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Small changes, huge results

8/9/2011 - MLB
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The phrase about baseball being "a game of adjustments" borders on clich├ęd at times, but it best explains what baseball is all about. Hitters and pitchers are constantly working on new wrinkles or tweaks to maintain or improve their performance.

My role as an ESPN scouting writer/analyst is to recognize those changes or developments and determine what impact they could have on a player's current or future production. If a player is doing something differently, how will it affect his play? Does it change my evaluation of that player?

While my focus is usually on the present/future, in this case I look back and examine six players who have made fundamental changes to their games this season, from a scouting perspective. While there hasn't proved to be anything as dramatic as Jose Bautista's swing and setup changes at the tail end of the 2009 season, there have been plenty of meaningful adjustments made that seem to have had a positive impact on these players' performances.

1. David Ortiz's revamped swing