Aaron Shackelford adjusts swing and relocates power

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Aaron Shackelford is a power hitter. The long ball drives his value as a prospect.

However, through most of April, the slugger was in a career-worst blackout. With that, the pressure was beginning to create a mental battle.

On April 28, things changed. Shackelford hit his first home run of the season.

“It was a relief,“ Shackelford said. “I was really thankful for it. It had been a lot of at bats since the last one, so I’m just thankful…I think I had a similar drought in September, so that is part of the mental battle. I finished the year on kind of a drought, and to start the year.”

According to Shackelford, the plan was to be faithful to the work put in each day. With that work came a large change with his approach.

“My swing has changed a lot from last year,” Shackelford said. “With the better talent, I have to clean things up. That’s just natural progression. You have to get better as the competition gets better. I think that’s why there was a drought in home runs, because I was trying to clean up my swing.”

Last season, Shackelford stood a lot more upright prior to the pitch, and held his bat along his back shoulder. This year, he holds the bat in front of him more vertically. He also starts in slightly more of a relaxed crouch.

While power has always been a major part of his game, Shackelford knows an adjustment in approach is always necessary to reach the highest level.

“In college I hit for power a lot,” Shackelford said. “That has always been a part of my game. I think now the shift has been, the power is there, let’s clean up the swing in order to get a more consistent contact rate and less strikeouts.”

Shackelford has never walked more than 40 times in a season, and he currently sits at 28 walks through only 46 games this year. Additionally, his 48 strikeouts have him at a 27-percent pace. This would mark a career-low since rookie leagues in 2019.

During the drought, Shackelford had seen an uptick in exit velocity, but no tangible results. That has quite obviously changed, as he hit seven more homeruns during the month of May, which saw the tangible results in a 1.069 OPS.

It is the mental battle for a power hitter to not try to hit a homerun, while really wanting to, according Shackelford. He has now overcome this and then some, with his new, natural approach.

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Ryan has been following Indianapolis baseball for most of his life, and the Pirates since they became the affiliate in 2005. He began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2013, in a stint that ran through 2016 (with no service time manipulation played in). Ryan rejoined the team in 2022, covering Indianapolis once again. He has covered the Pirates in four different big league stadiums. Ryan was also fortunate enough to cover the 2015 Futures Game in Cincinnati.

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Enmanuel Terrero Is hitting .301/.405/.821 at Bradenton. 12 SBs. K rate of 23%. 20 years old. 5’9”. Is he a Top 20 prospect?

Last edited 3 months ago by leefieux

If Harold Rameriz made maybe he can too?


Harold’s continued hanging around the majors has surprised me, not unlike Steve Pearce’s career.

Wilbur Miller

Probably a 4th OF ceiling. In the running, at least. Guy always has a clue at the plate.

Last edited 3 months ago by Wilbur Miller

Our next firstbaseman! 😻😻😻😻


Some stuff from Beer Temple’s Prospect article:

Jared Jones

He’s really good,” said a scout who recently watched Jones pitch. “Super athletic. Ease of operation. Fastball was up to 99 mph. Curveball only needs to be his fourth pitch, three or four times a game. I would keep him in Altoona all year and get that changeup right. That’s all he needs.”

Matt Gorski

He’s got the tools to be an All-Star,” said the scout quoted earlier. “It’s kind of a carnival act with that swing — huge, open, ‘step in the bucket’ stride, pull-everything (approach). Every pitcher on the planet is going to throw him fastballs away, sliders away, and he’s not going to hit them. If he decides to clean up his direction at the plate, he could be an All-Star. It’s up to him whether his approach kills him or not.”

(correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t his current hot streak the result of him changing his stance? I thought I read that somewhere.)

Wilbur Miller

The last few times I’ve watched the Curve on the intertubes, he didn’t seem to be stepping toward third nearly as badly. Earlier in the year it was extreme, really extreme. Like, he was stepping so far into the bucket he could barely reach pitches on the inside corner. How much he’s changed his approach since then I can’t say for sure, but with the swing he had then, there’s no way he’d be hitting sell now.


What I noticed as well, looks to have calmed down the swing a touch. He’s really cut down the K’s lately and the power is showing back up. Hope it’s sustainable.


Thx. Cautious optimism?


I’m optimistic on Gorski as well, looking like a potential right handed Outman. Really hoping the approach is taking hold and he can cover the plate.

Wilbur Miller

He’s showing signs of getting red hot like he did last year. The issue with breaking balls is so severe much of the time that you have to be awfully cautious. Longenhagen basically dismissed him out of hand due to the swing and miss. But the comments about the athleticism are exactly right. If they just left him in CF he’d probably be the best CF in the org. by a pretty good margin, unless there’s somebody at the rookie levels I haven’t seen yet.

Tim Williams

I’ve got an update on him that will answer some questions about this discussion.


So when my wife ask why I was so unproductive today I will say it was Tim’s fault, as I spent the day refreshing the PP page awaiting the Gorski update!! I am sure there were no other factors in my lack of productivity.


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