Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

Here is the real change in Xander Bogaerts' swing

Rob Bradford
March 31, 2018 - 11:02 pm

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- He is hitting the ball higher and harder. But there must be one piece of the puzzle that is paving the way for Xander Bogaerts' early-season success.

After the Red Sox' 3-2 win over the Rays, hitting coach Tim Hyers offered an explanation.

"I think it was a combination of a few things. It was building. Some of those products equal what you're getting. The starting block was that he started building a pretty good foundation what he was trying to do with his legs so he felt strong in the batter's box," Hyers said. "I think he wanted to stay behind the ball, so that made him stay upright a little more. Those things, that slows the ball down."

In a nutshell, the days of watching Bogaerts' unique way of lunging at pitches may be a thing of the past.

Instead of the righty hitter's first move being toward the pitcher, now he rocks back just enough to build a foundation for what has become a more powerful swing. The result has been six extra-base hits in three games, including a home run that offered a perfect picture as to how it has all come together.

"What happens is that his first move now is that he loads under his hips, and under his body before he goes forward," Hyers explained. "In the past he just goes, so your feet get outside your hips really quick. He was getting outside of his frame pretty quick. When he gets outside of his frame he has a chance to be wobbly. The whole idea is to load under your hips before you go forward. [In spring training> he was trying to find that move and then it synced up his hands, so your upper body and lower body are working together.

"He had the goals in the offseason. It wasn't something where we said, 'We want you to do this.' He was like, 'I want to do this. I want to feel stronger.' He said he felt his lower-half last year, everything was going. So when he built the foundation I think that slowed the ball down for him."