The first player whose batting stance truly caught my eye was Kevin Youkilis. While the Red Sox kicked the Blue Jays around when he was there, I liked seeing them come to town so I could get a good look at his batting stance. For someone who was learning how to play baseball right around the time he was getting MVP votes, I couldn’t believe how this guy could hit a baseball so well. Youk’s stance went against everything we were taught as kids and yet somehow it worked for him.
.@GreekGodOfHops' batting stance was one of a kind.
Happy birthday, Kevin Youkilis! pic.twitter.com/3MJoXpdQJD
— MLB Vault (@MLBVault) March 15, 2021
You’d think a guy with a batting stance like that would never be able to succeed in the Majors, but Youkilis managed to play in the bigs for a decade retiring with a .281 lifetime batting average. I guarantee everyone around my age who played baseball would pretend to be Kevin Youkilis in practice just to see if they could try to hit with such a bonkers batting stance.
This week’s Friday Five is dedicated to great batting stances. It’s crazy to me how players can have such different batting stances from one another but still rake. You’ve got guys with aesthetically sound stances like Ken Griffey Jr., who has the sweetest left-handed swing of all time, and then you have Jeff Bagwell whose stance couldn’t be any different. Yet both are in the Hall of Fame. As a tribute to wild, wacky batting stances I count down the all-time Blue Jays players with the best batting stances I’ve ever seen. The fact that these guys could hit big league pitching with their stances is proof that baseball doesn’t make any sense.
Which batting stance is the 🐐? pic.twitter.com/PbdOAn19L4
— MLB (@MLB) February 17, 2019
#5: Vernon Wells
Vernon Wells’ batting stance is much tamer than the rest on this list. A few bat twirls, a good bend at the knee as he open up at his front foot and not much else. But wow is it a nice swing.
Wells was a great hitter in his time and a lot of that has to do with his ability to attack the baseball. Yet his swing was so pure and smooth as he sent pitches into orbit. He hit this ball into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre, yet he did it so effortlessly. I could watch him take hacks all day long.
#4: Ernie Whitt
— Batting Stance Guy (@BattingStanceG) June 14, 2021
If you’re a baseball fan and haven’t heard of Batting Stance Guy you’ve gotta check him out. He’s the king of replicating players batting stances, and has made a video profiling just about every fascinating swing ever. His Ernie Whitt impersonation is spot-on and just shows you how nuts his stance is from start to finish. The pre-pitch bat twirls makes his bat look like a plane propeller, and then he drops to one knee on the follow-through. The only other guy who I’ve seen getaway with the drop-to-a-knee-while-hitting-a-bomb is Adrian Beltré, and that guy HATED having his head touched. That stance allowed Whitt to play 15 years in the bigs, most of which was spent with the Blue Jays.
— Blue Jays HR a Day (@BlueJaysHRaDay) November 13, 2018
#3: Tony Fernandez
Happy birthday & RIP Tony Fernandez. 🇩🇴 pic.twitter.com/ngVvZtWu6Z
— Batting Stance Guy (@BattingStanceG) June 30, 2021
What I liked about Tony Fernandez’s batting stance is how much is going on as he’s stepping into the box. He’d do all this stuff with his bat and his knees and yet his swing was still so pure. Tony played parts of 12 seasons with the Jays and he was a big pickup at the ’93 deadline when he reunited with the club he made his debut with, hitting .306 in the second half with a BIG Game 4 of the World Series. #1 was an all-time Blue Jays great and so was his batting stance.
#2: Garth Iorg
I have to wonder who is responsible for Garth Iorg developing this wild batting stance. The way he’s so leaned back with his front elbow right at his face makes me think a strong gust of wind would knock him over. He has all of his weight balanced on that hind leg and folds his upper body right over and looks like someone trying to lean against a wall while intoxicateed, but then Iorg delivers such a quick, violent swing. He wasn’t a great hitter, having hit just 20 home runs across nearly 1000 at-bats, but he sure had a great ‘stache. And those powder blue uniforms are swwwwweet.
#1: Tony Batista
You could say that Tony Batista has the best batting stance of all-time and I wouldn’t disagree. How does a guy come up with this, sticking out that front hip so that his lower half is nearly perpendicular to the plate, and then proceed to hit bombs? It makes no sense to me but somehow Batista hit 211 homers including a career-high 41 in his first full season with the Blue Jays in ’00. Aristides Aquino of the Cincinnati Reds has a similar stance to Batista, but nothing beats the original.
A legendary stance!
— MLB Vault (@MLBVault) March 30, 2021