Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Situational Hitting

A good hitter is a good situational hitter. Not every at bat is the same. Every at bat is a different scenario. As a hitter, when you step in the box, you should have a plan of what you are trying to accomplish depending on the situation.

I talk in another article about looking for your pitch. But you also have to know the situation to know what pitch to look for. 

Being the leadoff hitter of an inning, batting with no outs and a runner on second base, hitting with bases loaded and two outs and being called to execute a hit and run, are all entirely different situations. As a hitter, depending which one you find yourself in, the situation will dictate which pitch you are looking for. 

I’ll talk more in depth about a number of hitting scenarios, but let me expand on this. 

As a coach, I would rather have a good situational hitter that moves runners over, drives home runs and has a batting average of .350, than a terrible situational hitter that has a batting average of .400. If you bat 100 times in a season, the difference between the .350 and .400 batter is five base hits. I would rather have the guy that helps the team and is willing to forgo five at bats to do so.

Some of you may be asking yourself why? Isn’t the goal of the batter to reach base?

Advancing runners and driving home runs helps your team win games. Sometimes, although it still counts as an official at bat, you have to “sacrifice” yourself in a non-traditional way to help the team.  

The traditional sacrifice plays are a bunt to move the runner to the next base or a fly ball that scores a runner. If you are the hitter, the at bat does not count against you and does not affect your batting average. However, when you move runners over or score runners, it does count as an at bat because it is not a traditional sacrifice.

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