“We worked on some stuff in Atlanta,” Johnson said, “and then when we got down here he ran the idea by me and his logic behind it, and I said let’s do it.”
Johnson said he used a hands-high stance since college. But after seeing his average drop from .321 in 2013 to .263 in 2014, and his OPS plummet from .816 to .653, he was willing to make the change.
“I’ll do anything to hit .300 again,” said Johnson, who hit .308 as an Astros rookie in 2010, .251 in 2011, and .281 with the Astros and Diamondbacks in 2012. “I trust (Seitzer), and if he thinks that’s the move that’ll get me to the next level and make me a better player, I’ll do it. I don’t care.”
Johnson is 1-for-5 with a single in five plate appearances in two games, and hit a couple of balls hard that he pulled to the left side. When he’s going well, he hits a lot of balls up the middle and to the opposite (right) field.
The reasoning for keeping his hands lower is to be in a hitting position quicker, and he’s still getting used to it. It’s good that he’s able to reach pitches quicker, he just needs to adjust.
“I tell you what, I’ve made a lot of contact out front,” he said. “I think it’s because I’ve got a lot more time to react when my hands are already down here ready to go. So I think I need to just let the ball get a little deeper, and trust that I’m a lot quicker where they’ve got my hands. So yeah, I’m excited about it.”