Ive read and listened to critiques of different players on the Reds as not having a level swing and they shouldn't have any kind of uppercut in their swing. The most common Red referenced negatively in this light is Jay Bruce, with Votto being the model for "perfection" as far as a "level swing" goes. But when you look at the tape in slow mo, thats not what is happening at all.
Joey Votto Slow Motion Swing - YouTube
Jay Bruce Slow Motion Swing - YouTube
Stop and think of the best hitters of the past 60 years. They all had different stances ranging from closed to open, wide to short, hand positions, held the bat differently, stride lengths that varied dramatically, yet the one thing that seems to be common amongst every single great hitter is they have a slight upper cut swing and are not swinging down or "level" at the baseball.
Idk how many times I was told to "chop wood" as a kid and teenager that you're sposed to have a level swing. I heard it throughout my entire life whether it was with my summer travel team, from my high school coaches, and even my dad. I still hear similar phrases repeated to this day at my nephews baseball games. I wish I had learned differently at a younger age, bc I finally got around to reading the Science of Hitting by Ted Williams.
God, why did I never read this book when I was a kid, bc the information in it regarding the mechanics of hitting is priceless. I know its been around forever, hes regarded as the greatest hitter ever, and the book is well renowned, but it amazed me just how much information is taught that is flat out wrong.
Also, Obv an extreme long looping uppercut would not be the best swing, so please dont derail this into a "player x has an uppercut swing and he sucks" when in all likelihood that player is not using a "slight uppercut" and just has massive holes in his swings. Really, just look at youtube clips of jose bautista, barry bonds, A-Rod, young Griffey Jr, and even Pujols and they all have slight upper cuts.
Ex A. Griffey Jr
Ex B. Albert
Albert Pujols Hitting 07_18_2007 01_42_26PM.avi - YouTube
Ive been helping my nephew a lot lately, and I am pretty convinced from looking at these clips and reading ted william's book that the chopping wood approach is really not the most effective way to hit a baseball. Rather an uppercut swing is preferred excluding when stuck in a 2 strike count as Williams noted. My nephew has already shown massive improvements since I started tampering with this, and if anyone out there has a slight uppercut and someone tries to change it, just point them to Ted Williams' book.
Some illustrations and excerpts from his book