C-MO’s style

20050606vsdodgers_monroe_double I chatted with Craig Monroe in the Tigers clubhouse the other day and asked him about his hitting style.  It is quite different than the approach his teammates take at the plate.  If you watch Monroe hit, it looks almost like he swings one-handed.  His top hand flies off the bat during his follow through.  In reality he loses the top hand only after he make contact and brings the bat through the zone.  It’s a style used by two of the top sluggers in the American League, Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriquez.  In fact, that’s by design.  "I’ve worked out with A-Rod, using his hitting drills," Craig said.  The idea, evidently, is to help him stay through the strike zone longer and to keep his top hand from being dominant.  "When the top hand is too dominant in a swing, you tend to roll over and hit easy ground ball outs," he said.

I asked Craig when he first started using that hitting style, and he thinks it was in his minor league days in the Texas Rangers organization.  Jesse Barfield was his hitting instructor and one day he brought in Charley Lau Jr. to help Craig tweak his swing.  Charley Lau Jr. was a minor league hitting coach and the son of Charleylausr01 Charley Lau Sr., the celebrated hitting guru who’s prize student was George Brett .

The style has produced a strong season for Monroe.  His 78 RBI leads the Tigers, and he has posted good numbers despite hitting in the bottom third of the lineup on a nightly basis.  He is on pace for 102 RBI this season which would mark the first time in his career that he would reach that total.  Defensively, he has played all three outfield positions with skill.  Only three American League outfielders have knocked in more runs than Monroe:  Vlad Guerrero, Gary Sheffield and yes, Manny Ramirez.

By the way, I’ve added some photos from the last Kansas City trip.

1 Comment

Mario, I think Monroe has done a decent job for Detroit. He doesn’t push the scale to impact status and the tigers have hurt for someone who can provide impact stats. If Ordonez were to become that impact player in the outfield I believe Monroe would be a good fit. I personally like more speed and great defense in the outfield. I could dream of Granderson, Logan and Maybin playing to the potential invisioned for each of them. But I guess in reality we will most likely see Monroe, Granderson and Ordonez patroling the grassy areas of Comerica park. In a way it seems to waste the talent of Logan. But I guess there are those who may say, what talent other than speed and defense. We shall see, the verdict is not out yet. Robert

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