Pence: Launch Angle Is The Effect, Not The Cause

Hunter Pence explained how he changed his swing and reinvented his career at 36

Reiter Than You
June 26, 2019 - 5:54 pm
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Hunter Pence has had a remarkably successful MLB career. He’s played in the big leagues since 2007, is a three-time All-Star and won two World Series championships with the San Francisco Giants.

And now, at 36, he has completely reinvented his swing.

“Last year, I lost my starting job,” Pence told Bill Reiter. “It wasn’t good enough. I still felt the love in my heart and the passion for the game, so I figured I would try to learn this new swing technology and see if I could revamp my career. . . . It kind of took off in spring training, and it’s been going good so far.”

Pence spent hours on his swing each day and played in the Dominican this winter. He is hitting .294 (his highest average since 2011) with 15 home runs (his most since 2014), 48 RBIs and a .353 OBP for the Rangers.

“Launch angle is kind of part of it, but it’s more about the bat path than launching,” Pence explained. “Launch angle is kind of the effect, not the cause. Baseball has always been ‘short to and long through’ and how long can you use your power muscles to get though the zone to hit the ball. It’s a whole different idea that I was taught. It’s like the upside-down world of what baseball was. It was swing down on the ball and stay inside of it, and this is swing up at the ball. 

“Ted Williams was saying ‘up swing’ a long time ago,” Pence continued, “and people didn’t really understand what he meant. They’re starting to kind of figure it out where your barrel just kind of comes through underneath as opposed to throwing it down. So it does create launch angle. It creates the ball jumping off your bat a lot better (with) a lot less effort and a lot more power.”