Infielder, Oregon State
At some point during the summer after his freshman season at Oregon State, Mason Guerra felt like he had lost his swing. He decided the best course of action was to end his summer ball season early and train at Driveline.
A year and a half later, Guerra has cut his strikeout rate nearly in half between his freshman and sophomore seasons and added 84 points to his slugging percentage.
“I was in summer ball and I wasn’t hitting well, and I was really struggling with knowing what I wanted to do with my swing,” Guerra said. “My swing was very steep. I was in and out of the zone really quick. So I just wanted some help from Driveline so that I could perform better.”
Guerra and Driveline Senior Hitting Trainer JP Fasone got to work ironing out Guerra’s bat path, which like he described was too steep and led to way too much swing-and-miss. As in, Guerra’s strikeout rate during his freshman year at Oregon State was 47 percent.
The process of tweaking a bat path is a combination of adjusting some body movements. How does Driveline accomplish that?
A big part of that is work in the cage, obviously, using weighted bats, different sized bats, different angles on the pitching machine and different pitch angles to force the hitter to move a certain way in their swing.
One of Guerra’s issues was dropping his hands in his swing. These drills took direct aim at that problem.
Sprinkled throughout Guerra’s time at Driveline were also dedicated high-intent bat speed training days, another part of the fix to get him back to a place of confidence in the box.
Bat speed wasn’t something Guerra was concerned with when he originally came to Driveline, because he had a history of hitting the ball hard when he squared it up. He quickly realized the benefit of gaining more bat speed, though.
“I hadn’t had an emphasis on gaining bat speed before because I didn’t feel like I needed to, because I was already hitting the ball hard,” he said. “But now, my bat speed has gone up five miles per hour and my mishits are way harder than they used to be.”
Simply put, it’s turned Guerra into a much better hitter. His strikeout rate was down from 47 percent during his freshman season to 27 percent in his sophomore season in almost five times the amount of at-bats. His slugging percentage jumped from .489 to .573, thanks to his jump from zero home runs his freshman season to 12 in his sophomore campaign.
His confidence has never been higher as he heads into his junior year at Oregon State.