Fehlandt Lentini stood in his California living room this winter, taking hacks with his bat as he looked at himself in the mirror. A self-described ‘science guy,‘ Lentini started to see his swing as less of an exercise of sheer force and more of a geometric puzzle that craved solving.
“I broke the mechanics of the swing down to geometry, triangles and lines,” Lentini, 38, said. “...A lot of it is your base - your legs. If your legs are in a good position, then everything else up top is going to be good... Your legs are like the ignition in your car. If the ignition is not running, you’re not going anywhere.”
And Lentini knows a thing or two about legs. He is the all-time Independent baseball stolen base leader, with 418 thefts to his name entering Friday’s game against the Bridgeport.
Lentini suffered ankle and hand injuries in college, aches and pains that stuck with him throughout most of his career. Only now, he said, does he feel completely healthy and able to do everything he wants with his body. His newfound health allowed him to take his swing to the next level.
“Sometimes my wrists and hands wouldn’t allow me to take the bat on the path that I wanted to,” Lentini said. “So, I sat in the living room, looked at myself, and saw in the mirror when my body wanted to compensate and move, instead of letting my hands and the bat go to the ball. It was really slowing things down in the swing and seeing what the hands actually do and the directions they go.”
The solution to this, he proclaimed, was a more geometrically sound swing.
“When you square a ball up, you’re behind the ball,” he said. “Looking at the position of the bat and the position of my shoulders and how my arms are extended from my shoulders, that makes a triangle. When the bat meets the ball squared up, that makes a triangle, the same one that the field is - a 45 degree angle.”
Lentini continued: “At the end of the day, you’re creating potential energy and transferring kinetic energy. It has to go from you to the ball. It starts in your toes and your feet and works it’s way up out through your arms and wrists and out through the bat. I just thought in terms of that and controlling that energy and directing that energy.”
The equation is simple - energy + balance = hits, at least for Lentini. Entering Friday, he was the second leading active hitter in the Atlantic League, hitting .335 with four home runs and 31 RBIs.
“It’s been a long road trying to learn my body and get my body right,” he said. “It’s taught me a lot about the mechanics of the swing and the mechanics of the body.”
On the mend
Slowly but surely, the Ducks are getting healthy again. Dan Lyons, who missed 14 games with a hamstring injury, returned Thursday night. Lyons, who was the DH and batted sixth, went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI in the Ducks 6-5 extra innings loss to Bridgeport.
Baez said Thursday afternoon that he expects Lyons to be at “full go” Monday at home against York.
The Ducks entered Friday night’s game at Bridgeport losers of six of seven and two and a half games back of the Somerset Patriots in the Liberty Division first half standings. The first half ends next Sunday and the winner earns an automatic berth in the playoffs.
After Sunday’s seres finale with Bridgeport, the Ducks return home for a four-game set with York, their final matchup with the Freedom Division leaders until late August.