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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Mike Schmidt: Why can’t I just accept it’s all about power?

I get it. Today the game is asking for home runs. The temptation is too great, analytics support it, and coaches coach it.

Small parks, maple bats, a new ball and shifting defenses have given hitters the green light to let it fly. Hitting into the shift is flat-out dumb.

I didn’t hit against a shift, or in a small park, or with a new ball every pitch. I faced Nolan Ryan, J.R. Richard and that Houston crew, but I didn’t hit every day against a 6-foot-5 pitcher throwing 98 mph.

OK, so why can’t I just accept that now the game is all about power?

Bit of a strange article, given who wrote it…..

QLE Posted: October 22, 2019 at 12:34 AM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mike schmidt, power

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   1. "RMc", the superbatsman Posted: October 22, 2019 at 06:29 AM (#5892707)
Awww, Schmidt!

Fun fact: Mike managed just 10 hits in 56 AB against Nolan Ryan, but hit 5 HR and drew 21 BB, for a 179/405/482 slash line.

EDIT: And Schmidt was an awful 171/239/195 against JR Richard, with no dingers in 41 AB.
   2. JRVJ Posted: October 22, 2019 at 10:33 AM (#5892749)
1, I have very vague memories of J.R. Richard (I'm 48, so I mainly would seem him on "This Week in Baseball!" clips), but that dude was scary.
   3. Cris E Posted: October 22, 2019 at 11:34 AM (#5892801)
Schmidt could have used an editor here. He seems a bit confused by his experience as a hitter and by what he's been seeing the past couple years. He doesn't deny that swinging for the fences is working, so good for him given his past Back In My Day tendencies. But he relates trying to reduce K rate and make better contact and still hitting 30-odd HR in 1987 so he's getting a lot of messy data points to try to reconcile.

He seems to be stuck a bit short of recognizing that there are different eras in the sport, that different things work in different run environments, and there's no single Best Hitting Approach. When the ball is flying there's no sense risking lost runners on CS. When guys are striking out a such a high rate you can't hit and run with much confidence. When the turf fields are gone it's not as simple a matter to stage a mid-80s track meet. And he hasn't figured out that 2019 and 1987 were anomalies, so basing his muddled thesis on those two years weakens things even further.
   4. Itchy Row Posted: October 22, 2019 at 11:47 AM (#5892811)
Schmidt played his entire career in a 12-team league between ballpark building booms, so he only played in 13 parks in the regular season. The Expos were the only NL team to change during his career. Despite Richard and Ryan and the size of the Astrodome, he was worse at Shea (.239/.346/.441, 26 HR in 575 PA) and Three Rivers (.221/.332/.412, 25 HR in 583 PA) than he was in Houston (.241/.369/.440, 14 HR in 385 PA.)

As you'd probably guess, he was best at Wrigley- .307/.396/.653, 50 HR in 611 PA.
   5. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: October 22, 2019 at 11:59 AM (#5892824)
48 as well and grew up overseas, so I don't think I ever saw footage of JR pitch.

I just remember having a couple of his late 70's baseball cards and being in AWE: B.M.F.
   6. Traderdave Posted: October 22, 2019 at 12:36 PM (#5892862)
1, I have very vague memories of J.R. Richard (I'm 48, so I mainly would seem him on "This Week in Baseball!" clips), but that dude was scary.

I'm 51 and have clear memory of pretending I was JR Richard in back yard whiffle ball (which we played all summer with gloriously weird ground rules).
   7. bunyon Posted: October 22, 2019 at 02:04 PM (#5892912)
I'm 48 and I guess I watched too much baseball. JR was fearsome.
   8. Greg Pope Posted: October 22, 2019 at 02:44 PM (#5892936)
so good for him given his past Back In My Day tendencies

I have had the impression that Schmidt has often understood the changes in the game. Isn't he the one who said that if steroids were available he would have taken them?

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