From an offensive standpoint, the 2010 Cincinnati Reds were a veritable juggernaut. They led the National League in virtually every offensive category, and they’ve begun the new 2011 season in similar slugging form. The only offensive shortcoming for this fine-hitting team was a relative paucity of bases-on-balls. The Reds’ batters want to hit, and you can’t hit with a idle bat, right? True – but only to an extent.
Some of the greatest hitters of all time have been among the most selective. Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Pete Rose, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Mike Schmidt and Lou Gehrig are among the Top 20 all-time walks leaders. They were each great hitters in large part because they almost always hit only their selected, favorite pitch. They didn’t feel the need to swing at a pitch outside their comfort zone, and as a result they got on base significantly more than their peers, both by drawing a walk and by crushing a baseball pitched in their preferred area of expertise. Either way, a pitcher was doomed!
Remember the phrases “your pitch” and “in your zone.” Every batter has at least 1 certain pitch or 1 certain area, e.g. high down the middle or low and over the plate or inside and belt high or outside at the knees or a first-pitch fastball or a high change-up, etc., that they know with absolute certainty they can hit hard, far, and often. Find “your pitch” that is “in your zone.” Then crush it!
Unless you have a 2 strike count or are protecting a runner as part of a designed play, minimize your swings at any pitches not in your zone and not to your liking, and see your chances of success skyrocket. This season, the Reds are thus far exhibiting greater patience at the plate, and they remain undefeated a week into the season. Follow their example as you walk alongside their great hitters.