Hitting approach question


#1

Don’t worry, this topic can relate right back into the mental game of pitching, but bear with me here.

Hitting is really hard. And having an approach at the plate is a must if you want to have any success.

Subtract hitting mechanics. I’ve bought into the Houston Astros approach. This approach is what I see working from 15 year olds playing JV to the best hitters on the planet. Before 2 strikes, sitting on an exact pitch. FB-middle in, or whatever it is. Looking to damage. Expecting to take a huge hack. Being passively aggressive.

To me a rollover groundout or a infield popup on the first pitch is much worse than coming up missing on 3 pitches you wanted to hit, and swung that bat with conviction.

Obviously the situation dictates what you’re trying to do with 2 strikes. Move a guy over or hit a ball deep enough for someone to tag, etc… But with 2 strikes should your approach remain to sit on a certain pitch? Swing at strikes? Change from trying to do damage to your pull-side gap to the other way?


#2

Every at bat, I ask myself, “What is my job here?” Then I determine the best way to accomplish that and that I must assume the pitcher probably also understands that. I’m also checking out the defensive alignment to see where the soft spots are. Using that information, I try to look for a specific pitch early in the count, but adjust to mistakes by the pitcher deeper in the count. During each pitch, I’m absolutely thinking swing until I determine it’s a ball and stop myself. As long as I’m keeping my hands back and quiet, I won’t be caught check swinging. I only take the pitch if I’m ahead in the count and the ball is something I either can’t handle or can’t accomplish my job by going after. With runners on, I definitely don’t automatically take a pitch unless I’m told to and I certainly don’t allow the pitcher to slip a get-me-over fastball past me regardless of the count. Other than the first pitch of the at bat, that may be the best pitch to drive that I’ll see. To me, it makes no sense to take it even 3-0 unless the bases are empty and there are fewer than two out. It will most certainly be a better pitch than the one I see with a 3-1 count.

I don’t usually crowd the plate, but I will with two strikes if I think it will give this pitcher second thoughts about trying to nibble the inside corner on me. Most of the time, I’m off the plate and looking to drive the ball to center or right field. This game was absolutely set up for left handed hitters. Most pitchers are right handed and we run the bases counter-clockwise. Besides, center and right are where doubles and triples live, and it also allows for base runners to take maximum advancements. Being a right handed hitter, that side usually has more of a hole between first and second–especially with a runner on first and less than two out because the first baseman is holding the runner and the second baseman’s range is also reduced because he is shaded toward the bag and in a couple of steps.


#3

I like you’re “absolutely thinking swinging” approach. I’ve heard of a tip called “yes, yes, no” which is about telling yourself you’re swinging, seeing the ball thinking you’re swinging and if it’s not what you want shutting it down. It allows the hitter to only have one decision to make (no), instead of two. It is the mold to a passively aggressive approach.


#4

I’ve heard it as having a “Yes, Yes, Yes…to No” approach, but it’s the same thing. Only the pitch will tell you not to swing. Never be caught thinking, “If it’s a strike, I’ll swing.” Your reaction will be delayed and / or you may be frozen by the pitch. Also, a common phrase from 3rd base coaches is, “Wait for your pitch!” I prefer to tell the hitter…especially 2-0 or 3-1, “Here comes your pitch! Be ready to jump on it.” If it’s not theirs, they can more easily let it go than decide to swing as the pitch reveals itself.