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#61 Parker Hageman

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 11:24 AM

“A lot of hitters, when they try to swing down, lead with their hands. They’re too steep into the zone. Other hitters, for whatever reason, think the same thing and do it properly...

 

 

I think this is where a lot people giving instruction and those swinging have major differences. Nobody (today, it seems) likes to hear someone say they are chopping at the ball or swinging down. As Zinter points out, there are some that do excel at being able to take their hands to the ball without having the steep path to the ball that creates the grounders/low launch angles.

 

Personally, I'm an elevate sort of guy but the idea that you can't have the swing down/stay inside the baseball mentality is silly. Both can co-exist. I really enjoyed the video of Ben Zobrist talking his process on preparing to hit:

 

"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." -- Jim Bouton, "Ball Four"


#62 Parker Hageman

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 07:38 AM

ON BAT FLIPS AND CELLYS.

 

As a fan, I love bat flips. Pimp everything, I often hashtag on Twitter. Some of that mantra is definitely tongue in cheek but ultimately I love watching players enjoying the moment. Same goes for pitchers who fist pump after firing a bullet past a hitter during a pivotal at-bat during the game. Some view them as a disrespectful showing up of a pitcher or an opposing team (the "act like a professional" crowd) but, to me, the bat flips are a fun way to show emotion during a sport which is essentially glorified stickball. 

 

So that brings me to this...

 

Take this number from a University of South Carolina-Aiken hitter. The dude hammers a pitch in which the players on the field barely move. It's a tank shot grand slam. Big moment, big shot. The player decides to flip (launch?) the bat in the air, sending it spinning end over end. 

 

 

Frankly, to me, it's fun. To the coach of the USC Aiken team it was highly disrespectful: 

 

 

"We had a player do a stupid think last night after hitting a grand slam," USC-Aiken's coach Kenny Thomas wrote on his Facebook page. "I immediately took him out of the game and apologized to North Greenville Coach (sp). Those of you that know me know I DO NOT condone this type of actions or this type of disrespect for the game."

 

First, as was pointed out on Twitter, the language the coach used contains a lot of "I"s. That's a terrible attitude for an amateur coach to have at any level. Focus on the "we" not the "you". Second, lighten up. As was pointed out before, this is a glorified kids game. Third, this is Division 2 baseball. Most if not all players on the roster have very little likelihood of making the jump to professional baseball so this is as close as they will get. Let them enjoy the moment. 

 

We have just wrapped up the World Baseball Classic, which by any measure was a good display of how different cultures celebrate big moments. Not all players agreed with the flare that some of the Caribbean players showed during the tournament.

 

"I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays," Kinsler told The New York Times. "That's not taking anything away from them. That just wasn't the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way."

 

And Bert Blyleven, protector of the precious baseball code, chimed in. "There's a fine line between showing emotion & being 'a hot dog.' Some guys on PR were 'hot dogging'," he said recently on MLB Network radio. Twins Daily’s John Bonnes correctly pointed out that the line between the two is thick, the difference maker being which team you are on.

 

What constitutes “hot dogging”? Was the USC-Aiken kid “hot dogging”? Is this “hot dogging”?  

 

 

 

Yadier Molina has the Dominican’s Nelson Cruz out by a mile and Javier Baez, who is quite good at applying tags, converts a no-look, point-at-your-backstop catch and tag. It was equal parts impressive and fun.

 

The game of baseball has been accused of "dying" far too often. While MLB itself is still making a ton of money, the majority of the viewership has AARP cards. For various reasons, the youth have been tuning out in droves. In response, MLB has done asinine things like adding a pace of play clock, eliminating the pitches in the intentional walk, and trying to introduce slow-pitch softball rules to avoid extra inning play all while still choosing to broadcast their crown jewel international event’s championship game at 9 PM Eastern Time on a weeknight, ensuring that a vast amount of young kids will not stay up to watch the end of the game.

 

MLB doesn’t need to plod through this rules overhaul crusade it seems to be hell bent on conducting in order to recapture the youth market. People don’t want crisper pace of play or a quick end to a contest. They want fun. To that end, the game’s culture needs to embrace the flair and flips not discourage it.

 

I'm not suggesting this will solve all of the game's problems but it can't hurt.

 

Make baseball fun again. 

"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." -- Jim Bouton, "Ball Four"


#63 Seth Stohs

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 07:48 AM

is the USC-Aiken player hot-dogging when he's flipping the bat 20 feet into the air? I mean, that is pretty much the definition of hot-dogging.

 

Do I enjoy watching it? Sure. 

 

Not sure you can bash the coach for his "I" speak, when the "hot-dogging" is completely a look-at-me thing. 

 

I have no problem with the coach pulling the player... he likely would have been hurt had he come up to bat again, something I also have no problem with, unless it's close to the head. 

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#64 Parker Hageman

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 07:50 AM

Not sure you can bash the coach for his "I" speak, when the "hot-dogging" is completely a look-at-me thing.

 

 

Baseball is about the player, not the coach. 

"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." -- Jim Bouton, "Ball Four"


#65 Willihammer

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 07:53 AM

http://www.fangraphs...-out-by-a-mile/

Well, there's that.

-Dark Star, RIP


#66 Parker Hageman

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 07:54 AM

 

 

Not literally, but when Baez caught the ball Cruz wasn't even in his slide yet. 

"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." -- Jim Bouton, "Ball Four"


#67 Willihammer

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 07:55 AM

http://m.mlb.com/vid...ff-bag-at-first
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Well, there's that.

-Dark Star, RIP


#68 Mike Sixel

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 10:47 AM

 

is the USC-Aiken player hot-dogging when he's flipping the bat 20 feet into the air? I mean, that is pretty much the definition of hot-dogging.

 

Do I enjoy watching it? Sure. 

 

Not sure you can bash the coach for his "I" speak, when the "hot-dogging" is completely a look-at-me thing. 

 

I have no problem with the coach pulling the player... he likely would have been hurt had he come up to bat again, something I also have no problem with, unless it's close to the head. 

 

violence in the face of something that hurt no one other than those that decide to be hurt. Nice. That's a terrible way to live life.

 

should you hit someone's car if they cut you off? No one is hurt, after all, but they did hurt your feelings.

One of the best opening day rosters in years. Now go get 'em.


#69 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 11:21 AM

I'm picturing Seth throwing a chunky soup can at the guy cutting in line at the supermarket- as long as he isn't aiming for his head, of course.

Hey kids, violence is the correct response when someone does something that you don't agree with!
Great lesson guys.
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#70 Seth Stohs

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 12:39 PM

 

I'm picturing Seth throwing a chunky soup can at the guy cutting in line at the supermarket- as long as he isn't aiming for his head, of course.

Hey kids, violence is the correct response when someone does something that you don't agree with!
Great lesson guys.

 

Never know... maybe it's happened. I prefer Progresso soup... new england clam chowder!

 

Also, pitching inside is an important key to being successful in baseball. 


#71 Mike Sixel

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 01:44 PM

 

Never know... maybe it's happened. I prefer Progresso soup... new england clam chowder!

 

Also, pitching inside is an important key to being successful in baseball. 

 

Pitching inside =/= intentionally throwing at someone in retaliation for having hurt feelings.

One of the best opening day rosters in years. Now go get 'em.


#72 Parker Hageman

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 08:10 AM

 

Pitching inside =/= intentionally throwing at someone in retaliation for having hurt feelings.

 

I don't think Seth is advocating throwing at a player (maybe he is) but that is the reality of the situation. I think there is definitely the possibility that this player or his teammate gets his tower buzzed or dotted between his shoulders the next time up. It's sad, really. A pitcher doesn't execute his pitch and gets tanked. Instead of just moving on, some pitchers gets butthurt and try to seek their pound of flesh. 

 

In other cultures, like Korea, the batflip is just a part of the game. Pitchers over there don't see it as an attempt to show them up: http://www.espn.com/...korean-bat-flip

 

I think we should all start embracing that mentality too. 

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"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." -- Jim Bouton, "Ball Four"


#73 Mike Sixel

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 10:32 AM

 

I don't think Seth is advocating throwing at a player (maybe he is) but that is the reality of the situation. I think there is definitely the possibility that this player or his teammate gets his tower buzzed or dotted between his shoulders the next time up. It's sad, really. A pitcher doesn't execute his pitch and gets tanked. Instead of just moving on, some pitchers gets butthurt and try to seek their pound of flesh. 

 

In other cultures, like Korea, the batflip is just a part of the game. Pitchers over there don't see it as an attempt to show them up: http://www.espn.com/...korean-bat-flip

 

I think we should all start embracing that mentality too. 

 

this part from Seth seems pretty clear:

 

I have no problem with the coach pulling the player... he likely would have been hurt had he come up to bat again, something I also have no problem with, unless it's close to the head.

One of the best opening day rosters in years. Now go get 'em.


#74 Parker Hageman

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 07:30 PM

YOU BE THE SCOUT

 

I posted this on my Twitter account yesterday. It's two swings from two different prospects shortly before they were drafted out of high school. Both players went to a short-season rookie ball league. One hit seven home runs that season. The other hit none. 

 

Based on this view of the swing, can you tell which player had home run capabilities and which one did not? 

 

 

[NOTE: The answer is posted on my Twitter account but put your scout hat and polo on and see if you can make the call.]

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"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." -- Jim Bouton, "Ball Four"


#75 ashburyjohn

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Posted 09 December 2017 - 07:36 AM

 

YOU BE THE SCOUT

 

I posted this on my Twitter account yesterday. It's two swings from two different prospects shortly before they were drafted out of high school. Both players went to a short-season rookie ball league. One hit seven home runs that season. The other hit none. 

 

Based on this view of the swing, can you tell which player had home run capabilities and which one did not?

Trick question, they are both pitchers just screwing around in the batting cage? :)

 

I assume the real, underlying, point is that short-season ball numbers just don't tell you much about a young power hitting prospect.

 

Unless, one genuinely had "no power" in his scouting reports coming out of high school, in which case I confess to having "not a scout" on own my scouting report.

Nothing is so annoying as someone going on talking when I'm interrupting.


#76 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 09 December 2017 - 08:46 AM

Excellent topic and illustrations and discussions. Thanks Parker for getting this most interesting concept rolling and keeping the conversation going with your participation in the discussions.
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#77 Parker Hageman

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Posted 09 December 2017 - 08:55 AM

 

Trick question, they are both pitchers just screwing around in the batting cage? :)

 

I assume the real, underlying, point is that short-season ball numbers just don't tell you much about a young power hitting prospect.

 

Unless, one genuinely had "no power" in his scouting reports coming out of high school, in which case I confess to having "not a scout" on own my scouting report.

 

There's an actual difference between the two swings that should be telling to this. Gonna need to reach down deep and tap into your inner ball guy.

"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." -- Jim Bouton, "Ball Four"


#78 ashburyjohn

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Posted 09 December 2017 - 09:21 AM

There's an actual difference between the two swings that should be telling to this. Gonna need to reach down deep and tap into your inner ball guy.

My inner ball guy topped out at truly bad rec-league slow-pitch teams, with an ugly inside out swing that mainly assured getting to third base on occasional doubles near the RFer just because of the level of play. :)

 

Any differences I spot (more pronounced backswing? hand flying off the bat sooner at the end of the swing? slightly funky head movement?) would be random in my mind, where, if you told me you were kidding and you had switched the identities of the two hitters, I would be picking the wrong one as "good" versus "bad".

 

I'll hang up and listen (in awe at those who can spot these things).

Nothing is so annoying as someone going on talking when I'm interrupting.


#79 Parker Hageman

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 02:01 PM

 

My inner ball guy topped out at truly bad rec-league slow-pitch teams, with an ugly inside out swing that mainly assured getting to third base on occasional doubles near the RFer just because of the level of play. :)

 

Any differences I spot (more pronounced backswing? hand flying off the bat sooner at the end of the swing? slightly funky head movement?) would be random in my mind, where, if you told me you were kidding and you had switched the identities of the two hitters, I would be picking the wrong one as "good" versus "bad".

 

I'll hang up and listen (in awe at those who can spot these things).

 

The difference between the two is all in the swing plane. The top (recently added Jacob Pearson) has a more level swing plane than the bottom (Alex Kirilloff). The easiest way to spot the difference is based on how they finish. Pearson finishes his swing at the middle of his body while Kirilloff finishes up. 

 

Kirilloff's swing operates more like this...

 

d17be1_c7cb219b61a94430b0d39b1f42440dbf.

 

That uppercut motion will lead to more fly balls. If you look at the swings of the top 50 HR hitters in baseball today, their swing plans will follow closer to the example above.

 

Pearson, on the other hand, has a more line drive oriented swing. This doesn't mean he *can't* hit home runs, it just means that when he does, it will likely be more of the line drive type whereas Kirilloff will have a higher percentage of fly balls. When you see this, you realize why Pearson, while almost the exact same size as Kirilloff (an inch shorter and ten pounds lighters according to their HS Perfect Game profiles) is considered to have "modest power potential" by Baseball America.

 

It's entirely possible that Pearson tweaks his swing plane and adds more lift. It is also entirely possible that he stays the same, adds strength and deposits a few more liners than expected. 

 

 

 

 

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"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." -- Jim Bouton, "Ball Four"


#80 ashburyjohn

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 05:58 PM

That's definitely a meaningful distinction.

 

At one time, I thought that an uppercut was kind of looked down upon, as prone to popups if you get under it and unlikely to give line drives if you miss in the other direction. But trends change, and I agree that lately the all-or-nothing approach is more favored and probably rightly so in careful analytic terms.

 

BTW I'm disappointed that your fine quiz didn't generate more/better discussion than the weak tea I was able to serve you.

Nothing is so annoying as someone going on talking when I'm interrupting.




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