Player Progression Feature #2: Pat Mcgee

by Matthew de Marte – February 6th, 2018

Pat and I first started to swing together this past summer after becoming acquainted with each other by training at the same gym. Although Pat was three years younger than I was, Pat showed an eagerness to learn and a drive to get better.

Once  Pat and I started hitting together it became an everyday thing. When we first started swinging together, Pat had a slow bat. He possessed good bat to ball skills and was a great athlete, but didn’t have the strength or the swing to make an impact at the next level. This video below shows Pat in an at-bat during a high school game during his senior season last spring.

When we started to hit together over the summer, it was clear Pat needed to improve. Pat and I talked a lot about hitting, and he expressed a desire to do damage as a hitter and hit for power. His Senior year of high school he started to figure out how to hit for extra bases a little bit but knew he was nowhere close to reaching his ceiling as a baseball player. So Pat went to work. Through trial and error, trying new things being wrong, being right and trying to figure things out he started to make progress. There were glaring flaws in his swing. One of the biggest was Pat was not strong enough to have a consistent high-level swing pattern. So Pat worked hard in the weight room, crushing lifts and eating a ton to make sure his body could support the swing he was trying to build.

The fun part of the Pat Mcgee story is watching all the progress he has made with his swing. First, he incorporated a scap load and trying to lift the ball. Pat added a scap load because he was always a very handsy hitter. His hands dictated his swing path, and it caused inconsistencies with him pushing the barrel and rolling over far too often. As you can see in the first video, his scap is not apart of the swing at all. Loading the scap, in my opinion, is one of the essential parts that every swing must have. While each hitter’s swing is different, there are a few things I believe every high-level swing has in common. So Pat incorporated a scap load and changed his mind to a more air-ball focused approach. All summer Pat worked on feeling his scap guide the upper body in his swing. From PVC pipe progressions to trying to imitate Josh Donaldson’s aggressive scap load, he worked on feeling his scap change his swing plane and swing speed. Pat didn’t focus on anything else over the summer because the idea of hitting for power was new to him and took time for him to adjust from soft line drives to harder hit air-balls.

Before changing the swing more, Pat had to change his philosophies on the swing. One of the biggest things Pat had to learn was to “feel sexy.” When looking at young hitters often the flow and rhythm are coached out of them leading to choppy and robotic mechanics that are too difficult to time up for consistent success. When looking at professional hitters hit I like using the cue feel sexy (and credit Jonathan for introducing it to me) because these guys truly look sexy in their stances and swings. So Pat had to learn how to feel sexy in his swing. A big key for Pat to feel sexy was getting the rhythm and timing of his swing down. For more on rhythm and timing watch this video and skip to 6:35.

Pat’s way of feeling sexy was adding a leg kick. One day I received this video from Pat during the past fall with a leg kick now incorporated.

A lot of people think that a leg kick is a mechanical flaw. In reality, it is just another timing mechanism. For Pat, this timing mechanism made him feel sexier at the plate and gave him more confidence he could do damage.

Finally, this Thanksgiving break and Christmas break Pat made tremendous strides in his swing. The trial and error and changes that have gone into it are a lot. From different drills to overload/underload bats to trying to create a snap in his swing. The strides Pat made and what he was able to accomplish are incredible. In a matter of months, he added efficient front leg mechanics, a rubber-band effect, better timing, a more consistent and deeper swing plane, and a more efficient barrel turn. The swing Pat has going into his freshman season at SUNY Oneonta is in the video that follows.

The difference is drastic. Pat is crushing baseballs. Looking at the hitter he was in the summer who was pushing line drives on his peak swings to the one driving balls all over the field now has been incredibly fun to watch. For those reading, this article here are the most significant takeaways to have from the Pat Mcgee story.

  1. Chase your potential. If you aren’t satisfied with where your career is and want to change it, you 100% can do so, and the resources are out there to make it happen.
  2. Work ethic. This was not an overnight fix. Pat spent every day in the cage, in the gym, and on the internet doing his own research to get to this point. He showed extreme dedication towards his craft and diligence and attention to detail to make it happen.
  3. Hunger. Pat is continuing to try and get better. He is not going to rest on his progress. He will continue to fine-tune his swing and try to get better.
  4. Ask questions. There are always people out there better than you, who know more than you. The beautiful thing is those people often are always willing to help you get better if you display the desire to do so.

I’m incredibly excited to follow Pat this spring and his journey as a collegiate baseball player. If anyone wants me to write a follow-up post with some of the drills Pat did to improve his swing comment and let us know, I’d be happy to write a follow-up post including all of them. I hope you all learned something from Pat’s story and hopefully, this is the beginning of a fantastic career for Pat!

 

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