New Approach At The Plate Has Culver Slugging

Yesterday, I wrote about the Yankees' 2011 first round pick, Dante Bichette Jr. After hitting just three home runs in 2012, Bichette has broken out in April with two big home runs and a simplified swing. It's been a bit of an unexpected power surge, but Bichette always had a power swing at third base. So what if I told you another first round pick has also broken out with a new swing?

No it's not Slade Heathcott, last night Cito Culver hit two bombs of his own, and that was after narrowly missing one the night before.

In 1,119 minor league plate appearances, Culver has shown very little power, hitting just 6 home runs in total. Last night, he hit 2. The 20 year old Culver has in recent years struggled at the plate, owning a .235/.322/.313 line. Scouts have loved his fielding, but the lack of contact and power has seriously hindered his potential upside.

This year, Culver has tried something tremendously different by dumping his left-handed swing. In an interview with Josh Norris, Culver said that his right-handed swing was more advanced, and was hoping that his left-handed swing would eventually progress to the same level. Now, Culver is batting right-handed only, and the results look incredible.

But batting right-handed only hasn't been the only change to the shortstop's approach at the plate. Below is a video comparison of his right-handed swing from both 2012 and 2013.


Culver seems to have made the same changes that Dante Bichette Jr. made. While the majority of his batting mechanics have remained the same, the one key difference has been the reduction in his stride. He's no longer taking that big step, and has reverted to a much simpler heel step.

In the young season, through 30 plate appearances, Culver has now hit 4 singles, 2 doubles, 1 triple, and 2 home runs for a .310/.333/.655 slash. Though it's hard to imagine him keeping this pace, this power came out of no where, and the 5 extra base hits are incredibly encouraging. It's hard to call anything significant through just 30 plate appearances, so take what you will from the results. These results have come with an obvious change at the plate, and this makes Culver a huge prospect to watch this month. Along with Bichette and his similar change, Charleston is bringing some unexpected excitement.