First pitch strike, should batter be swinging?

My question is, if the pitcher throws a first pitch fastball strike, should the batter be aiming to swing on this pitch unless the coach signals take?

My 16 year old is a good batter with lots of potential. (He’s also a good pitcher) but I see him take the first pitch strike quite often and many of those pitches look real juicy from where I sit.

I read somewhere, can’t remember where, that the batting average of batters who get 0-1 is .185 and the stats were taken over many years and thousands of bats.

I read a book by Ted Williams who never swung on the first pitch and backed up his theory with sound logic, but then he could afford to he was a great.

I suspect my son would lift is already respectable batting average if he swung on more first pitch strikes.

yes. Often times when you face a good pitcher the first pitch strike is the best pitch you will see in the entire at bat.

Yes he should go up there hacking. Alot of times batters complain they don’t swing because there trying to get the timing down, buy they really should be doing this on the on-deck circle. So they can go up there with an idea of what he’s like.

Here it is in a nutshell.

The best hitters have a good approach and know themselves as a hitter, and know what pitches they can drive. The bad hitters go up there swinging wildly, or go up there and don’t swing at all. Bad hitters let the pitchers dictate the action.

It’s simple, if the first pitch is a pitch the hitter can drive, then yes, he should be swinging. If it’s not a pitch he can drive, then he should take it. Hitters should be aggressive WITHIN their approach. You only have to swing at a pitchers pitch when you get two strikes. In ANY other count, the hitter should be looking for a pitch he can drive.

Too many hitters just take batting practice, or tee work, or soft toss. Not many hitters practice actual “counts”, or game like at bats. This is what really matters, not hitting 5 straight bp pitches hard.

Also, Ted Williams stated that he never swung at a first pitch against a pitcher he’s never seen before.

Go in there thinking your going to swing at everything. If it looks like it could be a ball then don’t swing. On two strikes if it looks like it could be a strike then swing.

My hitting coach always tells me that you need to be aggresive but in control. On the first pitch always be looking for one pitch (probably a pitch that your good at hitting) and if you dont see that pitch dont swing (unless its a hanging curve or something that you can see from a mile away).

At lower levels, such as freshmen or b squad in high school or youth pitching, the first pitch is often what I call a get me over fastball. Pitchers at that level rarely have the ability to throw a offspeed pitch for strikes on the first pitch. I can tell you countless guys who watch the first pitch fastball go by them and then chase breaking balls in the dirt on 0-1 or 0-2. If the pitchers is good, the first pitch will probably be a good pitch to hit, but not necessarily a pitch to drive. I have found that pitchers who can throw offspeed stuff on 0-0 can be extremely successful. If the first pitch is in the hitters “happy zone” then go ahead take a hack, and if you miss, hey you got two more strikes. go up to the plate and have fun.

I usually take the first pitch and end up getting a walk and making the pitcher work :). I only swing if it’s frickin DEAD center

If you know the pitcher is throwing a ball in the zone on the first pitch then swing. Last year I had a game which i went 1-4 with a single and 3 groundouts. All the pitches I hit or grounded out on where on the first pitch.

Dang, I’d love facing hitters like you every single game. Talk about an easy out! That’s the most ridiculous comment I’ve ever heard in my life. First off, you don’t know that any pitcher is going to throw a strike at any given time. Secondly, you swing at anything in the zone? What an easy out for anybody who knows how to pitch.

Dang, I’d love facing hitters like you every single game. Talk about an easy out! That’s the most ridiculous comment I’ve ever heard in my life. First off, you don’t know that any pitcher is going to throw a strike at any given time. Secondly, you swing at anything in the zone? What an easy out for anybody who knows how to pitch.[/quote]
Gotta agree with Hammer on this one.

1st pitch of an atbat look for a certain pitch in a certain spot, shrink the zone down to your zone. if you get it go after it, if its not the one you want just let it go. i know when im pitching i hate when batters are patient and battle you.

This is very true. If you can’t hit a low strike, then never swing at one when it’s the first pitch you see. Look for your pitch on the first one, or at the very least look for a pitch that you handle better than others. At any rate, you should always be prepared to swing at the first pitch. If a pitcher knows you don’t swing at strike one, that pitch will be right down the middle. If they know you often swing at strike one, they will not lay one in there. Most likely, they will try to pitch to an area where you struggle or with a pitch that gives you difficulty making solid contact. Sometimes, knowing that you will swing at strike one, leads to a higher incidence of seeing ball one instead of strike one.

No matter who you are, your chances improve when the count is 1-0 instead of 0-1.

Many youth coaches stress getting first pitch over the plate. I ALWAYS used the take one for the team strategy. My child disagreed. After watching her hit home run after home run I say that may be the best pitch you will see. He sounds like a good hitter and after all (many coaches will disagree) its their game it should belong to players I say swing away!!


My wise and wonderful pitching coach, when he was introducing me to strategic pitching, had this to say: “Figure out what the batter is looking for—and don’t give it to him.” He also said, “The first pitch you throw has to be strike one.” With these two precepts in mind, a pitcher needs to be able to read the batter, to determine what his strengths and his weaknesses are, and proceed accordingly. When I was pitching, I would observe the batter as he stepped into the box—and one thing I would never do is start him off with a fastball, because 97% of the time he would be looking for it. A good changeup, or a hard breaking pitch such as a knuckle-curve or a hard slider, would be my choice—and practically all the time the most that batter would be able to do would be to foul it off. Especially when I would use the crossfire; I got a whole lot of strikeouts that way.
I will never forget the game in which I used my newly-acquired slider for the first time. The first batter I faced was a pinch-hitter who was batting for the second baseman and who would stay in the game; I had called my catcher out to the mound and told him to call for just that pitch, nothing else, because I wanted to see how it was working. I got the guy on three well-placed sliders, the third one crossfired, and the dumb cluck never took the bat off his shoulder—he just stood there and went “duh” with the stupidest expression on his face. The next batter was one who would go after the first pitch no matter where it was, and I got him on four pitches—the last one being another crossfire slider. He swung so hard he lost his balance and fell over on his rear end with his arms and legs up in the air like some overturned bug. Strike three, side retired, and I got our side out of the inning with no further scoring. (My first pitch to him had been a curve ball; he had swung a little late and fouled it off!) A word of warning to batters—beware the finesse pitchers with good stuff and the control and command to go with it, especially the sidearmers who use the crossfire!

I just realized that this whole thread—“First pitch strike, should batter be swinging?”—really belongs in the “general pitching advice” classification, rather than in the off-topic section. It definitely falls into the area of strategic pitching, and I became sharply aware of it as I replied to post 15.