Posted 18 August 2014 - 06:35 PM
I'd like to state that I believe in playing to a player's strengths. I also maintain there are very different hitters. Mauer's stroke is built to spray line drives all over the field with gapper and some HR power. Get over him being a 30 HR hitter, he just isn't. Dozier, small than Mauer, has a stroke, and has made certain adjustments assuredly, that allow him more lift on his balls for HR power. In the Twins past, Gary Gaetti was much smaller than Kent Hrbek, but while Hrbek usually produced a higher BA, Gaetti usually had more pure power.
HOF 3B Wade Boggs was a very similar hitter to Mauer, as another comparison/example. The one year Boston put him at 3rd in the BO he produced much higher power numbers than normal, but all of his other perifferals took a fall.
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong here, but wasn't the problem with a still very young Ortiz that he was injured a great deal? He showed potential and power but had a hard time being in the lineup daily. The Twins had to make a decision, felt the decision was best not to outbid, and let him go. Suddenly he seemed to get more healthy and productive.
There is nothing wrong with hitting the other way. But it's also a skill that can be worked on and learned, and not necessarily a strength of a strapping young power hitter. I know the Twins, over the years, have talked about teaching guys to hit the other way. And I know a COUPLE former players have blasted the Twins for this. Once again, please correct me if wrong, but have we ever actually ever heard the Twins, for lack of a better term, DEMAND hitters observe this approach or they can't play? Or were they simply trying to make certain guys a better hitter overall?
I guess it sounds obvious, but to me the most obvious approach is to play to a hitter's strength, even if he is a pull hitter. Next, you want to teach them to simply not try to pull every damn pitch they see. Just have a little control and discipline. Third, NOW you begin to get them to shorten strokes and make contact, and go the other way when pitched consistently outside. Overly simplistic? Yes. Absolutely. But isn't this the approach that makes the most sense? If all you do is pull the ball, not only could you strike out at high rates, but defensive shifts and ML pitchers hitting the outside corners consistently will result in weak ground ball after ground ball.
"Nice catch Hayes...don't ever f*****g do it again."