Case Study 2: Josh Horton, Oakland A’s Minor Leaguer

Written By: Chas Pippitt

Case Study:  Josh Horton

Josh Horton, AAA player for the Oakland Athletics, walked into I.T.S. Baseball on October 4th of 2011.  Josh played at the local high school where he was an All American, then headed to UNC Chapel Hill where he was also an All American and even won the ACC batting title.  Josh came in looking for a place to hit in the off season, perhaps someone to throw him some batting practice, and was genuinely happy to see that a baseball facility had opened so close to his house and in his hometown.

I told Josh I’d like to take a look at his swing on video and let him know what I thought and we’d go from there.  I was excited to work with Josh, an excellent player, and to learn from him and what he’d learned during his very successful career to this point.

BEFORE: This is Josh’s first day video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JlOHC51WfMI

After uploading this footage, and checking it out, I asked Josh what he was trying to do with his swing and what his goals in baseball were. As you can see, Josh had a hands first out in front approach to hitting.  I showed him the different way that we look at hitting and why we think what we do.  I showed him My case study of Robinson Cano, a middle infielder just like Josh, who hits left-handed as well.  Josh was amazed at the difference between his swing and Cano’s.  As you can see, Cano’s swing was much different from Josh’s October 4th swing.

Robinson Cano Hitting Mechanics, Robinson Cano Case StudyJosh and I put extensive work into his swing.  For the first time in his career, Josh studied video of himself.  He saw the difference and we set out to make some swing changes.  Josh was skeptical at first of some of the things I asked him to do, but each time he made the changes that we talked about, he hit the ball harder.

By using many of the same ideas we’ve talked about here on the blog like staying back, keeping the eyes behind the ball, hands deep, accelerating the barrel instead of the hands, and getting on plane with the pitch,

AFTER: Josh’s swing now looks like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mqqWiOW35mg

Josh told me he’d like to hit for more power, more homeruns and doubles.  Instead, what I.T.S. Baseball has given Josh is the chance to have more time to see the baseball, a faster swing, a deeper contact point and, last but not least, significantly more power.  Josh’s swing works totally differently in the cage, the real test will be his results this year for the A’s.  I’m excited for him and he’s excited as well.

Working with Josh has been one of the best experiences of my career.  We will continue to work together in the future.  Josh was interested in and dedicated to his craft and, as you can see, has drastically improved his swing.  Josh has the knowledge and the tools to continue this process and hold onto his newfound swing.  Josh has recently relocated to Los Angeles to train with other professional players to get ready for spring training.  Josh and I will continue our work online and via telephone.

Here’s what Josh had to say about his time with I.T.S. Baseball and Chas Pippitt:

I’m certain in the last two months, using the I.T.S. Baseball philosophy and program, I’ve improved immensely.  I’m looking forward to working intimately with Chas in the future, and trying to create more bat speed, and more consistent hard contact.”  Josh Horton, Infield Oakland A’s AAA afiliate

Good luck Josh from all of us at I.T.S. Baseball and the Baseball Hitting Rebellion.  We will post updates on Josh in the rest of the offseason and into his games this year.

Chas Pippitt, Leader of the Baseball Hitting Rebellion.

 

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Mike
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Mike

Wow, what a difference. This change could give Josh a chance to be a premier player, at least maybe stick in the bigs. 2B with power are a premium.

Thru five minor league season’s he is hitting .274 with 14 HR (.357 slg%) and .710 OPS. If he can raise any of these numbers it should turn some heads.

This will be interesting to watch develop. Wish him the best and pray he stays healthy, too.

chas
Member

Glad you think so Mike, he worked very hard for that change.

We’ll post more video as we update his progress in the future.

Chas —

Randy
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Randy

The new swing is beautiful. I’ve watched that clip at least 20 times. I didn’t know he’s been playing minors for 5 years. It blows my mind that these organizations invest so much time and money into these kids and yet they don’t teach them how to swing a bat. I think he is always going to remember the day he walked through your doors. Great work Chas.

Wayne
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Wayne

Hi Chas, I just found your site and wanted to let you know I love it. I think I am much like yourself in that I have been studying the baseball swing for quite a few years now and I try to learn something new every day. I just wanted to comment on the Josh Horton swing above. I feel like Josh is very close to “spinning” in this particular swing video. If you look at his back foot in relation to the Tanner Tee in the foreground you will see that it looks like his backside never really releases.… Read more »

greg
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greg

What are you working on to accelerate the barrel of the bat? Have you already explained this?

thanks.

chas
Member

Greg,

Simply put, we are working on using the hips and wrists in conjunction with the ‘row’ to make the bat go faster sooner.

The Drive Developer and The Rack are helpful in engaging the proper muscles and most of our online and in person kids use the DD. The Rack is just starting out and being tested.

Chas–

Ervinsm
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Ervinsm

Good news Hes got 6 hrs in his 270 PA’s this season, when he had 6 HR’s in his ~600 previous PAs over the past 2 seasons at AA and AAA. His Slug #s are obv up.

Bad news
Looks like he got sent back to AA now

Hopefully it works out for him, but at his age it seems, a lot of teams start to just give up on minor league guys that haven’t gotten to the show yet.

Colin
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Colin

Josh has now actually retired from playing and i coaching at UNC.
.