Kevin Edmund Youkilis
There is no proper strike zone. Every night it is different and the team that adjusts to it better is the team that will win.
adamsmith44 ... very well said. If I may, let me just add to the word PROPER in the statement above and include the words ..NO static.. or NO standard ... strike zone for every batter.. and plate umpire.
Here's a good expample:::
The next time your watching a Major League game... take special note of one - Keven Youkilis #20 of the Boston Red Sox. And make sure you note of three important marks to his stance and positon in the box.
(1) His at bat stance prior to the pitch.
(2) His at bat posture during his swing.
(3) And most importantly for the battery and the plate umpire is WHERE HE IS POSITIONED IN THE BATTER'S BOX.
Batters that hug the rear of the batter's box are a pain. They force the catcher to adjust back .. I mean really back, and the strike zone dictated by the batter's posture ... hollow of the knees to the belt line (per MLB blue laws.. as their called), challenge even the best of umpires to take a real hard look and the ZONE that the ball has to travel through. Also, becasue of this stance and positioning... curve balls and a lot of other stuff that has breaking action(s) to it... are out of the mix.. more often than not.
Youkilis forces a pitcher to send a lot of "away" stuff down the pike.. and this mix of pitch(s) can cause a lot of BOB's.. or as the offical scorekeeper would call it .. Base on Balls. On the other hand, breaking stuff that tries to sneak in on the back door .. like a back door slider.. has a good chance of breaking in .. right into the sweet spot of the bat.. if the pitcher misses just 4 or 5 inches left or right.
By the way, a smart battery would recognize that Youkilis is really OUT of any ORB strike zone because most of his at bat postures are not even close to being in the vertical plain, positioned by home plate. In other words... the batter DOES NOT PROJECT his TOTAL hollow of this knees (both knees) and his belt line forward than what it really is ON HIM while at bat. Hence, the plate umpire has a degree of flexibility not offered other batters....AHHHHHH ... a weak spot in the batter's defense. And seeing how a Major League pitcher deals in smoke... the quick FB over the plate then MAKES IT accross the lower or upper limit of the leading body spot.. not total.. but spot.. is usually called a strike. For example the first knee, and/or the leading hip of the belt line.
JUST THE OPPOSITE effect is slam'd on the pitcher when the batter is in the verticle plain of the plate... but the catcher is excessively back.
If fact I think this is a crictical party of pitcher development that, EVERY single BP session that I attend.. after final roster selection... I reserve the last two hours .. with the batting coach's permission... to arrange our batting order in all kinds of locations in the box and I challenge every pitcher to work the ZONE dictated by each batter's location. A real eye-opener for rookies and vet's alike I can assure you.