The Baseball Zone Blog

Rick Johnston | Apr 2, 2013 7:30:00 AM

Situational Hitting | Moving the Runner Over

Here is the situation. Third inning, the lead off hitter just hit a double, the hitter coming to the plate is right handed, what happens next? Well, in many cases, automatically the employed offensive tactic is a sacrifice bunt. Why? Simple. It is the safest, most conservative method to move the baserunner up 90 feet and put him 90 feet away from scoring. Is that building and educating your players in the intricacies of offensive strategy? Yes, but at what cost? At the expense of trying to score a single run in the first third of the game?! Yes, this would be considered safe and a coach would never be second guessed. But, boy oh boy, are we developing our hitters to be masters of the sacrifice bunt? Surely, no high school or college player has ever been drafted for showing a scout his ability to bunt in the third inning! Let the kid swing...but teach and educate all hitters in the art, strategy and importance of hitting behind the baserunner and play for a big inning rather than a single run inning. If a scout were to see this it would certainly open some eyes. Just then how is it to be fashioned.

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Topics: hitting tips, hitting instruction, hitting, hit & run, situational hitting

Rick Johnston | Nov 26, 2012 7:44:00 AM

7 Important Points For Using Indoor Batting Cages

We have previously written on the Top 5 Reasons To Use Indoor Batting Cages.  In this blog I would like open up discussions on how to use a batting cage to get the most out of it for swing development.  For many, commercial batting cages are used recreationally and not used for the actual development of the swing.  For those that wish to use batting cages for actual swing development, the following is a breakdown on how to functionally use a cage to their advantage.

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Topics: hitting tips, hitting instruction, hitting, baseball coaching, baseball practice, batting cages, indoor batting cages, situational hitting

Rick Johnston | Jun 8, 2011 8:00:00 PM

A Simple Yet Effective Two Strike Approach

How do you attack this situation?

I often am amazed how hitters waste their at bats and simply give away outs over the course of a season. This is especially true with two strikes. Each hitter must learn to develop their own plan of attack when they are faced with a two strike count, because after all, we will all be in this position throughout the course of a season on many occasions. So, devising a swift plan of attack or some sort of exit strategy is the key to the two strike approach.

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Topics: hitting tips, hitting instruction, hitting, situational hitting, two strike approach

Rick Johnston | May 13, 2011 6:00:00 AM

The Top 10 "Pros" of Baseball's Hit and Run

As has been indicated in a previous post regarding the Hit and Run, it is a very high risk offensive tactic and as such there are many cons that can have a glaring effect on its outcome. Now let’s look at some of the pro's of the Hit and Run

  1. Helps the offensive team stay out of the double play with a baserunner moving on the pitch. 
  2. It has the potential to move a slower baserunner up one base and into scoring position.
  3. Has the potential to position two baserunners on base, with the lead baserunner only being 90 feet from scoring.
  4. A high payoff and best case scenario, the hitter hits ball to the gap, past the outfielders, the baserunner on first base scores and the hitter ends up on second base.
  5. In some cases, hitters that are not swinging well, or simply are in constant take mode, will now be forced to swing the bat, which could assist them in getting jump started and rejuvenated once again with the bat.
  6. It has the potential to jump start the offense and start a rally.
  7. When executed with precision, the Hit and Run could take the rally and turn one play into an opportunity to create a multiple run inning. 
  8. When executing the Hit and Run, the defensive alignment could often release early from their double play depth as they move to cover second base, which creates a hole on either the right or left side of the infield.
  9. The defensive team could field the ball, but either makes the play (throw) to the wrong base, such as the lead base, and the throw is late, permitting both the lead baserunner and hitter to reach base successfully.
  10. Because the infielders are often caught moving to cover second base, a batted ball may be hit in the opposite direction, causing them to try and make a fielding play in a manner they are not used to making. This could then follow with poor fielding and throwing actions which may leave the window open for an error.

Having said this, once again, sound and prudent judgement needs to be warranted when it comes to using the Hit and Run as part of one’s offensive strategy.  Please keep in mind both the pro’s and con’s when weighing out the risk versus reward in this potentially high stakes play.

Rick Johnston, Head Instructor - The Baseball Zone

Image courtesy of baseball.isport.com

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Topics: hitting tips, baserunning, baseball strategy, hitting, hit & run, situational hitting

Rick Johnston | May 4, 2011 8:51:00 AM

The Top 10 "Cons" of Baseball's Hit and Run

Potential downsides of the Hit & Run

In my last post I went over some of the elements essential to a successful Hit & Run. But I also warned that it may be a bit overused and not quite as successful as we might think it is or want it to be.

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Topics: baserunning, baseball strategy, hitting, hit & run, situational hitting

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