“” John Rave - Driveline Baseball

John Rave

Kansas City Royals Organization

When Kansas City Royal farmhand John Rave decided he wanted to train at Driveline this past offseason, he didn’t really know what the top priority of his training would be. He liked that.

He didn’t want to go in thinking he knew what he needed to work on. He had seen videos of Driveline motion capture assessments on social media before – he knew he wouldn’t be the expert once he got there.

In fact, he didn’t even know how long he would stay past his initial motion capture. That feeling changed after his first talk with Driveline hitting trainers Conner Watson and Zack Jones.

They told Rave about the dip in his bat path. Rave had always thought it helped him get on-plane. Watson and Jones told him it was holding him back. He was all-in.

“I like to drop the bat pretty early behind me, which gets me on-plane, but I was kind of using it as a disadvantage,” Rave explained. “I’d get on-plane, but then I would drag my bat through the zone. It turned into a pretty long swing instead of being efficient and as fast as possible while maintaining that path in the zone.”

The remedy was a lot of work with the Driveline Bazooka Bat, which cleaned up his path a ton, making his movements a lot more efficient. Rave is in Royals camp now, still using the bat every day, and plans on taking it in-season with him, too.

The other problem Watson and Jones found was how inward Rave forced his toes during the load portion of his swing. Rave had always done that because he’s a bit pigeon-toed, and thought that was a fix for that problem.

However, Watson and Jones told him it really wasn’t a problem at all by showing him examples of other pigeon-toed hitters who had their back foot facing the catcher at about a 45-degree angle during their loads.

Once Rave saw that, he felt unlocked.

“I felt like I was finally able to really get into my hip and free up a lot of movement,” he said. “I feel like that will be a big factor in me feeling comfortable at the plate this year instead of forcing a move that wasn’t working.”

Was it hard to alter movements he had been making his whole career? Yes.

Does he feel like it’s going to be worth it? Of course.

“It definitely challenged me,” Rave said. “And I definitely made strides learning those new movements. I felt like over the course of the few months that I trained at Driveline, I made good progress on fixing some of those issues. It wasn’t a quick fix, it was challenging. There were some days where I was frustrated. Some days weren’t great. Some days were horrible. But it’s all part of the process. The whole goal is for it to work from March through October. You can struggle in December, January and February as long as the results come during the months that matter.”

It’s March now. The months are starting to matter.

Rave has spent parts of the past two seasons at Triple A Omaha. His goal, obviously, is to play at Kauffman Stadium this season in those months-that-matter of June, July and August.

For the first time in his career, he feels like he has set himself up to do that thanks to his offseason work at Driveline.

“This was the first offseason where I felt I did everything in my power to improve, whether that’s in the weight room or improve my swing,” Rave said. “Driveline even taught me a throwing program as a position player, which was great. So I felt like it checked all the boxes and went above and beyond in all of those boxes. I feel like I’ve put myself in the best situation to succeed this year.”

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