*Disclaimer- This data set is very small and only from one player. The findings right now are only speculative until a larger sample can be gathered.
One thing that a player and I wanted to look at was the how his grip might effect some of his Blast metric's. Earlier in the week we were looking at how different bats effected his swing, but grips are another modification hitters can make to achieve a certain feel or result. One thing we have been noticing here in the early going of 2019 is the increased use of the split grip, where hitters leave some space between their top and bottom hands.
There's been a lot of speculation as to why players are doing this, and while we only tested with one pro player and found some notable differences, it could effect others differently. What I found was that on average the players swing speed was a bit faster than with a traditional grip. If this finding remains legitimate as the sample size increases the positive implications are obvious.
I also found that when the player utilized the split grip he had a significantly higher degrees of Early Connection. This is interesting in light of the work recently put out by Driveline's Alex Caravan and Max Gordon where they found that hitters with higher Early Connection have less productive batted balls in the top of the zone. So for this particular player, who is more of a low pitch hitter, using the split grip may not be a viable strategy against pitcher that frequently throw pitches up in the strike zone, like pitchers with high spin fastballs are starting to do more and more. That being said the split grip may help the hitter 'double down' on an already present strength of his which is his ability to hit pitches that are lower in the zone by stabilizing an even higher degree of Early Connection in his swing.