Off the Rankings continues today with our look at the top 10 most beautiful swings in the game today. We ran this post back in 2012 and it has continued to be one of our most visited pages. Why? People love a great swing. Sure, marveling at a stat line has its advantages and much of our content this week has been statistically oriented. But there’s something about the fluidity, power, and precision associated with a great swing that makes us pause and watch.
I have to admit that this is one of my favorite posts to write since it is so subjective, but also because the research for it involves watching troves of Youtube videos of home runs. I’m not sure there’s a better way for me to see an hour fly by than by diving down the best swings in the MLB tunnel on Youtube. There’s no light down that tunnel, only swings. Beautiful, beautiful swings.
Here are the top 10 guys that we here at Off the Bench would pay to watch hit off a tee:
10. Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Toronto Blue Jays
I once wrote a post on how Tulo is the new The Freak. Part of the rationale there is his all-around physical capabilities across power, speed, and accuracy. He’s an incredible fielder, and when things are going right, he’s one of the best hitters on the planet. He’s an upright hitter that generates great power.
9. Chris Davis, 1B, Baltimore Orioles
Chris Davis isn’t the most consistent of hitters, and strikes out a ton even when he is going well. He’s got one of the best power strokes in the game because he’s a hulk, but I argue that when he’s going right, he’s got a great swing. This MLB Tonight breakdown shows how great his swing can be, and why he just earned himself over $100 Million.
8. Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Colorado Rockies
The bat flip, the general swag, the ability to simply launch. The GIF below is mesmerizing.
7. Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
Trout’s swing is great simply because it’s so simple. He’s so physically gifted, but the simple swing allows him to take advantage of those tools, while preventing sustained periods of under-performance.
6. Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals
Harper’s swing is beautiful in its own way on this list. Where the rest of these guys have controlled movements that make everything look smooth, easy, and almost effortless, Harper’s swing clearly requires effort. It’s violent, and it’s impossible to look away from.
5. Miguel Sano, RF, Minnesota Twins
When I made this list in 2012, I included Eric Hosmer and it felt right. Hosmer’s swing is still beautiful but it hasn’t continued to grow into the beauty that it once inspired. I have more confidence in Sano. Since I first saw 16-year-old Sano swing in the opening sequence of Ballplayer: Pelotero, I was hooked. His first three month in the big leagues did not disappoint. His swing is still changing (look at how his front foot placement changed from the first swing, to the one around the 1:35 mark). I’m confident it will land somewhere beautiful, for it has grown from somewhere beautiful.
4. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies
Arenado’s swing is likely the first that I would point to when teaching someone to swing a bat. It’s simple and clearly ideal. This video needs more than 2,000 views.
3. Jose Bautista, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
Bautista’s at bats are my favorite. He has an uncanny eye, demonstrative body language, and a beautiful, powerful swing. This home run, and the associated bat flip were a cap to an insanely emotional inning. It also perfectly sums why Bautista is so fun, and displays his incredible swing.
2. Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays
Longo might be past his prime, but the swing is still as beautiful as ever. While other stars may put up more consistent numbers, produce better averages, or simply shine brighter, I would take Longoria’s swing over most others. He’s upright, fluid, and controlled.
- Robinson Cano, 2B, Seattle Mariners
Everything I just wrote for Longoria applies to Cano. He’s slightly (somehow) more fluid, and seems to glide around the batter’s box. He has the distinct advantage of being left handed, but I’m concerned that the words here will only detract from the grace of Robinson Cano with a bat in his hand.
The list doesn’t feel right without a link to Ken Griffey Jr. Junior recently took battign practive in Manila. He’s 46 now, but definitely still has it.