Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Time for Cuddyer to get his groove

While folks like Nick Blackburn and (recently) Kevin Slowey have been keeping the Twins atop the precarious AL Central standings, Michael Cuddyer has been bobbing in and out of mediocrity.

Cuddyer, now in his seventh season with the Twins, is putting up numbers and batting like he did in his 2005 season when the team experimented with him as an everyday third baseman. In 2005, Cuddyer hit .263 with 12 home runs and just 42 RBI.

This season he's hitting .275 with one home run and 12 RBI. It's a far cry from the pace of 2006 (.284, 24, 109) and 2007 (.276, 16, 81). Worse, Cuddyer doesn't look the same at the plate, often waving at outside pitches on two-strike counts. Not many people will talk about it, but he's looking like Jose Canseco out in the field more than the sure-handed and sure-firing Cuddyer we've all learned to love in right field.

The latest word is he's going to try some new muscle-relaxing mouth guard to better himself at the plate. To me that sounds a bit Nuke Laloosh-like (garters and lady's underwear under the uniform) to be anything more than a mind game.

When the old BP catcher was a real catcher and hitting well I was hitting with a more pronounced straight-standing stance. At one point I opened it up and crouched more (ala Shannon Stewart) for better bat control. The problem was I was too crouched for what I always knew and though my slap hits to right field increased (inside-outing like Joe Mauer), my power and real control was gone. I wasn't comfortable and it just didn't feel like me.

I'm not claiming to be anything more than a Class B BP catcher, so don't get me wrong. But if you look at Cuddyer's stance these days, he's more pronounced bending at the knee and his stance is more wide than in previous years.

Again, I'm just a coach, but stand up like you used to and just whack at the damn ball. We'd rather see something that nears power than what's going on at the plate so far this season.

Cuddyer photo courtesy of Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

1 comment:

Jimmy Olichwier said...

You can't be a pirhana if you swing with power. They've finally gotten him to drink theh Kool-Aid and swing like Nancy Mauer. Up next: Morneau.