No mention of Bob Heise & Dave Berg’s Uncertainty Principle of Hitting. Odd.
ESPN analyst Curt Schilling said, “There are more power arms than I’ve ever seen before. Ever.”
Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus offers no firm data on the subject, but a theory that “teams seem to be rushing young hitters to the majors in an effort to save payroll.”
Marlins bench coach Rob Leary echoes that sentiment, saying, “There are a lot of hitters in Major League Baseball who are just cutting their teeth and may not be ready.”
A special assistant to a National League GM said bluntly, “It’s steroids. It’s no secret that players took steroids to improve their strength and vision. As players begin to get off the stuff because of the tougher penalties, hitters can’t wait as long to swing. They’re getting fooled on pitches that just a few years ago they’d be able to wait on and at least foul off.”
A longtime AL scout feels there’s too much emphasis on seeing more pitches per at-bat.
“It’s the in vogue stat now — pitches per at-bat — and I think it’s really screwing up hitters,” he said. “Because hitters are taking so many pitches, they’re getting down in the count, 0-2, 1-2, and major league pitchers are able to exploit that. Instead of going up there with a solid, aggressive approach, they take so many pitches they’re getting themselves in pitchers’ counts and striking out more as a result.”
A couple of our scouts were blaming the hitting coaches.
“So many ideas out there,” said one. “These coaches change jobs year to year and hitters are just being saturated with new ideas and new ways of doing things that they never just get back to what got them to the big leagues.”
How many times have we heard a hitter say, “Just getting back to the way I used to hit.” Then why did you ever change it to begin with? There are opposing theories of hitting out there, for sure. There always have been. The in-vogue method is to stay back with your hands and back leg and move forward. Some hitting coaches think this is backward, pointing to the fact that some of the great hitters, such as Hank Aaron and Ernie Banks, were out front with all of their movements.