of head movement often have some difficulties. It's yet to cause the lefty slugger any problems thus far though, so he may simply be the exception to the rule.

An exception to the rule is a good way to describe Harper in most ways. If it were easy to pull off the type of swing he has, a lot more hitters would be trying it. The reality, however, is that without tremendous strength and hand speed, most hitters would find themselves swinging through a lot of pitches. Somehow, though, Harper has managed to build a swing that's perfectly engineered to generate home run power as well as allow him to be highly patient and consistent.

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