A Deeper Look: Joe Crede

This is the first part of a feature I will be doing periodically throughout the year where I analyze the successes or failures of a player over a stretch. I base my analysis over my experience playing baseball as well as what I've learned from watching the game over the years. The two main factors I will look at are their mechanical and mental approach. If anyone has any Sox players they would like me to take a "deeper look" at, email me at Jason@soxnet.net

Third baseman Joe Crede will be the first I take a "deeper look" at and if he's reading I doubt he's happy to find himself appearing in this, because I'll be talking about his failures at the plate over his past ten games, where he is 5-36 (.136) with four strikeouts, two walks and five RBIs.

During this period Crede has had one game off and from what I've noticed the one thing that is bothering him is his inability to pick up the ball; a sub factor to this is his mental approach. Crede is still going opposite field, which is good, but he's having trouble seeing the pitch, causing him to swing at almost everything. The most notable pitches he's chased has been the high outside fastball and low outside curveball. The good news is the fact that despite chasing all these pitches, Crede only struck out four times during this period, which shows his swing is short and his hands are quick.

Mechanically his swing is practically flawless when compared to the past. The biggest difference is him seeing the pitch, making the read and swinging at strikes. This may sound easy, but to do all that on what could be a 97 MPH fastball or a 81 MPH changeup is incredibly difficult.

There is no easy solution to solving Crede's problem, but it is one that will be solved with at bats, not rest. Crede needs to get more cage time concerning himself with what the pitch is and where it is, as opposed to anything else. The more he sees pitches, the quicker he will distinguish between them.

I'd like to see Sox' coaches work a similar approach with Crede as they did with Carlos Lee last year. Jerry Manuel threw extra batting practice with Lee and helped him become a new hitter at the plate in the second half. Lee was no longer the free-swinging youngster with loads of potential, but a patient hitter that would wait for his pitch and make the opposing pitcher pay, something I believe will pay off for Lee and the Sox in the long run.

This isn't a change that will happen overnight, but slowly Crede would develop into a better hitter. He'd be taking more pitches and watch it completely into the mitt, which will give him a better idea of what that pitcher has, something not only he can utilize in later at bats or the current at bat, but for his team-mates as well.

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