Probably very few of you except a few Cincinnati residents saw this one coming. Yes, Michael Lorenzen is the current hitting pitcher batting king, according to OPS. The lion's share of the 25-year-old's at-bats (36) came in his rookie season in 2015 when he tallied 9 hits including a triple. Now that he's moved to the bullpen, the opporunties will be fewer. Last year he homered once in five at-bats and this year he's had just three at-bats so far, but he added another home run as a pinch hitter!! So Lorenzen has joined the holy club of pinch-hitting relief pitchers. Tip of the cap!
The best way I can explain “Hitting for Average” is that this tool is not just solely focused on a person’s batting average. This tool is more about having the ability to have a consistent swing, the ability to keep the bat on-plane for a long period of time, and the ability to square up baseballs on a regular basis. I wrote another article about having the ability to “Repeat Your Best Swing.”
Some of these can be dismissed while others can be countered. You can say power hitters are more valuable because they draw walks, but there are also non power hitters that draw walks that would benefit as well. A majority of those power hitters are early round picks so you’re really putting their value where it should be as opposed to increasing it. If anything, the non power hitters that draw high walks benefit more from this.
Any drill that you perform for hitting can increase a softball player’s power hitting skills by strapping on a set of Myosource Kinetic Bands. These resistance bands can be worn while performing everyday drills and even hitting in the cage, all while getting maximum resistance. Using the Kinetic Bands will increase more than just power, it will increase speed, agility, and flexibility as well. This increase in athletic performance can be obtained without changing anything in your everyday practice routine. Imagine being able to increase your power hitting numbers without having to lift heavy weights and stress your muscles and joints. Most teams wont lift much during the actual season so when you cant get in the gym, you are still getting stronger, and faster throughout the season just by wearing Myosource Lower Body Kinetic Bands.
Getting on base is an important skill, so you want to use OBP to determine if the player in question is a good offensive performer. However, OBP can only take you so far and it should only be used in the context of other statistics because OBP weights every time you reach base equally, whether you hit a home run or an infield single. If used in conjunction with slugging percentage or isolated slugging percentage, OBP is a very useful tool. In general, something like wOBA or wRC+ will tell a more accurate story, but if you’re looking for something extremely simple OBP is a much better bet than batting average.
HITTERS POWER DRIVE CHALK MAT. FEATURES of POWER DRIVE CHALK MATS: Black turf for visually presentation of training with chalk lines, marks, circles, X’s and written goals. Includes 2 large pieces of sidewalk chalk. Thick 4″ bright red line sewn into turf on all mats for important pitchers & hitters stride line. Step down rubber that simulates game mound drive foot position to increase pitchers power drive. Teaches proper toe down for softball and drive angle for baseball. All mats available in FOAM BACKING with skid pad for hard surfaces such as wood, cement or tile or FLEECE BACKING for indoor carpet or turf surfaces. Hitters Power Drive mat has water jet cut insert hole to level HPD with front foot to face live pitching speeds. Turf plug included to use mat without Hitters Power Drive .
Hitting Mechanics and other factors. When you hit, scouts will be looking at your looking at hand path and head movement. A lot of head movement makes it difficult to see and hit the ball, showing poor hitting mechanics. Jim also watches intelligence, decision-making at the plate, with 2 strikes, facing left handed pitchers, day time and night time games.
On-base percentage plus slugging percentage (OPS): Yes, this is a made-up, smashing together of two useful stats to make a mega-useful stat. Or, somewhat useful stat. I'll say this, since I also had the batting average and slugging percentage entries, I'm a big, big fan of the slash line, it gives you a basic idea of what kind of hitter a player is with three simple stats. Of those three, really, the batting average is the least important, I want to know how much a guy doesn't make an out and how much power he has. OPS tells me that, and despite different ways to get the job done (high on-base, low slugging speedy guy or big slugger who doesn't get on as much) a certain OPS gives me an idea, at least, that no matter what he looks like, he's productive. - Rosecrans
While all those stats can be very helpful individually, using them all to establish a batted ball profile will help you to get a solid idea of what a player’s hitting skill set really is. For the most part, a player with a solid LD% and IFH% can be expected to put up an above-average BABIP, while a player with a large FB% and IFFB% can be expected to post a below-average mark. With that framework in mind, let’s look at a quick example from the 2014 season:
During Phase 3 or the release, the hitter will allow their arms to relax so the the barrel will continue upward through the path of the pitch with very little loss of bat speed. Like I previously said, Phase 3 can happen earlier or later depending on the adjustment the hitter must make. If need be, the hitter can make contact during Phase 3 if they are early. This is when you will see a hitter at contact with already extended arms. This is not ideal but will save hitters when their timing isn’t perfect. Just another reason why having a nice upward swing path is so important for longevity as a hitter.
A hit is more valuable than a walk? Why? Your team pays you to get on base. Granted they want players that can hit, but they also see the advantage of the guy that can draw walks. Sure the guy that gets a hit can drive in runs more frequently if men are on base, I can’t argue with that. In the same respect, we don’t put an asterisk next to the runs driven in because the guy in front of you walked. On the flip side, the guy who walks more has more opportunities to score runs, so you’re trading one category for the other.
At the hitting vault, we use two basic drills focused specifically on unlocking the lower half and hitting with more power. The half turns drill is essential to begin learning and mastering the movements to the point of contact with the lower half. It is incredibly important to be in a good, strong position with your hips and legs to drive the ball. To do this drill, you are going to want the hitter to pin the barrel of the bat against the back leg, and the handle/knob of the bat against the back shoulder, demonstrated in the picture. Working from this position is going to keep the front shoulder closed, preventing flying open and rolling over.
All joking aside, "hitting for contact" is a much better way to describe the "hit" tool. When scouts talk about players with the hit tool they aren't saying, "this is a guy who could really get a few ground balls through the infield and survive off an inflated BABIP", they are saying something far more basic and important: "this guy can hit a baseball." If a player makes it to the major leagues as a position player they probably have some kind of knack for hitting baseballs, but some players are definitely better than others. More importantly, for the purposes of this series, there is one player who is the worst. The first name that probably comes to mind for many readers is Adam Dunn. However, there is a new king when it comes to the whiff, and that man is Chris Carter of the Astros.