Frankly, I didn't think Mark DeRosa was gonna work out, but I didn't think he'd be this bad. I figured he was on the downside, and he's a utility man, not really a corner outfielder. But he was supposed to be a decent hitter with some pop. Obviously he's gotten off to a horrible Mendoza-like start.
Maybe he's got a bad wrist that robs him of bat speed. But perhaps as important in making him late to the ball is the enormous hitch he has (see this video). For those of you who have never played the game in earnest: The idea is to drop the bat head on the ball from the stance position, with as little wasted motion as possible. So on the slo mo videos, you will see virtually every good hitter's hands stay up as they rotate to put the the bat on the ball. Obviously, if the pitch is low the hands will be lower, but this occurs during the actual swing. The hitch or loop is a useless movement which happens before the pitch arrives and before the actual swing. DeRosa's hands start up by his ear, then before the pitch comes, he drops his hands down to his belt. Then he tries to hit the pitch. This is the hitch. It is sometimes referred to as a "loop." So his swing becomes long, takes too much time, and that means slow, so he is late contacting the ball, which makes the ball tend to go to the right side, and usually he is approaching the ball from below, undercutting the pitch, instead of dropping the bat head on the ball. So he often pops up.
For contrast, watch this video of Giant Juan Uribe, who has no hitch at all. He holds his hands up and drops the bat on the ball. Some hitters move their hands back a little, as they stride; that's not a loop. Watch the videos of the other players linked in the comment section. See the swing of Chase Utley, for example. They don't do that "drop the hands" thing before the pitch comes. In a way it's kind of like football quarterback Tim Tebow, who always dropped his hand before he passed the ball. How did he get away with that for so long? I guess, because he was Tim Tebow, the super-athlete you didn't mess with, even if he was doing it wrong. Now he's trying to correct it, so he can get the ball away faster.
This hitch or loop is one of the most obvious flaws that would be corrected by the first good coach a boy or girl ever has. Has he always had it? I think I see it in the old video of a Cubs game. That DeRosa still has it, says to me that he was some sort of prodigy, an athlete whose results were so great that coaches were afraid to change his swing. Perhaps Derosa, the star football player, didn't devote that much time to the finer points of baseball, I don't know.
Now, there are players who can overcome a flawed swing. Maybe DeRosa is one of them. But it becomes harder as you get older and have physical problems. It's hard to believe he's just developed it, because certainly he's watched tape and he and/or Bam Bam could have corrected it. So I have to assume he's always had it, and always will (he's kind of an old dog, yes?) At any rate, I'd say it bodes ill.
And don't get me started on Matt Downs.