Bold statement indeed.
On Tuesday, October 24th, the Schaumburg Boomers signed first baseman Kewby Meyer.
Meyer, a 37th round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2015, played two seasons in their farm system, posting a wOBA of .333 in 2015 for the Princeton Rays(Rookie League) and a wOBA of .361 for the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Mid-A) in 2016.
Meyer transitioned to independent league ball, where the left-handed hitter played for the Salina Stockades of the American Association in 2017, posting a .304 wOBA(using the basic wOBA equation).
Those numbers may not be eye-popping, but there a few percentages that are eye popping compared to a certain major league.
That major leaguer? His name is in the title.
Looking at comparisons in terms of Line Drive, Groundball, and Fly Ball percentages, Kewby Meyer’s Minor League totals over 2 years compares to Cody Bellinger’s 2017 season.
(The reason behind not using Meyer’s 2017 LD, GB, and FB percentages is that the American Association does not have presently available information)
Here are the results:
Meyer’s percentages in the leagues that he’s played in compares to Bellinger’s. The only difference is the infield fly ball percentage(denounced as IFFB%), Meyer hits a fly ball in the infield nearly 3 times as much as Cody Bellinger, meaning that Meyer’s launch angle exceeds 35 degrees too often.
A slight change in approach and swing could fix that.
In an interview conducted by Jessica Mendoza, Cody Bellinger talks about using his hands to load for a swing rather than his body to not only generate more power, but an improved launch angle. Bellinger moves his barrel towards the pitcher while keeping the back elbow firm as he is swinging, thus creating more power through a firm, yet quick swing. Other players like Justin Turner and Chris Taylor hit with a similar approach as well.
In the aforementioned video, Bellinger states he started changing his approach while at Rancho Cucamonga, the Dodgers’ A affiliate in 2014. Were there results with this?
Yes, but not immediately.
Bellinger decreased his infield fly ball percentage each year with his peak coming in 2017.
How about fly ball percentage in comparison to his infield fly ball percentage? As Bellinger’s FB% increased, his IFFB% decreased.
With most Frontier Leaguers, their swings cause “topspin” which cause short fly balls to the opposite field. With a little adjustment in the elbow and barrel, Kewby Meyer could not only improve his launch angle(thus reducing IFFB% and increasing FB%) but also decrease “topspin” and become the Frontier League’s version of Cody Bellinger in the coming future.
Well played, Schaumburg.