The first time Beckham changed his stance came sometime between his signing date, in 2008, and the 2011 Arizona Fall League.
As a high-school senior Beckham used a stance that reminded now-team employee Josh Kalk of Rickie Weeks. Beckham’s swing was too top-heavy. Beckham showed off a busy, serpentine-like stance in Arizona last year. He held his hands at helmet level, wiggling the bat head from the third-base dugout to center field before looping the bat back to its starting position. He would do it again then rest the bat in a position parallel to the ground before starting his load and stride. All the while Beckham would rock his body, occasionally causing his front heel to separate from the ground. Beckham’s stride consisted of him lifting his front foot and bringing his leg in to his body before stabbing it in place to shift his weight. The entire process appeared messy and herky-jerky.
The second time Beckham changed his stance came during this season. Back in Arizona again this fall, Beckham is using cleaner mechanics. The pre-swing gyrating is gone. His weight is evenly distributed, with his legs’ negative space forming a triangle image rather than a lopsided tepee. His hands are down to chest level, and he no longer whips the bat around pre-swing. Instead he rocks his hands back and forth, up and down, and then back and up as he starts to load. Aspects of the stride are still there—he still lifts his front foot and brings it into his body—but the actions appear controlled and allow for better balance. Everything is more compact.
The transformation looks like an improvement, though it’s unknown whether the changes affected Beckham’s performance. (Adam Sobsey noted Beckham’s altered stance late in the season, but did not know the exact date.) Next season will be the biggest of Beckham’s career to-date. He’ll be on the 40-man roster and one step from reaching the majors; he should receive a cup of coffee in September if nothing else. Who knows. Should the new mechanics take, Beckham might force his way to the majors before September.