Blast from the Past: Hayden Christiansen, 2022


By Joe Tourville
Partner, Blast Motion

Upon examining his Blast Motion Data and on-field performance, one gets the impression that pitching a strike past C/1B Hayden Christiansen (Richmond-Burton HS, IL, 2022; Xavier) is similar to hurling a pork chop past a famished wolf.

 I first came across Christiansen when I saw his Blast Motion Data from the 2021 South Milwaukee Preseason ID, where his power profile looked incredibly compelling. His average Bat Speed hovered just below 72 mph, peaking at 75. Additionally, he averaged 18g of Rotational Acceleration, reaching a peak of 20.9. Even back in 2021, Christiansen already possessed the essential raw power and the capability to manage it efficiently. In essence, he creates above average Bat Speed and can get into his peak Bat Speed quickly, making him less vulnerable to breaking balls or fastballs with high spin. In other words, he can make the decision to swing later than others. This foundation endows Christiansen with a considerably high ceiling.

Nonetheless, there was an initial concern regarding his On-Plane Efficiency metrics. At that time, he averaged an On-Plane Efficiency of 54 percent. This was something I observed that would require enhancement, although my initial assumption was that Christiansen might not improve it anytime soon. His existing power profile would enable any hitter to achieve at most amateur levels, even with suboptimal On-Plane efficiency metrics. In sum, I believed he wouldn’t make any significant improvements until he began experiencing failure, which might not occur until he stepped foot on the Xavier University campus. But I was wrong. Christiansen would go ahead and make those adjustments almost immediately. 

The following year, Christiansen arrived in Chicago for the 2022 Super 60, showcasing remarkable progress. He increased his peak On-Plane Efficiency metrics by 13 percent, with one swing hitting 77 percent, producing an average of 60 percent, an added 6 percent improvement. These enhancements are significant, as his bat remains increasingly on plane with the incoming pitch, boosting his odds of consistent contact. Additionally, he made some advancements in his power profile, increasing both his peak and average Bat Speed by 1 mph and adding 3g to his average and peak Rotational Acceleration. While these increments may appear modest, they can yield substantial outcomes for hitters. 

Christiansen also exhibited a very low maintenance swing. His average Early Connection metric measured 102 degrees, which is within the optimal range and indicates a consistent load pattern. Furthermore, his average Conection-At-Impact metric was 88 degrees, also within the desired range, demonstrating the ability to maintain contact in a power position concerning the relationship between the bat and the torso.

In high school, Christiansen was a four-year member of the varsity squad, where, in his senior year, he had a .505 batting average and tallied 11 home runs. He also collected PBR Illinois Second Team All-State and First Team All-Conference honors and was also named Northwest Player of the Year by a local publication. I highlight that not only because it’s impressive but also because it is rare for a player with that kind of success to make improvements to his swing plane the way Christiansen did from 2021 to 2022. Despite being in the middle of so much success, the willingness to add enhancements to his swing demonstrates a remarkable level of maturity and understanding of one’s game. That is something any organization can get excited about when observing Christiansen.

This year, as a freshman, Christiansen is off to an outstanding start at Xavier University where he is currently slashing .436/.488/.641.

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